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February 10, 2011 1:43 PM   Subscribe

The Complete Oral History of Party Down (printable/single page)

The creators and cast—including Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, and Jane Lynch—on the cult comedy series canceled before its time.
posted by AceRock (58 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
YES.

posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I loved that show. Great understated humor.

Plus, Veronica Mars vets everywhere. Any Meg/Logan shippers must have been happy with the Young Republicans ep.

(The greatest actor recycler is still Joss Whedon, but Rob Thomas and Bill Lawrence are pretty good at it too.)
posted by kmz at 1:48 PM on February 10, 2011


MARTIN STARR, Roman DeBeers: I think my agent said in the breakdown it read, "A Martin Starr type," and they were like, "Fuck it, why don't we just tell them you want to do it?"

ROB THOMAS: I was a huge, huge Freaks and Geeks fan. Martin was exactly what we were looking for for Roman.


I love to hear that's how he was cast. Exactly like I would have wanted it to have happened.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:49 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best show in years. God I loved that thing from start to end.
posted by mathowie at 1:52 PM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I miss that show so much.
posted by edbles at 2:04 PM on February 10, 2011


this show had me at Ronald Donald
posted by any major dude at 2:06 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I LOVE PARTY DOWN I LOVE PARTY DOWN I LOVE PARTY DOWN I LOVE PARTY DOWN I LOVE PARTY DOWN I LOVE PARTY DOWN I LOVE PARTY DOWN I LOVE PARTY DOWN I LOVE PARTY DOWN
posted by nathancaswell at 2:13 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dumbest cancellation ever. Also Lizzy Caplan has my heart.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:16 PM on February 10, 2011


Also Lizzy Caplan has my heart.

PISTOLS AT DAWN
posted by nathancaswell at 2:18 PM on February 10, 2011


Also Lizzy Caplan has my heart.

I have a theory that Ms. Caplan gets the anti-Zoey Descanel roles.
posted by The Whelk at 2:20 PM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


No personal business on company.......
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:22 PM on February 10, 2011


The best show. Every episode better than the one before, or at least it feels that way. I watch it again and again.

Probably controversial opinion: I liked Megan Mullally/Lydia better than Jane Lynch/Constance – I know, Jane Lynch is great, everyone loves Jane Lynch – but mainly because they gave Lydia more to do.
posted by furiousthought at 2:23 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


My wife and I just started our trial month of Netflix, and Party Down has definitely been the biggest payoff of the experience. When Kyle sang "My Struggle" (it's a video on page 3 of the linked article), I totally lost it. Easily my favorite moment.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 2:24 PM on February 10, 2011


Also Lizzy Caplan has my heart.

PISTOLS AT DAWN


PANCAKES IN THE BREAK ROOM
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:26 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah Megan M.'s character is way way funnier.

I was just reading this and I'm like half-way through and I'm thinking: Why does this exist? Like why is the show beloved enough to warrant a full rundown of everything that happened during the making of it, but not enough to stay on the air? So weird.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:28 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh. I didn't even know about this show, and was very confused (did it happen while I took some kind of a temporary break from television?) until I clicked to RTFA and realized it aired on Starz, which has never been a part of any cable or satellite package I've had. I couldn't possibly have seen it when it aired.

But having Netflix, I shall remedy this forthwith.
posted by padraigin at 2:35 PM on February 10, 2011


Why does this exist? Like why is the show beloved enough to warrant a full rundown of everything that happened during the making of it, but not enough to stay on the air? So weird.

Small groups of obsessive fans does not equal mainstream success. See also: Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, Pushing Daisies, My So-Called Life, Carnivale, Deadwood, Arrested Development, Space Above and Beyond, Cupid, etc etc etc.
posted by kmz at 2:36 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why does this exist? Like why is the show beloved enough to warrant a full rundown of everything that happened during the making of it, but not enough to stay on the air? So weird.

The space between "cult following" and "sustainable audience is wide, so very wide.
posted by Think_Long at 2:36 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is great. I'm about halfway through, but if I didn't comment now I'd probably forget, so thanks for the link.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:38 PM on February 10, 2011


On the other hand cable networks like Starz where sold to us with the idea that they could sustain more niche and cult entertainment. The show was a critical smash of the start and after the first season came out, talk about it was everywhere.

I always thought the show's quick end was due to half the cast having other obligations and bigger roles thrown at them after season one.
posted by The Whelk at 2:39 PM on February 10, 2011


I'm not even going to get my hopes up for a third season. Or maybe, just maybe they cou.. nope not going to give in. "Let it remain perfect", I tell myself. Just let it be. Oo-sah.
posted by casual observer at 2:39 PM on February 10, 2011


I liked Megan Mullally/Lydia better than Jane Lynch/Constance
...
Oh yeah Megan M.'s character is way way funnier.


Man! You guys! There's nothing I find funnier, in the entire run of the show, than when Jane Lynch asks, with perfect curious doe eyes, "What's ecstasy?"

(the split-second image of Ron Donald's dick, in the same episode, comes a close second)
posted by Greg Nog at 2:46 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always thought the show's quick end was due to half the cast having other obligations and bigger roles thrown at them after season one.

I thought the same thing, so I was surprised to find out that Jane Lynch had already committed to Glee before shooting on the first season even started. There's also this from the article:
ADAM SCOTT: There was a misconception out there when the whole thing happened that I was leaving an active show. They were in the process of killing Party Down when I took the Parks and Recreation job. What I did was go to Starz and say, "I'm getting an offer from one of my favorite shows. I would love to do it, but if you want to keep me around for Party Down we can have that conversation." And they said, "Have fun on Parks and Recreation." The message was very clear to me. The thing that was upsetting was that they put it on me a little bit.
posted by turaho at 2:50 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


MARTIN STARR: Sandals. They wanted more sandals.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:55 PM on February 10, 2011


Why does this exist? Like why is the show beloved enough to warrant a full rundown of everything that happened during the making of it, but not enough to stay on the air?

Timing... the show didn't even really start to get cult show buzz (well, that I saw – I found it from a Lizzy Caplan interview that was posted on The Awl) until a couple months before the end and by then it was already doomed. Much less of a profile than My So-Called Life or Deadwood.
posted by furiousthought at 2:55 PM on February 10, 2011


I recently watched both seasons and thought it was pretty great. Netflix also caught me up on Parks & Recreation. Funny as hell.

I'm watching The State for the hundredth time now.
posted by defenestration at 3:05 PM on February 10, 2011


Adam Scott did a really great little film called "The Vicious Kind," with a really good supporting cast. I highly recommend it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:15 PM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I didn't love it as much as a lot of you guys seemed to but it was very enjoyable and definitely found it strength in the later episodes. This was a great read!
posted by liquorice at 3:16 PM on February 10, 2011


I met Martin Starr at MaxFunCon and everyone there was talking about "Party Down." I'd never heard of it, much less seen it. When I got home, I ordered Starz (the Z stands for zhortzited!) just to watch "Party Down." Worth it.
posted by ColdChef at 3:21 PM on February 10, 2011


One of the best moments is when you think Martin Starr is going to finally connect with a girl (albeit a drunk, depressed porn star) over their mutual love for sci-fi and then he discovers that she actually means "anything with dragons and wizards" and he goes ballistic "FANTASY IS BULLSHIT".
posted by electroboy at 3:23 PM on February 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Coincidentally, that is also Ron Donald's favorite moment:
My favorite moment is at the porn awards, when he can't help himself, and he has to correct the porn star that he could have sex with on what's sci-fi and what's fantasy. I just remember you see him thinking about it, and then you're like, "Don't. Don't! Just go and have sex with the porn star!" And he can't help it.
posted by AceRock at 3:28 PM on February 10, 2011


Everybody talks about how the whole cast wound up leaving the show so of course they had to can it, but I really felt that one of the huge strengths in the premise was the ability to just switch the cast members in and out any time. The show could have run for years and years, switching in new hilarious people as they were available, why the hell not?

Oh well.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:39 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just started watching Party Down last weekend. All Saturday night, I kept saying, "I'll just watch one more. Okay, one more." I wish I had one more to watch now.
posted by bayliss at 3:41 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


PS- Adam Scott was hilarious on Party Down and is also very funny on Parks & Rec, but it is a perfect example of blatant network shoe-horning to force some situation in which his character has a reason to stay around to keep being in the show.

And that guy, his work partner on Parks & Rec? I get the joke, but the character just isn't funny at all, I don't know if it's the writing or the actor or both but I love to laugh at guys like him in real life, and the character doesn't even get me to crack a grin.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:47 PM on February 10, 2011


I remember—it's so melodramatic—my wife came home and I was in the living room, sitting on the couch with the phone, and just, like, crying. And she was like, "Oh my God, what's wrong?" And I remember just saying, "It's over."
And what are the odds that she knew he was talking about his sit-com, and her heart didn't fly into her throat because she thought he meant that they were over? Poor Adam Scott's wife.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:49 PM on February 10, 2011


Magnicifent!
posted by DrGirlfriend at 3:49 PM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


The most noteworthy thing about Party Down, I think, is how brilliant it was at production. The writing was superlative and the characters were rich and the show itself was thoroughly fantastic, yes, but the groundbreaking thing was that it took them so little money to make.

Every set needed to look like a place that a catering service might operate in, so they just found a bunch of those places that you can rent to host a party in, and filmed on-site. No building of sets, no soundstage rental, no construction necessary. Just rent a party house for a couple thousand bucks, do your filming, and save a fortune.
posted by kafziel at 4:01 PM on February 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yes, this show is amazing! So fucking good. Goddamn, I wish it hadn't been canceled.
posted by saul wright at 4:41 PM on February 10, 2011


And that guy, his work partner on Parks & Rec?

I kinda feel sad for Rob Lowe that he's known as that guy.
posted by linux at 5:08 PM on February 10, 2011


Ron Donald is up there with David Brent as one of my favorite lovable tragic characters. The end of the High School reunion ep goes from tragic to hilarious in the space of 10 seconds. 'call an ambulance.... Call an ambulance' From cringe to guffaw.

The thing that impressed me the most, and the point I consistently make to any poor person that hears me rant about how wonderful this show is, is the setup. A catering company! By it very nature you have a new location and a reason to introduce new characters every week. Genius! Such a good show, glad we got what we got of it.


Thanks for this.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 5:17 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


And that guy, his work partner on Parks & Rec? I get the joke,

Wait ph are you seriously saying you a) don't know who rob lowe is and b) you don't think he's hilarious? You are a true iconoclast sir. Though a wrong one.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:24 PM on February 10, 2011


I burned through all of Party Down in about two weekends and it was very clearly hitting its stride towards the middle of the first season and just barreling to glory from that point on. The last episode was absolutely hilarious, but there were so many great moments. It was such good tv. On a station I think I have. Because I'm forced to get a movie pak. Wait, that might be Encore I'm thinking of. Well, fuck.
posted by disillusioned at 5:29 PM on February 10, 2011


I can't believe no one's said it, but...

Are we having fun yet?
posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 5:30 PM on February 10, 2011


OMG I AM A TOOL LOOK AT THE TITLE.


posted by dvorak_beats_qwerty at 5:31 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


We're special you and I
blonde our hair and blue our eyes
the world it should be ours
but they just want money
it's a conspiracy

Yeah, they brand you a star -
put you on the midnight train
going very far

Line you up, give you a number
shoot you down, throw you away
we will not surrender
this is My Struggle

posted by nathancaswell at 5:35 PM on February 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


PAUL RUDD: One thing's for sure: Kyle would have become a megastar. He would have done everything. And all of it kind of . . . okay.

JOHN ENBOM: No matter how insufferable he can be, he's going to end up landing on his feet somewhere, and it will drive Roman insane.

RYAN HANSEN: I think he probably got a recurring role on a CW show that led to becoming a series regular.


That's kinda great.
posted by mindless progress at 5:47 PM on February 10, 2011


I know! Oh, Dick.
posted by maryr at 5:59 PM on February 10, 2011


Well, at least Starz is still pushing indie comedies with Spartacus. Hmm? What's that? Ah. I'm being told that Spartacus is not meant to be a comedy.

Speaking of Spartacus:
LIZZY CAPLAN: It really was Starz pushing for boobs, constantly. They loved boobs. I think it was coming from high up. There were just random boobs flying around in our show sometimes.
Mission accomplished.
posted by mhum at 6:21 PM on February 10, 2011


Spartacus has more then boobs!

it also has ass and lots of of gladiator-on-gladiator scenes!

What?

For bme the best part of Party Down is Martin Starr as Roman DeBeers, cause you can just imagine that this is what happened when Bill grew up and moved to L.A
posted by The Whelk at 7:00 PM on February 10, 2011


I loved Constance because she was an alternate universe version of my mom, if instead of getting married she would have moved to LA. I've known from an early age that coke was much better in the 80s.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 7:12 PM on February 10, 2011


I loved Constance because she was an alternate universe version of my mom

Oh god yes, my Mom was a L.A Sceneter in the 80s and a bartender. Had she stayed there I'd imagine she'd have gone pretty Constance.
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 PM on February 10, 2011


On my what, fourth? fifth? viewing of Season Two, I started purposely paying more attention to Kyle, since I rarely thought he gave the funniest performances. Sure, he's an airhead, and he gives Roman and Ron a lot of shit, but the writers subtly made him an actually good friend, too. There's one obvious example in the first season where he pulls Constance away from some douchebag producer who's mocking her without her realizing it, but I was really impressed by his performance in Joel Munt's Big Deal Party. He goes out of his way that night to get the back of everyone that needed it -- he pees in Munt's champagne glass to help Roman get revenge, he tries to break into the van to help Henry get laid, and he steals Munt's security tape to save Ron's ass. What a guy! Previously I'd been too into coked-up Lydia to even notice it ("I feel depressed. How do you fix that?")

Also, I'm dying for more of my friends to get off their asses and watch the damn show already so that they know what I'm talking about when I notify them that they are committing RDDs
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 7:16 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love this show so much. Every time I watch I get some hit with some unnamed emotion whenever Ron ends up exclaiming "No, oh no. no no no no." It's hilarious and heart rending at the same time. I think they worked a perfect arc, but I would gladly watch 10 more seasons if they made them.
posted by gofargogo at 7:52 PM on February 10, 2011


Thanks for this thread. I'd never heard of the show before. And now, thanks to the magic of Netflix, I am watching it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:21 PM on February 10, 2011


Those of you who love Ken Marino in this are doing yourselves a huge disservice by not immediately watching Wet Hot American Summer. The entire movie is genius, but he is a true gem. I will never again be able to listen to Kenny Loggins' "Danny's Song" without laughing my ass off.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 8:50 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love arrested development. For a long time I considered it my favorite show.

I only bring this up because I would trade the AD movie for the Veronica Mars and Party Down movies.
posted by djduckie at 11:33 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


He goes out of his way that night to get the back of everyone that needed it --

I've only seen the first three (last night), but he also is willing to attempt revenge for Lydia on the guy at the young conservatives party who she thinks has made a gay slur. Of course, it turns out the guy who is gay and the joke he made is pretty funny.

Oh, and Ed Begley, Jr. and Jane Lynch were hilarious in that episode.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:58 PM on February 11, 2011


Half way through Season One thanks to this thread. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
posted by briank at 7:57 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


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