Ketchup/Catch Up: PARTY DOWN

The odd couple.
The odd couple.

I started watching “Party Down” because one of my friends who has Starz and shares my love of all things Paul Rudd-related (see the RANDOM COOL FACT) said, “You have to watch this show.” (So far in the Ketchup/Catch Up posts, Paul Rudd is 2-2. Is he a part of everything cool?) (Let’s get Paul Rudd on “30 Rock!”)

Also, I started watching because Ken Marino is in it. I am not a hardcore Ken Marino fan (nor have I seen him in anything hardcore, lest you confuse my meaning… on second thought, see #3), but I did see THE TEN (“It’s just a goof!”) and I watched the second season of “Reaper” just to see the Ken Marino/Michael Ian Black cameos. So… I guess you could say I’m regular-core Ken Marino fan. (I haven’t seen any of “The State” series yet… forgive me. Maybe it will be a future Aftertaste.)

But you’re not here to talk about “The State.” You’re here for the party: “Party Down.” Season one has aired and season two is in the pipeline (as far as I know). There are 10 episodes in season one and it’s a half-hour comedy, so you’ll be caught up in no time! (My ulterior motive in creating this site is that I want people to talk about these shows with me! Or at least quote the hilarious lines with me.)

PREMISE: Several out-of-work actors waiting for fame and fortune work as cater-waiters at various parties, under the supervision of recovering addict (maybe he was an actor, too? I can’t recall) Ron (Ken Marino), whose dream in life is to open a Souper Crackers franchise (think Souplantation). In the pilot, Ron’s old co-worker Henry (Adam Scott) quits acting and returns to the Party Down catering company as a bartender. (He garnered fame as the spokesperson for a popular beer ad, but it ruined his acting career.)

Other employees include snide/nerdy wannabe screenwriter Roman (Martin Starr), aspiring comic actress Casey (Lizzy Caplan), dude-bro actor Kyle (Ryan Hansen), and oddball “seasoned” actress Constance (Jane Lynch). Each episode takes place during one of the parties they cater.


1) If you have ever been an aspiring writer/director/actor in Hollywood, and/or worked in catering, and/or had a strange or somewhat incompetent boss, you will enjoy this show. (All of the above are yeses for me.)

2) The cast is fantastic. Come on, anything with Jane Lynch is a must-see. Not to mention the cameos: Jennifer Coolidge, Ken Jeong (yeah, the guy who popped out of the trunk in THE HANGOVER), Kristen Bell (tons of people from “Veronica Mars” are on it, since Rob Thomas created both series), Steven Weber, Marilu Henner, Rick Fox, Ed Begley, Jr… the list goes on and on.

3) The hijinx. In the episode where they cater a Conservative College Caucus (ha), an attempt to pass off a script leads to an accidental flag-burning. Ron is tapped to try out for a porno AT at porn industry party, and has probably the most awkward audition in history. I could tell you more, but then I’d spoil everything for you.

4) “Are we having fun yet?” It’s the beer commercial catchphrase that tortures Henry, and people always bring it up at the most soul-crushing moments (with the exception of the mafia party, where it gets him out of a pinch). I try to use it to tap the irony of the show all of the time, but people think I’m just being a gung-ho grandparent about things.

5) Jane Lynch’s “never give up” story. I could preface it with some sparkling words, but it’s really better if you watch it. (That is true of THE WHOLE SHOW.) Come to think of it, everything Constance says is hilarious.

6) The parties (they’re also the episode titles). A sampling: Pepper McMasters Singles Seminar. Sin Say Shun Awards After Party. Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen (her dad is a bastard producer and her cool friends don’t show, amongst other disasters). Celebrate Ricky Sargulesh (he’s the mafia guy). James Rolf High School Twentieth Reunion (turns out that it’s RON’S reunion, and he desperately wants to prove that his life is on track).

7) Ron’s freak-outs. He tries to hold it together, but sometimes he falls off the wagon (or worse). At one point Henry pulls Ron out of the dumps by giving him this deep spiritual mantra: “Don’t stop believing.” (That’s right. Journey.)

RANDOM COOL FACT: Paul Rudd is one of the writer/producers. (And Fred Savage is a director/producer.)

ALL RIGHT, I don’t know if I did enough to sell this show, but I implore you to check it out. “Are we having fun yet?” No, because you haven’t watched “Party Down” yet.


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