Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Party Down

Still mourning the end of Eastbound and Down, I noticed an advertisement for Party Down, a new comedy series on Starz. Starring Adam Scott, who was spectacular as the asshole brother in Step Brothers (and who had a devastating cameo in the Eastbound finale), I was eager to give it a try. The first episode is available for viewing just about everywhere, and I've embedded it at the end of the post. It's likeable, low-key, and downbeat with a killer supporting cast. Scott plays Henry Pollard, an out-of-work actor who turns to catering work to pay the bills. Ken Marino of The State fame is his boss, Ron Donald, a recovering addict who channels his self-loathing into micro-managing. The Great Jane Lynch plays another variation on her domineering, new-agey wacko persona, handing out terrible audition advice before attacking kids with super-soakers. She's my favorite current character actor, bar none.

Filmed in the handheld, intimate style of The Office, it draws distinct thumbnail portraits of its gallery of eccentrics, and Scott reacts with bemused resignation at the strivers around him, all pitching scripts and aiming for stardom. Co-produced and co-written by Paul Rudd and Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars fame), it's a more subdued offshot of the Apatow productions (along with Rudd's participation, Freaks and Geeks' Martin Starr has a role), and a welcome one.

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