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Friday, 5 of March of 2021

Party Down – “Nick DiCinto’s Orgy Night”

Who you gonna believe? Some bitter wannabe who’s pissed from working a shitty, dehumanizing job or me?”

So here is what Party Down is really about. The previous two episodes have been a bit all over the place, but with the orgy night everything just slides into place (couldn’t be helped). The show was at its best last season when the crew of Party Down Catering ended up getting roped into the party in some way and/or called upon to save it.

It’s that bitter irony that these folks, with grand dreams and ambitious goals have to help those who have already achieved their dreams and goals continue enjoying them. There’s something noble in that, but they can’t just get past the cruelness of it all. And thank goodness for that.

The reason why “Nick DiCinto’s Orgy Night” works so well is that the ensemble finally has things to do with each other, and with the party, throughout the episode. Perhaps most importantly is that Lydia finally feels a little better integrated into the show, though not really with the main cast. Her interactions with Nick create a fun dynamic, as she vainly tries to hook up with Nick (“Estate law? That’s my favorite law!”). It does keep her away from the rest of the group, but it feels more organic than in the previous episodes since she has a clear goal within the episode. It bodes well for her character if the show can keep this kind of momentum up for Lydia.

Henry, Ron, and Casey all exist on the periphery of this episode while still having plenty of solid moments. Henry and Ron getting buzzed together and dragging a sloppy drunk to his house (kinda) while talking about women and leadership is actually a really nice move for both of their characters, as it resolves, hopefully, the tension around their reversed roles within the crew. Casey is a little lost in this episode, but her brief scene with Henry at the end of the episode helps cover that up, and also put a nice bow on the tension between the two of them. I suspect, however Uda’s off-screen presence is equally important since her role in the Henry and Casey story will come to a head whenever Kristen Bell returns.

But I think the best played portions of the episode center around Roman and Kyle. Sure, they don’t get along, but there’s a grudging admiration between the two of them (maybe just on Roman’s part) for a willingness to put themselves out there and risk getting shutout of a potential chance to hit a big. When Kyle, already disheartened by his film going straight to DVD in Asia is decimated by a fellow co-etxra on Gilmore Girls (now a silent, topless woman at the orgy who holds condoms and lube), it’s Roman who must salvage Kyle’s confidence. It’s a terrific scene that would’ve been done by Constance last season, but now falls to Roman. And his efforts to buck up Kyle come off as wonderfully genuine, even if he does kind of shake it off as he leaves.

And Roman’s efforts to construct the perfect orgy for Nick play out equally well. Indeed, without Roman, the semi-orgy would never have happened, giving Nick the confidence he needs to be single again. Much like his failure as a rock star stand-in, Roman proves to be book smart than life smart, and can’t even sit in the back and watch (though Lydia does!). I do hope that show doesn’t overexpose Roman, as he’s probably the show’s most effective laugh-getter, but must be deployed wisely.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • I was amused that Starz let me know that there would be nudity in an episode with ‘orgy night’ in the title. Though, it might’ve been good irony if there hadn’t been any nudity. Clothed orgy night.
  • Am interested to see how the crew works at a funeral next week.
  • My quote for the review could’ve just as easily come from 30 Rock: “Last time I was blindfolded was when I had to play the piano at that weird masquerade party.”

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