Sunday, April 18, 2010

Party Down: screwed-up rich people and the ordinary Joes who want to be like them

I watched the first season of Party Down on Netflix instant viewing. I think Netflix is awesome.

Adam Scott and Megan Mullally in "Party Down."

Apr 17, 2010
"Party Down": The best comedy you haven't heard of
Waiters follow their creative dreams to a life of drudgery, while Megan Mullally channels Sarah Palin, brilliantly
By Heather Havrilesky

Is it shameful to have dreams that might not come true? Most of us keep our dreams hidden, safe from the public's contempt. Why expose yourself and risk being called a dreamer, just another writer who boldly sends his manuscript to a publisher only to get a reject slip back in the mail, or a singer who shows up to the "American Idol" audition, only to have Simon Cowell tell her she's pathetic and untalented and she should go back to flipping burgers? (Easy enough to instruct others to stick to hard labor when you get paid to smirk and roll your eyes all day.)

But then you have the Susan Boyles and the Justin Biebers of the world, tipping the scales in the other direction, giving you hope that your dream might just come true one day. You just have to believe in it with all of your heart!

But are you just deluded?...

This is the driving question at the heart of Starz's "Party Down" (premieres 10 p.m. Friday, April 23), a brilliant half-hour comedy inhabited by creative types — actors and writers — working for a catering company in Los Angeles. The dilemma of the day job — do I keep myself afloat with this meaningless toil, or do I follow my dreams to bankruptcy and beyond? — looms ever present here.

..."Party Down" looks beyond the black-and-white messages our culture sends us about dreams and the creative life and success and failure, to show us the gray area in between. Even though we assume that the acclaimed novelist is automatically happy while the unknown, unpublished novelist is a depressed loser who's wasting his time, success brings far less of a guarantee of happiness than does an enjoyment of the work itself.

The dream may be beside the point entirely. If you enjoy the process and improve and learn every day, then success or failure is a footnote in your story. Likewise, if you're distracted by the spoils, if you're transfixed by a notion of "arriving" or being "done" with work — if you desire the ends more than the means, in other words — you may be dooming yourself to failure...

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