Friday, February 4, 2011

Most actors aren't bright, so it has to be simple

Styling tip of the day: an uber-boring outfit can be magically transformed into a pretty decent outfit with a skinny belt and turban-style scarf. Also, laying a pocket tank top over a plain black top, even though they are the same color, adds interest and feels a bit like wearing a sweater vest.

Last night Joe and I finished watching the last episode of Party Down on Netflix. The entire show run is two seasons, only twenty episodes total. I'm not sure whether to lament this tragedy, since it's one of the best television comedies I've ever seen, or rejoice that it's brevity will forever ensure it never falls victim to the oh-so-tragic and very common fate of most great tv shows: a sharp downturn in quality that sets in after a few seasons, forever sullying its legacy (ahem *The Office* cough cough). Since Party Down aired on Starz, it's full of swearing, sex, drug use and occasional nudity, and it's tone is decidedly darker than network shows.  The cast is mostly pitch-perfect, not a single throwaway character in the bunch. Adam Scott plays the has-been actor main character, returning to his former job working for a catering company called Party Down. According to his IMDB, he has never been in a bad movie or tv show ever, is overall awesome, and in my opinion has been killing it on Parks and Recreation since he joined at the end of last season. So has Rob Lowe, for that matter, but that's another subject for another post. 

Scott's "love interest" is played by Lizzy Caplan. She looks a bit like Katy Perry with less makeup in a white button-up and pink bow tie, and has the mannerisms and delivery of a less monotone Aubrey Plaza. There is almost a slight masculinity to her character, in the sense that she rarely plays the typical victim-of-love tripe female sitcom leads are handed. She playfully emasculates Adam Scott's character in and outside of their romantic relationship. Finally, a couple that can dish out and take each other's sarcasm and can interact at a level beyond lovey-dovey/overdone happiness or fighting/annoyance with each other. Caplan's character, Casey, is an acerbic, dry, unapologetic aspiring comedian, and it's lovely to see that not only does she keep every one of these traits once entering a romantic relationship, but that Henry (Scott) would have it no other way. 

Of course, I'm only scratching the surface here of what's great about the show, since I've only discussed two characters. Jane Lynch is brillant as ever during season one, but shockingly the show doesn't suffer from her departure at the end of ten episodes. I was initially skeptical of Megan Mullaly as her "replacement," but within a couple of episodes I was converted. And as for the short 20 episode show run, in the end I am grateful for it. I wish networks would start considering cutting off their series after two or three seasons, getting out before the writing gets stale or the characters become sad caricatures of their former selves (cough *The Office* cough cough). In fact, it would be nice to see some shows that are conceived and carried out with a specific story arc that only lasts two or three seasons. So many of the complex, Lost-style shows that are constantly under pressure to reveal new, shocking twists could avoid becoming tangled, ridiculous messes by limiting them selves to, say, four years max. J.J. Abrams is especially guilty of carrying on too long and losing his initial momentum (see: Alias and, too a certain extent, Lost). Heroes, created by Tim Kring, had me hooked until about the end of season two, then became a joke. If only these shows had been mapped out fully,  beginning to end, executed according to plan, and finished no matter how high the ratings and great the buzz, they could have been nearly flawless. But as seasons pass and time has to be filled, plots, characters and storylines get increasingly unwieldy and bizarre. Characters die and come back to life, sometimes more than once. Writers resort to cheap gimmiks and bait-and-switch in an effort to regain shock factor.

Sorry if this is rambling or uninteresting to any of you, but I am great lover and critic of television, and sometimes I get a bit carried away by my opinions. What tv shows do you love/recommend? Any underrated gems that were cancelled too early? I'm becoming quite the connoisseur, I don't think there's much our there I haven't seen or at least heard of.

Express top, Miley Cyrus for Walmart tank top, Old Navy pants, mom's old belt, Kensie girl heels from Macy's, vintage scarf and rings


  1. Oh my goodness, I agree!! Heros was dead to me by the end of season 2, which was sad because I really loved it. It just become too ridiculous. Get out while the gettin' is good!

  2. I really wish Firefly and Freaks and Geeks lasted more than their one season. Both were great shows.

  3. Heroes did become ridiculous, only the first season was good. Lost also kept on going for WAY too long. My interest is peaked after your review!

    And I love the headscarf :)