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Starz’s cult comedy Party Down finally returned to screens with the premiere of its highly anticipated third season. But when the season opener kicked off, the catering crew was short one sizable leading character.
While actress Lizzy Caplan’s absence wasn’t a surprise (scheduling conflicts with FX’s Fleishman Is in Trouble and Paramount+’s upcoming Fatal Attraction prevented her from taking part), it did leave the question of how the series would write off the show’s aspiring and struggling actress/comedian Casey Klein. Just minutes into the premiere, Ron mentions how a twist of fate can change everything, including Casey’s booking of a coveted SNL hosting gig 10 years ago.
Later in the episode as Henry’s drinking at a party to celebrate Kyle’s big break (more on that below), we see Casey on TV on an Access Hollywood-type of show. She’s a big celebrity now, and rumors are swirling about whether she’s dating her hot new costar. So while she may be MIA from Party Down catering, things are definitely cooking for her. But if you ask Roman, “Casey made it big doing quips and zingers on some dumb show for boomer fascists.” He adds: “You make it big in this cultural void, it only proves you suck on some level.” Bleak, man.
The show’s producers had started to work out what to do with the Casey/Henry storyline before they caught wind that Caplan wouldn’t be able to return.
“It was a blow, absolutely,” co-creator and executive producer John Enbom tells TVLine. “We were saddened, but not surprised. We love Lizzy, we love that character, we love the Henry and Casey relationship, so we were very excited to pick up and see what we could do with that.”
Regardless, Enbom says they were “very lucky in that we found this little window where we could get as many people as we did. Then literally, it was like, ‘If we’re not done by [a specific date], everyone’s gone!’ [The actors] got too famous, so that’s unfortunate for us, but we were happy we were able to get in as much as we did.”
So what became of the rest of the crew? Let’s run it down.
* Ron is excited to take over the catering business as its owner, so he can start doing things his way. But in true Party Down fashion, a hiccup in his financing almost throws his plans down the drain. That is, until, the widowed Constance, who came into loads of cash after becoming a widow, steps in with a loan to help him out. (Though she’s confused at how “10 grand” does not actually mean “10 million,” which may explain the recent financial discrepancies she’s been having.)
* Roman is still working at Party Down catering. While not ideal, he’s comfortable with it, knowing that he hasn’t yet reached his intellectual peak.
* Lydia is booked and busy as her daughter Escapade’s full-time manager, while Henry is finding his purpose as a high school English teacher.
* As previously mentioned, Kyle has booked a job as the latest leading superhero, giving us our Episode 1 title name: “Kyle Bradway Is Nitromancer.” However, when an old video of his band resurfaces, an angry Twitter mob misinterprets the lyrics and brands him as a nazi. By the end of the episode, the role is sadly recasted. (But hey, we know where he can get a job!)
* The episode also introduces us to Evie (Alias‘ Jennifer Garner), a successful producer of franchise movies who is reevaluating her life and career; Lucy (The Afterparty‘s Zoë Chao), an aspiring celebrity chef who’s more focused on art than feeding people; and Sackson (Brockmire‘s Tyrel Jackson Williams), a social media influencer looking for fame on the internet.
So tell us: Are we having fun yet?! Grade the episode below, then fire away in the comments.
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