Party Down, “Party Down Company Picnic”

A few weeks ago, the Party Down crew chilled with Steve Guttenberg in a reveal episode that was certainly a change of pace for the series. When I saw that this week’s effort would have the team not actually working at all, I had high hopes that it would be like Party Down’s time with Guttenberg. Although there are some subtler moments here, “Party Down Company Picnic” is ultimately a typically zany half-hour. Not that that’s a horrible thing.

The episode brought back Kristen Bell’s Uda to drum up the drama between she, Henry and Casey. And much like they did in the Guttenberg episode, Henry and Casey talk honestly about their feelings for one another instead of just jumping into sarcastic quips and making out. Casey’s obviously ready to blast back to the past with Henry, but just as he’s thinking of doing the same, Uda informs him of a possible job offer that would officially make Party Down a career. Casey’s appalled that Henry’s ready to settle down and in the end, so is he. This is a series about the conflict between dreams and reality and just as Henry is committed to accepting his reality, he snaps out of it.

Despite that character heft, the rest of the episode included a lot of fun moments. Casey surprisingly had something else to do away from Henry, which was become randomly competitive and take down the guy who usually dominates all the picnic competitions. Although the whole thing was completely random, it was nice to see another side of Casey. Meanwhile, Ron kisses another woman this week, a woman who just happens to be the daughter of the Party Down boss. After she hits him with a horseshoe. Then he gets whopped in the testicles with a kickball. And in the end, he gets his team leader job back — without the benefits or pay raise. So all in all, good week for Mr. Donald.

Kyle and Lydia battled one another for the control of Escapade’s soul, which allowed Lydia to seem more connected to the main narrative and put a face to the daughter character we’ve heard her blow off about all season. Plus, despite his general stupidity, Kyle does know the business perhaps more than anyone else on the staff, so it was great to see him give legitimate — if not depressing — lessons to Escapade on how to be famous, including wearing $1,000 outfits that look casual and which clubs to visit on which nights of the week (which is even more funny when told to a 13-year old).

Finally, gotta love the Party Down vs. Valhalla kickball match, which involved the right mix of physical comedy and dialogue. Really, there isn’t enough kickball on my television, I could watch comedic characters play kickball for at least an hour a week.

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