TCA Tour, Jan. 2009: “Party Down”

Ever since the demise of “Veronica Mars,” I think most die-hard Rob Thomas fans have been following the development of his remake of “Cupid” for ABC, but he’s got another new series in the works as well, as this one – “Party Down,” which focuses on the lives of a bunch of “cater-waiters” who came to L.A. in search of careers in the entertainment industry and haven’t gotten very far with their dreams – has actually been in the works for more than five years.

“When the original British ‘Office’ started airing on BBC America, Dan (Etheridge) and John (Enbom) and I and Paul Rudd started gathering each week to watch the show and just became very intrigued about the tone of the show,” said Thomas. “And we started talking about wanting to write something that had a similar comedic tone, and we decided if that show was about people who had given themselves over entirely to the rat race that it would be interesting if we took our stab at people who had perhaps chased the dream for too long, people who had refused to join the rat race. And so we came up with this idea about a show about cater-waiters in Los Angeles, people who came here to make it as actors, writers, musicians, comedians and find themselves in their mid-30s and perhaps, uh, having chased the dream for too long.”

Thomas likens “Party Down” to “Taxi,” in that “you start off following the ongoing lives of these characters who are doing some other job while pursuing the thing they really want to do. Each week, we take an opportunity to lampoon some facet of society, some different party idea. So each episode is one catered event, and these range from a senior singles mixer to a mobster-release-from-prison party to a super sweet 16 to an adult video awards after party, each one sort of giving us a unique group of people that we can have our characters interact with.”

Cast members Jane Lynch and Lizzy Caplan have at least a little bit of first-hand experience in the show’s subject matter; Lynch did some time as a waitress in Chicago, while Caplan catered a few premiere parties. (Adam Scott, meanwhile, claims to have never worked a day in his life.)

“It was interesting, because the whole experience made me so angry,” said Caplan. “Like, having to go around and serve these people because I was so convinced that, like, ‘It should be me. You should be serving me.’ You’re positive that you can do it better than anything you’re seeing on any screen. There’s nobody really cockier than the unemployed actor.”

“Party Down” premieres on Starz in March 2009.

  

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