May 23, 2024

Brighton Journal

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‘Party Down’ You get it: Food service is not a party

‘Party Down’ You get it: Food service is not a party

“Do you know what I wish I could buy?” He says. “This! Being you guys. A real gentleman with a normal job.”

Henry, who implies that his chauffeur will take the star to a fancy hotel room to party with several women after the event, finds it hard to believe. But Jackal Onassis, outside of his theatrical make-up, completely disguised in a white shirt and pink tie, loves to play the role of waiter in the evenings at his own party. He enjoys being cursed at by a guest, and later, even enjoys being fired.

It’s painful for Henry to see work he already resents treated like a fun little game, but the show is especially great at drawing out the short, intense tensions and alliances that can form over the course of one night between workers and guests. Caterers have a bad habit of getting involved, giving a 16-year-old a pep talk when her friends aren’t coming to her party, or trying to walk into a very drunk and confused guest’s house.

When the new season begins, years have passed and the characters have aged, but they continue to reassure themselves, and each other, that their misery is temporary: their real job and real life are just around the corner.

or they? Party Down just doesn’t seem to believe in the vague Hollywood dream of “making it happen.” The show is more concerned with the sweetness, meaning, and unexpected friendship that can come from all the time that isn’t supposed to count, moment to moment, day to day, year to year, before some imagined big break.

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Most of the show’s scenes take place in the liminal spaces of the clients’ homes and venues – back kitchens, garages, tents, driveways, and more. The comedy unfolds as the characters cut limes and empty plates and silverware, light bonfires to scorch dishes, put final decorations on snacks, or pack up the truck and smash the bar.