ⓘ Party Down

Party Down

ⓘ Party Down

Party Down is an American sitcom created and primarily written by John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge and Paul Rudd that aired on the Starz network in the United States in 2009 and 2010. The series follows a group of caterers in Los Angeles as they hope to make it in Hollywood.

Starz canceled Party Down on June 30, 2010. While the show was warmly received by critics, its Nielsen ratings were very low. Losing Jane Lynch to Glee as well as Adam Scott to Parks and Recreation were believed to be additional factors in the decision to end the series.


1. Premise

This half-hour comedy follows a Los Angeles, California, catering team for the titular company. The sextet of aspiring Hollywood actors and writers, as well as drifting lost souls, work small-time catering gigs while hoping for their break or some positive change in their lives. Each episode finds the team working a new event, and inevitably getting tangled up with the colorful, affluent guests and their absurd lives.


2.1. Cast Main cast

  • Martin Starr as Roman DeBeers, a screenwriter who is a fan of hard science fiction. Often frustrated by his lack of success, he harshly judges his colleagues and party guests.
  • Lizzy Caplan as Casey Klein, a struggling comedian and actress who often disregards authority, especially Rons. She was married at the start of the series but got divorced and started a relationship with Henry to make a "clean break" from her marriage.
  • Ryan Hansen as Kyle Bradway, an actor, model, and front man for the band Karma Rocket. He believes he is the "total package" and is just waiting for his big break.
  • Jennifer Coolidge as Bobbie St. Brown season 1, episodes 9 & 10 – Constances roommate who replaces her on the Party Down team after her absence.
  • Jane Lynch as Constance Carmell, a former actress who befriends and mentors aspiring actor Kyle. Lynch did not appear in the last two episodes of the first season due to her commitment to Glee. Lynch guest starred in the final episode of the second season.
  • Ken Marino as Ronald Wayne "Ron" Donald, the prideful team leader of Party Down catering who is very uptight when it comes to work and strives for customer satisfaction. He is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, although he relapses when under pressure from work as he suffers from low self-esteem. His dream is to manage a Soup R Crackers, a franchise that offers all-you-can-eat soup. After getting the money, the business shuts down after five months, forcing Ron to return to Party Down but not as team leader.
  • Megan Mullally as Lydia Dunfree season 2, a recent divorcee who has moved to Hollywood hoping to achieve stardom for her 13-year-old daughter Escapade. She is very optimistic and naive, constantly seeking advice from people in the entertainment business.
  • Adam Scott as Henry Pollard, a failed actor who returns to Party Down catering after he quit acting. He is most well known for a beer ad where his line "Are we having fun yet?" earned him fame but killed his career. Apathetic and a perpetual underachiever, he often plays straight man to the rest of his coworkers and is most often the most level-headed of the group. His sexual relationship with Casey is a recurring plot element in the show.

2.2. Cast Recurring cast

  • J. K. Simmons as Leonard Stiltskin, disgruntled, foul-mouthed film producer who appears in season 1s "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen" and season 2s "Precious Lights Pre-School Auction".
  • Aviva Baumann as Mandy, Rons girlfriend who appears in season 2s "Jackal Onassis Backstage Party" and "Precious Lights Pre-School Auction".
  • Kristen Bell as Uda Bengt, the uptight leader of Valhalla Catering who eventually starts a relationship with Henry after Casey leaves. She appears in season 1s "Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception" and season 2s "Party Down Company Picnic".
  • June Diane Raphael as Danielle Lugozshe, daughter of Bolus who begins an affair with Ron and eventually chooses him over her fiance. She appears in season 2s "Party Down Company Picnic" and "Constance Carmell Wedding".
  • Michael Hitchcock as Bolus Lugozshe, the new owner of Party Down, appearing in season 2s "Party Down Company Picnic" and "Constance Carmell Wedding".
  • Joey Lauren Adams as Diandra Stiltskin, Leonards unhappy and unfaithful wife who tries to seduce Kyle, appearing in season 1s "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen" and season 2s "Precious Lights Pre-School Auction".
  • Ken Jeong as Alan Duk, original Party Down CEO who purchases one of Rons "Soup R Crackers", appearing in season 1s "Sin Say Shun Awards After Party" and "Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception". Duk was tried and convicted for white collar crimes before season 2.


3.1. Development Conception

The concept of Party Down was six years in the making, with many of the ideas for the episodes conceptualized years before the show was made. An original unaired pilot was shot at Rob Thomass house with all the original cast except Lizzy Caplan, whose character was played by Andrea Savage. Paul Rudd was also in the pilot, but could not participate in the series due to film projects. The pilot was used to sell the show to the Starz network.


3.2. Development Crew

The series was executive produced by co-creators John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge and Paul Rudd. Enbom served as showrunner. The co-executive producers were Jennifer Gwartz and Danielle Stokdyk and Jennifer Dugan was a producer. Beginning with season two, series star Adam Scott served as a producer, while series directors Bryan Gordon and Fred Savage served as supervising producers. Series star Ken Marino directed the second-season finale episode.


3.3. Development Possible film adaptation

On January 8, 2012, Megan Mullally confirmed the film is being written by John Enbom and she will be part of it. According to Mullally, the film will likely pick up where season two left off. The entire cast is expected to be present, with the possible exception of Jane Lynch.

In a January 2012 interview, Martin Starr commented that "I know that things have gone out that make it seem like it’s official, but there’s nothing official. We all have our fingers crossed and hope that everything works out and that we can get it made. There are small steps being taken that hopefully will lead to people signing contracts and us getting to do something, but at the moment I’m not capable of saying that it’s happening yet". Starr continued that, although he had "heard of the possibility of financiers", he was not sure "to what degree things are moving forward, or if things are moving forward". He then joked "Hopefully those talks lead to us getting to make an amazing movie that all seven of us fans can watch". In December 2015, Adam Scott said the film is unlikely to ever happen, and if anything were to happen it would most likely be new episodes.


4. Reception

Andrew Wallenstein of The Hollywood Reporter said, "Lurking behind the surface of this raucous comedy is an astute meditation on the promise and peril of leading an unconventional life, something about which aspiring actors know a thing or two." The American Film Institute named Party Down one of the 10 best shows of 2009. Season two scored 85 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 12 critical reviews. James Poniewozik of Time ranked Party Down as the sixth best television series of 2010.

In 2014, Entertainment Weekly listed the show at #22 in their list of the "26 Best Cult TV Shows Ever" calling it a "smart, drily funny series" and saying, "But the off-beat writing shone brightest in the smaller moments, when the gang was just sitting around a kitchen and bickering to pass the time."