Party Down season two premieres in two months (April 23 at 10 p.m.), but we're starting the high-pressure sales tactics right now, because you're going to need time to add Starz to your cable lineup and/or watch the first 10 episodes via Netflix.
Don't worry, though, frugalistas, because we're offering a money-back guarantee on Party Down. This neurotic, wisecracking comedy about Los Angeles cater waiters is one of the smartest, most entertaining shows anywhere on TV, and if you watch you will absolutely, positively love it.
Already a fan? Or just interested in finding out what's so great about Party Down? Read on for our exclusive Q&A with show runner John Enbom. He's spilling on what Megan Mullally's new character, Lydia, brings to the party, why Ron comes crawling back from Soup'r'Crackers, and what's in store for our hero, Henry...
Q&A With John Enbom, Party Down Show Runner
What's the overall theme of season two?
The big theme we set up for ourselves is "If you have a dream, what's it like trying to put a life together without it entirely? How do you kind of suppress what you formerly desired?"
Ours is a show that grapples with that fine line between ambition and delusion, so it's always about how to tell a story without making your characters' lives horrible and grim or having them succeed right out of the show.
Henry (Adam Scott) is team leader, and he's basically taken a full step into a totally other kind of life. He's not an actor anymore, he's a former actor. From his standpoint we're interested just seeing how he functions: Can he make a life doing something that his heart just isn't in? He has this relationship with Kristen Bell's character which happens, unfortunately, mostly offscreen, so he's in this kind of C+ relationship and C- job with just a passionless life and coming to terms with that and whether or not he can take it.
Similarly, with Casey (Lizzy Caplan), we've played her basically coming back into the acting world, in contrast to Henry who's just bowed out of everything.
In terms of succeeding your characters right out of the show, Ryan Hansen's character is the guy who everyone thinks will make it, just to spite everyone else—especially Roman. Do we see that this year?
It's certainly in our minds when we think about that show. Kyle is that guy, no matter how clueless, annoying, blank, whatever he is, he makes you feel like he's going to make it regardless even it's totally unfair. However, he's not there yet, like I said. We're always stuck with that problem of anybody who enjoys any success is unfortunately off the show. We don't want to lose people.
And how does Ron fit back into the show after the Soup'r'Crackers situation?
Well, that's another thing we kind of wanted to play with. Ron (Ken Marino) achieved his dream and then, through no fault of his own, it crumbled. He did a great job running Soup'r'Crackers, but Soup'r'Crackers went bankrupt in the recession and then the whole thing just disappeared under him. So we spend the first half of the season dragging on through this deep existential crisis as he's basically stripped of everything that once gave his life meaning. Seeing him rebuild and seeing him as an underling to Henry, who really has zero interest in bossing people around. That was kind of fun for us, because we are so used to Ron in season one as the eternal boss. We flip that around, so all of a sudden he is the annoying new guy instead of the boss. It gave us a lot of new stuff to work with.
How did you select Megan Mullally to play the new character?
We came to Megan in a roundabout way, because we knew very early on we were losing Jane Lynch—she was already on Glee; we were just trying keep her for as long as possible. And we knew we didn't want to replace Jane's character—we wanted something new. We spent a long time thinking about what other types of people would do this catering stuff, and one idea was a stage-mother character. And then randomly, when we were actually looking for someone for season two, it just came through the grapevine that Megan was a fan of the show and she was looking into doing something, and it seemed like she would be a perfect fit for this character. We were very surprised. We heard a rumor that she liked the show and chasing that thread down led to having Megan in the cast.
How did you decide that Megan's character would be this very chipper, very awkward person who imposes herself on Casey?
We loved the type of energy that Jane brought to the squad. Jane's character, Constance, had a very up and sunny approach to life that we didn't want to lose in the show. That's one of the things that we were very excited about Megan's character, Lydia: She could bring a different version of positive energy to the team—without which, I think, we would lurch into this uncomfortable darkness.
What do you most want fans to know about the show this season?
We did everything we could! We're very proud about the second season, and we are very eager to keep it going. We mostly want them to watch the show!
Can we get some testimony in the comments about Party Down's virtues from existing fans? Love letters to Adam Scott are also welcome.
Follow Kristin Dos Santos on Twitter, @kristinalert.