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Future Imperfect: Party Down Wraps Its Second Season

I have a hard time imagining a world without Party Down.

While Starz's critically adored by ratings-challenged comedy has only been on for two seasons (the second of which wraps its run tonight), Party Down has served as a beacon of hope, particularly in light of watching the crop of comedy pilots ordered to series for next season.

Tonight's season finale of Party Down ("Constance Carmell Wedding") arrives at a time when the future of the series is even more uncertain than when the season began back in April. Starz hasn't picked up the series for a third season and many of its cast members--including Adam Scott and Ryan Hansen--have signed on to star in other shows. (You can read my feature on The Daily Beast from April about the situation here and the outtakes from my interview with Scott--in which we talk about Parks and Recreation and Party Down--here.)

In its twenty episodes, Party Down found the pitch-perfect balance between sweet and sour and between humor and pathos. While the crew of Party Down Caterers took a series of jobs--including tonight's wedding for one of their own, Constance (Glee's Jane Lynch back once more)--we came to know and love these characters, in spite of (or perhaps because of) their many flaws.

The Party Down gang were at times lazy, slovenly, charmless, and sarcastic. They were, in other words, much like the darker sides of ourselves, secret selves we conceal from view most of the time. Which might be why we loved them quite so much.

Tonight's season finale feels like a suitable end for Party Down, if that's what it winds up being, should Starz opt not to renew this incredible, hysterical series. Decisions are made, paths taken, and twists occur, even as we get a chance to see the original cast--including Lynch--reunite one final time on screen.

I don't want to spoil the plot of tonight's installment nor the conclusions that are reached at the very end of the episode. Party Down has always been a series that has tickled the funny bone (and offered a punch to the gut) of its devoted audience and it goes out tonight just as it started: with a sense of the bittersweet. The series has managed, in the capable hands of Rob Thomas and John Enbom, to capture the very essence of Hollywood as a place rich with the possibility of hope and that of eternal torment, a place where one's dreams are cruelly dashed.

But it's also a place of constant reinvention, where anyone--even the lowliest caiter-waiter--can look up at the stars and begin their dream anew.

Regardless of what happens with Starz, Party Down as we know it comes to an end tonight. Adam Scott is contracted for three episodes, should the series get renewed (and, sadly, that's a rather big if), and Ryan Hansen would also only be allowed to appear in a handful of episodes. The series has weathered the loss of one of its stars before and come out the other side but Scott's Henry has remained the heart of the series, his journey at its very core of what makes Party Down tick.

There's no way of knowing what the future will hold for Party Down but, for tonight at least, the party goes on.

The season finale of Party Down airs tonight at 10 pm ET/PT on Starz.


Stacy said…
I really hope that the show is renewed for a third season. I've really looked forward to watching this sarcastic crew of misfits, especially Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott. I was excited when they were able to continue for a second season despite the loss of Jane Lynch, a crucial character, but sadly, I don't think the show will survive the loss of Adam Scott, the main character. Let's hope they've got something in their bag of tricks and can come back for a third season.
Tonya Ricucci said…
loved this season as well as the last. it would be a fitting ending to the series, but hope it isn't so. Please, Starz, renew this gem. With the same writers I really do think the show could go on. I missed Constance this season (great to have her back) but the show still worked.
Anelise said…
Another great season! I know that things don't look good for a third season but I think they could make it work, even without Adam Scott. They have such a talented cast and group of writers and I'd hate for this to be the end!
Debbie said…
I think the show needs Ryan and Adam to work. The reason it could work without Jane is that Megan was a perfectly over-the-top comedienne who did a great job in the same type of role without needing to be the same person. Slacker Ryan and straight man Adam (especially Adam) are both too integral to the story lines to be gone for more than an episode or two. If Starz is going to start cutting corners with an S3 of Party Down (especially since they just signed on to broadcast Torchwood), then I say just close the doors of PD as you wrapped up the story of their ragtag team with Constance' wedding. Too bad Party Down and Better Off Ted couldn't have been a 1-2 punch on basic cable somewhere (I am looking at you, USA - characters welcome!) because they really had legs and barrels of laughs to spare!

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