Party Down Recap

April 16, 2009 at 10:06 am 1 comment

For all you lovely people out there who can’t watch Party Down, I recapped the pilot episode for you. If you like it enough, I’ll do more.

Willow Canyon Homeowner’s Party

Meet Ron, head of the Party Down catering crew. Ron would like to share with you Party Down’s simple motto: It’s your party, you deserve to enjoy it, but how are you going to enjoy the party if you’re worried that the shrimp cocktail has been sitting out too long or if there’s enough ice or do the guests think the party’s lame, are they stealing stuff…and somehow this motto becomes about Ron’s sobriety and…You know what, Ron? I’m going to stop this bout of verbal diarrhea, if it’s all the same to you. Next time, go for something short, like “Party down with Party Down!”

What? I never said I was an advertising professional. Go watch Mad Men if you’re looking for a good slogan.

Anyway, Ron, (played by Ken “Vinnie Van Lowe” Marino, and he was going to be Ronnie for this recap but he’s so nothing like Vinnie that he’s going to stay Ron) is going through his spiel with a slightly bored but mostly terrified red-headed homeowner who tries to wrangle the awkward situation into something less awkward. Since awkward pours off Mr. Ron Donald–and boy, his mother must have hated him–in waves, she fails because you can’t avoid getting caught in that hot mess.

In the background, other Party Downers mill around not doing any of the prep work they should be doing. You know these are Party Downers because they are wearing white button-down shirts, pink bow ties, and black pants. We’ve got slacker/actor Kyle (Ryan “Dick Casablancas” Hansen), slacker/writer Roman (Martin “Bill Haverchuck” Starr) and failed actress Constance (Jane “Cindi Lightballoon” Lynch). Roman appears to be the only one working, if “working” means struggling with the top of a mustard jar, that, when he finally gets open, splats mustard on the ugly but expensive jacked of Red-headed Homeowner. Roman gets all disgusted and moans, “Why do they make these things so tight?” That’s what she said, Roman.

But it’s Ron to the rescue! He pulls out his clean stick, all, “There will be no frowns today. Leave the frowning to us! Hey–that should be part of our motto.” Yeah, no.

Red-headed Homeowner agrees with me and simply gives Ron the “you’re efficient” non-compliment and scampers off to get away from these crazy, crazy people she has let into her home, like why didn’t she do the background check like her mother told her to? That’s so going on the client feedback card.

Now let’s meet Henry (Adam…um…”bit part” Scott. No offense–he’s awesome here. But the only thing I recognize him from is one episode of Veronica Mars), the newset Party Downer. He pulls up to the homeowner’s party in his semi-clunker of a convertable–it even makes that about-to-die clinking noise when he kills the engine–and steps out in the most wrinkled shirt I’ve ever seen. Even my shirts aren’t that wrinkled, and I hate ironing. Toss that baby into the dryer for about five minutes and you’re good to go. It’s a handy lesson. Henry pauses at the Party Down party van and huffs out the sigh of the deafted and broken.

partydownobjectboxart_160wBack in the kitchen, Ron tries to herd his troops and dole out some last minute advice and instructions. It goes about as well as you’d expect, what with Constance running a scene from “The Palisades” with Kyle (and trying to help him committ to the scene, as Gene Hackman told her to do back in the day) and Roman doing something with the meatballs. Not like that, you dirty birds.

It seems Ron recently took a racial sensitivity seminar (I wonder if it was taught by Mr. Brown) and learned that the term Mexican is not offensive. And that joke isn’t older than my dead grandmother. Roman glances up from his book with this hilarious look of complete disbelief. Anyway, Constance has decided to eat some of the party cheese, which Ron heavily disapproves of and makes her spit out. At some point, dude, you gotta accept that the cheese is gone and move on. The final note Ron has for his team is that the Red-headed homeowner said they could put the tip jar out instead of taking the guaranteed 20%. I have to side with Kyle on this one–the Party Downers do not need to bet on themselves, since they all reek of apathy and boredom. Take the guaranteed 20%. Ron seems to think that the tip jar will make them try harder. Ron lives in Never Never Land with the Lost Boys.

In comes Henry. He and Ron used to “sling d’oeuvres” back in the day. Ron moved up in the d’oeuvre slinging world (and don’t think I’m going to stop using that in a hurry), while Henry stepped out and took a chance on acting. I’m guessing that didn’t go so well for Henry. Ron immediately notices the wrinkled state of Henry’s shirt. Henry really doesn’t give a shit and is less than impressed that Ron has a spare, crisp shirt in the van. That’s what eight years of catering experience will teach you, kiddies: never leave home without a spare, crisp shirt.

Henry is now in the bar area, slicing limes. Verrrry sloooowly. Ron watches him, commenting that Henry’s a little rusty, but it will all come back to him. He does that whole backward-compliment “you haven’t changed” thing and then calls himslef “New Ron.” Oh, jesus, Ron. Shut up. Apparently, the days of boozing and drugs and getting high are over and, much like Henry’s dream of becoming an actor, his dream is to own a Super Crackers (Soup or Crackers? I don’t know) franchise. Henry busts out laughing, until he realizes that Ron is dead serious. Henry is still mangling those limes, but Ron’s OCD kicks in and he takes over, explaining about the “grain” of the lime that runs north-south (“nipple to nipple”). I think Henry just needed a better knife so he can stab Ron in the throat.

And here’s the last member of the Party Down dream team: Casey (Lizzy “Kat Warbler” Caplan) yapping on her cell to her husband about her improv class. Ron disapproves of personal business on company time, notes that Casey is late for the second time and this is her final warning. She notices Henry and wants to know what happened to “Sage.” Uh, he got the shit beaten out of him for having a stupid name? I’ll bet his parents were hippies. (I’m kidding, everyone whose name is actually Sage. It’s a lovely name.) Apparently, he finally got fired for jerking off in closets on company time after getting five warnings. Casey calls bullshit on her final warning for being late twice, and I agree. Dude got caught making cream in strangers’ closets more than once? Guys, stay away from Party Down’s dip.

Casey also notices the Henry’s homeless-man shirt. He claims to be going for the “helpful, gay pirate” look, but she admonishes him: “You don’t look helpful.” Ron gets all flustered, saying that in his sensitivity seminar, he learned that you don’t use that word. Casey and Henry toss out “helpful” and “pirate”, and, oh, these two are perfect for each other. Make out already. Ron, of course, means, “gay.”

Kyle wanders around with some fried chicken on a platter. Red-headed Homeowner’s husband walks by and tries to snatch a piece but is stopped by Red (seriously, does she have a name?) snitting that he can’t wear his jeans and a gray t-shirt to the party. Husband is played by Enrico “Keith Mars” Colantoni, and although his name is Gordon, I’m going to call him Keith because I miss Keith.

Red is stressing about the her husband’s clothes (jeans, not those pleated shorts she bought him–wise choice, Keith) and the state of her party because she let these crazy, crazy Party Downers into her home. Ron brown-noses something about the pleated shorts and brings up the motto again, and finally–fucking finally–Red snaps at him. She wants to know if they’ll have video, and conveniently enough, Casey has the camcorder in her hand. Constance, who has camera radar, bops in and awkwardly dances with Red, who is stiff and annoyed and really wants these crazy, crazy people out of her home.

Party time! People mill about in the way suburbanites do at these neighborhood functions, talking quietly and being kind of boring and white. Except for the token black couple, who are still boring by association. Roman is hovering by the sound board, checking out Red’s teenaged daughter. They kind of smile shyly at each other until Kyle shows up and encourages Roman to go for it by pointing out Roman’s many geeky tendencies (techno music, sci-fi books, being the creepy guy catering her parents’ party). Daughter of Red checks out Kyle, who goes off to flirt and leaves Roman broken-hearted and looking for revenge. Don’t piss off the nerds, Kyle. It’ll only end badly for you.

Ron accidently backs into the black guy, who drops his fried chicken on the floor. Ron stumbles over the racial stereotype of black people liking fried chicken (uh, what’s not to love about fried chicken? Hook me up with some Abner’s and I’ll be your friend for life) because Ron is a social moron.

party_down_episode_101_2009_685x385_010Casey walks around the party, videoing the boring, white people and their boring, white party: there’s some wine drinking, some stiff smiles, one “Great party, Liddy!” (oh, snap. Red’s name is Liddy!), Constance kicking all kinds of kiddie ass with some mega-super-soaker water guns, and Keith is obviously contemplating a murder/suicide while some boring, white guy mumbles about  labradoodles, chipoodles and golden doodles. Okay. White people are never allowed to name dog hybrids ever. Unless it’s a colliedorusslepoo.

Keith opts out of murder/suicide and walks to the bar where he turns into Andy Bernard, all, “Beer me.” All the boring white people–specifically his family–are killing his buzz, but even through the buzzkill he thinks he recognizes Henry. Henry says he’s got that kind of face, and Keith wanders off with his beer.

Roman introduces himself to Henry with a quote from Repo Man, which I have not seen so I can’t comment on how it fits into this episode. Roman isn’t down with the boring, white life and would rather shoot himself than be tied down with a mortgage and a ski-doo. Don’t knock the ski-doos, dude. Those things are awesome. Henry is a grown-up and realizes that owning a house isn’t a bad thing, but Roman scoffs “ordinary fucking people.” Henry picks up on it this time–that it’s from Repo Man–and his worth goes up a point or two in Roman’s eyes. Kyle comes over to oder some drinks and wants in on the conversation. He thinks “ordinary fucking people” is the movie where that dude’s brother died, which is awesomely obtuse of him. I think I love Kyle.

He and Roman get into a nerdy-writer vs. idiot-actor fight until Ron comes over and asks Roman, “What am I not hearing?” “I don’t know, a giant squid? There are other options…” Roman mutters. I think I love Roman, too. Ron means music, so Roman goes off to do his job. Henry asks Ron what he should do with the trash. Ron says that the homeowners have a compactor; he’ll have one of “their Mexicans” take it out in the morning. Even Kyle knows how wrong that was. And, okay, I admit. That did make me chuckle.

Exit Ron and enter Cougar–late 40s, overly tanned skin, tight dress, slightly drunk. Every boring white subdivision’s got one. She orders a drink and tries to figure out how she knows Henry. He uses his”that kind of face” excuse, and Cougar sluts off with her drink and Kyle’s eyes on her ass, because MILF action is one of the only perks of the job. He quotes some random Shakespeare (“If music is the food of love, then play it” which is…not how that quote goes. I love you anyway, Kyle!) and tells Henry he’s an actor/musician/model and fishes around to see if Henry is going to be competition. Henry doesn’t play into his game, saying that State Farm is his agent, which blows so fast over Kyle’s head it’s a wonder the boy’s hair stays put. Henry kind of gapes at Kyle’s complete stupidity (I still love you, honey) and says that he doesn’t act anymore and, in fact, is a bartender. Kyle doofuses, “Dude, nice! Where?” When Henry points out that he’s bartending right here at this boring, white party, Kyle realizes how stupid he sounds and looks horrified. Hee.

Smoke break! Which Henry can’t enjoy because here comes Casey, yammering on her phone again to her husband, Mike, who threatens to come to the party to talk to Casey. This is not cool with Casey, as Ron has put her on notice and she doesn’t need the drama at work. Seriously, douchebag. Your wife is at work. Save it for later. She asks Henry to look out for a pissed-off thirty-ish guy with brown hair (which describes every guy at the party except the token black guy and the whole pissed-off thing. They’re all too bored to be pissed.) Casey thanks “new guy” for the help. Henry is shocked that she forgot his name–Scrotum Phillips, which is so the name of my imaginary band. God these two. They are killing me with the cute.

Casey and Henry chit-chat (he was an actor, he does look familiar, she’s a comedian), and then Casey realizes that Scrotum, I mean Henry, was “that guy” which is, apparently, “bananas.” She wants to know what he’s doing working here, and he calmly and depressingly asks her if she remembers him from anything else. Poor Scrotum, I mean Henry.

Back to the party, where it’s awards time! Let’s see what the boring white people award each other: The Best Christmas Decorations award goes to the Weismans (hah. This joke was awesome, but I would have worshipped at it’s little Jewish feet if the writers had let it go. Instead, they had someone in the crowd mutter, “Lost to the Jews.” If you have to point out the joke, it’s not funny anymore.), Best Mailbox goes to Red and Keith (who looks two seconds away from blowing his brains out). Keith mutters “Ordinary fucking people.” Red yammers on about the quality of the mailboxes (the fuck? As long as they aren’t those godawful tupperware monstrosities, who cares?), and Keith slides further into suburban dispair.

While Kyle flirts with Daughter of Red, Roman prank calls him as Jim Tower from The Palisades, saying that they made an interesting choice for the character Kyle is reading for. Casey comes in and Roman hastily hangs up the phone and wanders away. Whatever, like she cares.

Ron is outside trying to impress the neighborhood kids (who are not wet even though Constance blasted their asses with those water guns) with his bartending flair. They love his routine so much that one asshole kid stabs him in the leg with a toothpick, and Ron slams the bottle down on a table and sloshes strawberry daiquiri mix all over his crisp, white shirt. Reason 4,325 why I’m glad I don’t have kids. Ron stomps off, muttering, “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.”

Kyle and Daughter of Red are bonding over their muscial talents–Daughter could be on Idol and Kyle has used suburban hell to write a song called “You Stained Me” or “Mind Gel”: I gave you my soul/you treated it like poison/gave you my heart/ you betrayed it with a lie/’cause you stained me like something something something/you stained me something something/you stained me like Shakespeare said thou doth. He rocks out with some air guitar and a recording on his phone, and at one point channels Aaron Neville. Oh, Kyle. Never change.

Cut to Ron changing shirts in Daughter’s bathroom. Hahaha, his spare, crisp shirt is two sizes too small. And he got sticky, red goo on his pants–all over the crotchular region–which he rather furiously rubs off with his clean stick. And that sounded way dirtier than I entended, even though it toally looks like he’s beating off. Daughter and Kyle crash into her room and fall on the bed, making out. She gets distracted by the noise coming from her bathroom and sees Ron in there rubbing his pants. She freaks out at him, he freaks out at Kyle, and then when he realizes that she thinks he was pulling a Sage, he backpeddles and tries to explain. But being Ron, he fails miserably, and Daughter yells for her mom. Ron threatens to destroy her if she tells her mom, and encourages her and Kyle to have fun. Ron is a mood killer, though, because Daughter sarcastically asks, “Are we having fun yet?” The lightbulb goes off over Kyle’s head when she says this, so he clearly recognizes the quote.

Back at the party, Keith is hanging out with Henry. They’re playing the grass is greener game, but Keith is bored and depressed and hates his life and doesn’t put up with Henry’s wining. Henry suggests they switch, and Keith gets this hopeful, happy look on his face: “Do you know anything about estate law?” Of course, Henry doesn’t, so Keith is stuck in his suburban hell. Kyle and Daughter walk over to the bar. Kyle says, “Are we having fun yet?” and Henry knows the game is up. It seems he was in a beer commercial and that was his major line. Everyone at the party gets all excited at having a quasi-celebrity as a bartender, and they try to get him to say the line. He won’t do it.

Keith requests a double, but before Henry can pour, Ron zooms over and says that the hostess requested no doubles–only one jigger. Henry can’t hear him over the crowd, so Ron shouts, “I don’t want you serving two jiggers.” The boring, white suburbanites go quiet at this, and the token black couple walk off, angry (thinking he said “to” and not “two” and jiggers…if I have to explain it, it’s no longer funny). Henry tells Ron that he believes they prefer the term “jigroes,” and, yeah, I laughed at that.

Henry notices a slightly more energetic white guy with brownish hair moving purposefully throught the crowd. He darts off to run interference, for this is Mike, Casey’s husband. Mike tries to get away from Henry, impatiently asking who Henry is. Henry is nobody, just trying to do a good deed. Mike doesn’t give a rat’s greasy ass, and pushes past Henry, who falls in the pool. Mike storms after Casey, who is understandably pissed. Keith darts out of the house, fully naked, screaming “CANONBALL!” He wants his boring, white neighbors to go crazy and get in the pool. Predictably, no one does, because they are boring. Keith realizes he’s fighting a losing battle, and he’s the asshole in this situation. He really hates his life. Red walks over and tells him to put his clothes on, because no one wants to see his penis. Keith thinks he might win the award for best cock. I’d go to that neighborhood party in a second. Keith goes off on the awards (apparently, the Christmas lights weren’t supposed to blink. “No blinky lights! No blinky blinky!”). He’s drunk and a little belligerant and a lot fed up with his life. Poor guy. Bet you wish you’d stayed in Neptune, huh Keith? Even if you didn’t win the sherrif’s election and your daughter is still in love with an Obligatory Psychotic Jackass. At least your life wasn’t boring there.

party-down-1Party’s over, it seems. In the kitchen, Kyle checks his messages and gleefully tells Constance that “Jim Tower” called and they want him back. She’s thrilled for him. I love their friendship. Kyle’s character has been rewritten a bit–he’s still a bad boy who’s new to town (heh), but now the character has “nut cancer.” Roman tells him that in order for it to be real, Kyle needs to shave off all his hair–head, eyebrows, everything. Constance agrees, because you have to suffer for your art.

As Henry packs away bottles in Ron’s stained shirt (it totally looks like blood splatter), Casey comes over and asks “Are we having fun yet?” And I can see now why Henry might not like that. That shit is annoying. Henry apologizes for not stopping Mike. Oh, honey. No. You do not need to apologize here. Mike the Asshole needs to apologize to you and to Casey because he is an asshole with a side of douchebag. That’s not how you handle an arugement, Mike. You don’t crash your wife’s workplace and have it out in public. Not cool, dude. Henry thinks maybe Ron didn’t see, what with the Keith diversion, but he did see and he fired Casey. Casey threatened to sue, so Ron rolled over and Casey is now back on final warning. She stumbles over a thank you because she forgot his name again, and I can’t get mad at her because I am horrible with names. She tells Scrotum, I mean Henry, that Mike got a job in Vermon, but that she’s keeping her job with Party Down for now. She walks off, past Kyle who is in a bathroom shaving off one of his eyebrows, “Jesus, Kyle. Roman left the message.” Kyle walks out of the bathroom with one eyebrow and this totally devastated look on his face. Dumbass. But I still love you!

Cougar sluts up to Henry, all drunk and horny. I know where this is going.

Ron and Red finish up some paperwork. Ron filled out the client feedback card himself, but Red isn’t having any of that. She wants to give her own feedback about these crazy, crazy people, so Ron slinks off to get another card out of the van.

Kyle is pissed because Roman’s prank totally “fucked him in the ass.” Constance gives Kyle some useless advice about how she was a bikini babe in Canonball 2 and was hit by a car and was disappointed, but she got to read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” while she was in the hospital, and it changed her life. Basically: God never closes a door without opening a window. Kyle has never heard this cliche before. Don’t think too hard about it, honey. You might strain something.

Ron counts out the money from the tip jar. Everyone gets $14, except Henry who gets $13.36. And Ron, who I’m guessing gets zilch out of guilt. Welcome back, Henry.

Credit scene: Henry is getting a handjob from Cougar, who wants him to say, “Are we having fun yet?” He finally does, and it kills his boner, much like it killed his acting career.

For a pilot episode, this was tight and well-written and wonderfully acted. It had the best parts of The Office and Arrested Development, and I loved it. If you have Starz or Netflix, you need to catch up right now, because it only gets more awesome.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Topics about Cheeses » Party Down Recap  |  April 21, 2009 at 6:45 am

    […] Baby Health Advice placed an interesting blog post on Party Down RecapHere’s a brief overview…eat some of the party cheese, which Ron heavily disapproves of and makes her spit out. At some point, dude, you gotta accept that the cheese is… […]

    Reply

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