With a show as clever and oftentimes laugh-out-loud funny as Starz’s comedy series Party Down, it’s enough to hope that the series will maintain its entertainment value in its second season. Based on the first handful of episodes of the new season, it seems hoping the show would stay funny was setting the bar low. Party Down is back and with it are more amusing antics and plenty of laughs thanks to the cluster of Hollywood wannabes paying the rent by catering parties.
Party Down follows a small team of caterers as they work various parties in between attempting to achieve their aspirations in Hollywood. When last season left off, Henry (Adam Scott) was given the reigns of the team leader after Ron (Ken Marino) couldn’t handle the pressure and Casey (Lizzy Caplan) set off to work on her comedy career. With Jane Lynch off to thwart the most famous glee club on television these days, it was a genius choice to bring Megan Mullally on board to fill the role of the socially awkward over-sharer of the group. Rest assured, Lynch is set to make a guest appearance later on in the season but Mullally does a fine job of bringing that special brand of awkward that Lynch delivered in the first season. You know the lady that talks about her ex constantly and tells you things you really don’t need to know about her personal life? That’s her character, Lydia Dunfree.
Martin Starr and Ryan Hansen return as Roman and Kyle to engage in the usual bickering over who’s the bigger loser. And of course, with the return of the catering team, comes the return of new parties, one of which includes one for a rock star who trades places with Roman in an attempt to be joe-normal for an evening (giving Roman his make-up and the chance to experience the life of a rock star) and another that features an orgy party thrown by a guy who neglected to inform his guests that group sex was on the menu.
Guest appearances in season 2 include Jimmi Simpson, J.K. Simmons, Andrea Savage, Joey Lauren Adams, Thomas Lennon, Loretta Devine, and return appearances by Kristen Bell and Jane Lynch.
With creators John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge and Paul Rudd behind the series, it’s no surprise that the show is a perfectly mixed blend of clever and charming. As a fan of Veronica Mars (of which three of the four Party Down creators had a hand in, while the fourth guest-starred in an episode), I went into this show last season already hoping to like it and though the series’ aren’t really comparable in their plots, they are in the quality of the writing and in the quality and content of the cast, as Marino and Hansen both played supporting roles in Mars and other Mars alums (including series star Kristen Bell) have made appearances in Party Down.
There’s a sort of simplicity about Party Down, which should work well for casual viewers and definitely invites new viewers in. While I definitely recommend checking out the first season (it’s available in its entirety on Netflix streaming), it’s not necessary to be caught up on the show in order to enjoy it. And those of you who did enjoy the series in its first season, expect plenty more laughs when the second season picks up as the staff of Party Down continues wallow in their own career desperation while attempting to appease the whims of party guests.
Party Down’s second season premieres Friday, April 23 at 10 p.m. et/pt on Starz.