A funny show you are probably not watching: Party Down on Starz

Multiple executive producers, including Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and movie star Paul Rudd bring us Starz's Party Down, a comedy about a Los Angeles-based catering company. Each episode centers around a different catered event, and, as it probably is in real life, the company is staffed by aspiring Hollywood types - writers, actors, and comedians.

The show is tonally similar to two celebrated comedies: The Office and NewsRadio. It's presented as a signle-camera documentary (though mercifully lacking in "talking head" segments). The caterers' boss is a clueless optimist named Ron Donald (Ken Marino from MTV's The State), who is probably as lacking in self-awareness as David Brent or Michael Scott, but he also channels his energy into a state of relentless positivity, thinking that if he can just smile his way through any fiasco, he'll still get a positive review from the client. Jane Lynch (recognizable from Best in Show and A Mighty Wind) plays Constance, a failed actress who nonetheless tells stories as though she's a grizzled veteran. Martin "Bill Haverchuck" Starr plays Roman, a screenwriter convinced that he's smarter than everyone else in Los Angeles and that that - and not the fact that the only screenplay of his ("Terror Bird") we've seen so far sounds like a future Sci Fi channel original movie - is what's holding him back from success. Kyle (VM's Ryan Hansen) is an airheaded aspiring actor clearly hoping to land a gig on some OC-esque soap opera. And Casey (Lizzy Caplan, doing her best Zooey Deschanel) is a young stand-up comic whose husband keeps trying to convince her to leave LA and join him in Vermont.

Our point-of-view character is Henry (Adam Scott, Will Ferrell's douche brother in Step Brothers), a washed-out actor with no desire to get back into the business. He's not a relentless wisecracker, rather he's just so uninterested in everything happening around him that everyone else looks even more insane by comparison. When the caterers work a Young Republican function, a group of Reagan-worshipers hear him mention he's quit acting and immediately tell him to reconsider: "what if Reagan had quit?" Henry's response is immediate: "Acting? I thought he did. That's where I got the idea." It's funny stuff.

Starz has a long way to go, obviously, before their original programming will compete with the output of Showtime, let alone HBO. But Party Down is something. Bonus: even if you don't get the channel, you can watch the first two episodes online through Netflix's watch instantly feature. 

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