PARTY DOWN “Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen”: The Jim Crow Soup and Salad

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Ah, there you are. After last week’s misstep, Party Down bounces back with what might be their best episode yet, centered around the kind of spoiled-kid birthday party typically featured on MTV shows. Dressed in pink ties with Ts bedazzled on them, our catering crew is responsible for creating a fantasy world where, as Ron describes it, “every boy is a player and every girl is a bitch.” That’s not really a problem.

This week’s Veronica Mars alum, Joey Lauren Adams (“We’re burning daylight, people!”), is joined by Breckin Meyer as a successful actor who used to take classes with Henry and by a typically brilliant JK Simmons, an abrasive producer who is annoyed he’s spending six figures trying to buy one smile from his daughter. Party Down‘s bottom-dwelling ethos gets a workout here as Casey overrules Constance’s popularity advice to persuade the birthday girl to enjoy her loyal, geeky friends who have actually shown up to the disastrous party, leading to the genuine smile her father so desparately wants…only to have said birthday girl stalk off with the nasty popular kids when they deign to arrive. In similar fashion, Ron’s suggestion of a Soup Or Crackers in East LA is shot down just as surely as the geeky kids’ dreams, as is the proposal that either Henry (via his friend’s connections) or Kyle (via sleeping with the producer’s wife) play a vampire-hunting Abraham Lincoln in the producer’s new hit. It’s hard to imagine that any of our intrepid catering staff is going to escape the pink ties and “gay Secret Service” jackets when everything they strive toward backfires. Kyle can’t even bleach his teeth without creating disaster (Ryan Hansen shows previously untapped physical comedy skills while writhing in pain)–Comedy Central deals, primetime soaps, action scripts, Young Abraham Lincoln, and Soup Or Crackers franchises just aren’t going to happen. And thank goodness–if these people succeeded, who would we have to propose uncomfortably racist restaurant names or do awkward 80s dances at sixteen-year-olds’ parties? Long may they fail.

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