Follow Monsters of Television on Twitter

Wednesday, 1 of March of 2017

Tag » Party Down

Podcast 008: Hope Dies Last with TV Fans

“We’re going to make our name by talking about television in relation to our BMs.”

We’re totally all over the map here. As we stand on the precipice of the mid-season, the Monsters discuss everything from our expected disappointment in The Cape (though, if it’s expected, can it really be disappointment?), shippers and underdogs, how to end a series with a bang, how tonight’s episode of How I Met Your Mother will reflect on the last one, and, at some point, bowel movements. Apparently, we’ve been listening to a little too much Smodcast.

You really want to listen to this one all the way through. It’s kind of amazing.

Running Time: 65 minutes

Topics: Place in the Podcast

  • The Cape: 0:00:56
  • Off the Map: 0:13:52
  • Boardwalk Empire: 0:23:11
  • Perfect Couples: 0:24:48
  • Atlanta and The Varsity: 0:26:48
  • TV’s Midseason Return: 0:24:48
  • Life Unexpected: 0:30:28
  • Skins: 0:33:39
  • Party Down: 0:34:40
  • Downton Abbey: 0:35:46
  • Friday Night Lights: 0:38:41
  • How I Met Your Mother: 0:40:43
  • Fringe: 0:52:19
  • How to End a Series: 0:53:33
  • Felicity: 0:58:55
  • ‘Shippers and the Underdog: 1:00:18
  • The Office: 1:02:21

Party Down – “Constance Carmell Wedding”

Oh, I don’t know that I can be replaced.”

Constance’s line to Lydia, quoted above, kind of sums up all my feelings about Party Down as it finishes its second (and maybe (somewhat hopefully) last?) season. Lydia never found a groove with the rest of the characters, and the season never seemed to find its groove either. After the first couple of episodes of re-establishing Henry and Casey tension, and then committing to the relationship, everything kind of went adrift after that.

The season ultimately just struggled to be terrific (as season 1 is), with episodes that had moments or episodes that were those moments (thinking, of course, of The Gutte). And with this finale, it has all the air of a series finale and not a season finale. Read more »


Party Down – “Cole Landry’s Draft Day Party”

Are any of you Americans? Am I the only one who’s been in a Champs?

While “Cole Landry’s Draft Day Party” episode is funny in places, it’s not a great episode of Party Down, nor do I think it’s a a particular smart piece of writing. Indeed, the episode feels a bit tired as a sitcom set-up (hiding sexualities, drunken confrontations, posing as significant others, learning that people aren’t as they seem), and even the crew of Party Down can’t really salvage the episode from its rather tired premise. Read more »


Party Down – “Joel Munt’s Big Deal Party”

A huge dork getting into a car full of hot chicks. If that’s not a sign of hope, I don’t know what is.”

After the kind of arc heavy episodes of the past couple of weeks, “Joel Munt’s Big Deal Party” slows things down a bit, doing a very solid stand-alone type episode. Sure, we have the sex-happy Happy Relation Syndrome Casey and Henry back together, looking for ways to fool around all night, but their relationship isn’t the focus this week. Instead, Roman’s past comes back to haunt him, giving Martin Starr a chance to really shine, though I feel this season has done an exemplary job of giving Starr lots of good material (how does he not have a sitcom pilot…?) Read more »


Top 10 Snarkiest TV Characters

Here at Monsters of Television we value one trait above all else: snark. Sure, we have to be able to write intelligently and put TV shows in academic and societal contexts, but why do it if you’re not going to be witty about it? So in tribute to both television and snark, I have compiled a list of 10 of the snarkiest, wittiest characters on television. I’m including pictures and videos for all of you out there who don’t read so good. See? Snark. Here we go. Read more »


Party Down – “‘Not On Your Wife’ Opening Night”

But fuckin’ community theatre? It’s like a delusion of a delusion.”

I adore a well-done farce. All the running around, the mistaken identities, the uptick in speed as the script hurdles towards its climax. It’s all great fun. (And one of the reasons I enjoy both Frasier and The Nanny.) But it takes a great deal of things for a farce to work, including a cast that is on their toes, a quick script, and smart director. Even if one of those things is only slightly off, the entire thing crumbles.

Thankfully, this is not the case in Party Down‘s “‘Not On Your Wife’ Opening Night.” Indeed, the show’s stab at farce never lets up, not even for a moment. And as much as I loved “Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday Party,” I think this episode is the best of the season thus far. Read more »


Party Down – “Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday”

Partying with The Gutte!”

It’s episodes like this that make me a little bit sad that Party Down may not make it to a third season (at least with the majority of its original cast intact).

Like Being John Malkovich, “Steve Gunttenberg’s Birthday” wouldn’t work if it was “[significantly more recognizable/famous/current actor]’s Birthday.” It has to be Steve Guttenberg or someone like him, someone who used to be really famous and now flits in and out of TV cameos playing variations on the perceived persona, in this case Guttenberg as kind of weird in an overly friendly way (Veronica Mars season 2, anyone?).

That said, the episode is an aberration in the show’s run as the guests are really the crew themselves and Guttenberg’s the one throwing the party. So it creates a new dynamic for the show, but not one that’s bad, just different. And it showcases how well these actors gel with one another.

Read more »


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. Read more »


Party Down – “Precious Lights Pre-School Auction”

Do you even remember what it was like to have a dream?”

In last night’s Community review I discussed a bit about the importance of maintaining a balance in an ensemble, and how Community showcases the ability to make being unbalanced not only a conflict for the plot, but to show how important each member is. Party Down is still trying to work the kinks in the role of Lydia, and the overall comedy in the show is suffering a bit for it.

I think Lydia could work within the ensemble, but I feel like when the character was conceptualized (a stage mom) they didn’t figure out a way to better integrate her position as someone who wants stardom (even if indirectly through her daughter) among all these other people, toiling away at their dreams. Indeed, it’s why Charlotte worked so well: she had already hit her height as an actress and was able to provide absurd mentorly advice. What is Lydia’s role in this show? Read more »


Party Down – “Jackal Onassis Backstage Party”

Not give a shit, like a human being.”

Party Down is a show that I only know from Netflix Watch Instantly. I don’t get Starz ( orany premium cable for that matter), so I didn’t find out about the show until last winter when I mainlined the series. At first I wasn’t keen on the show, but about four episodes in the show and I found each other, and I can feel very confident in declaring it a brilliant comedy series that needs more and more eyeballs watching it.

To introduce the show, since I’m sure a few of you may not be watching it (yet), I’ll simply say it deals with the trials and tribulations of a group of catering service employees, all of whom have grander dreams than to serve little sandwiches at really weird functions (ranging from a botched sweet 16 party to a celebration of a Russian mobster). Each episode finds the cast in a new situation, so functions as a workplace comedy with an ever changing workplace.

But the show is also a squirm comedy, like Curb Your Enthusiasm (though not nearly as squirm-inducing). It’s happy to take apart social mores, but more with a sly wink than a pregnant linger like Curb. It’s a show that’s funny and heart breaking, with sublime writing and stellar acting. You need to be watching it. Read more »