Like Freaks and Geeks and My So-Called Life, Party Down is one of those shows too few people watched to keep it on the air, but which has blossomed into an unstoppable cult hit. The Starz comedy, about disgruntled staffers at a Los Angeles catering company, made it two seasons but only netted 20 episodes total. Ever since its cancellation in 2010, there’s been talk of a revival — a movie, another season, something to keep the party going. And now, nearly a dozen years later and half a year after it was officially put in motion, it’s finally getting one — with one major caveat.
As per Deadline, the Party Down revival is a go on its original channel, with six of its original cat members returning: Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Martin Starr, Ryan Hansen, Jane Lynch, and Megan Mullally. But there’s one big omission: Lizzy Caplan, who played struggling comedian/actress Casey Klein. The reason? Unlike her Party Down character, she has a pretty booked schedule. On top of nabbing the Glen Close role in Paramount+’s Fatal Attraction TV reboot, she just nabbed the lead in Fleishman Is in Trouble, Hulu’s take on Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s New York Times bestseller.
Good for Lizzy Caplan! But not so good for the Party Down revival. Though it was an ensemble show, without a single weak link (and scores of scene-stealing guests), the heart of the show was the on-again-off-again relationship between Kaplan’s Casey and Scott’s Henry Pollard, the sadsack semi-retired actor with whom she clicked.
There’s another major cast member who’s also AWOL: Jennifer Coolidge, who appeared in two episodes at the back-end of Season 1, after Lynch departed. (Mullally wound up taking up that space full-time in Season 2, ensuring that there were always six Party Downers, including Marino’s bumbling team leader Ron Donald.)
The Starz revival will only feature six episodes, and presumably it will retain the original structure: Each episode is set at a different function, for which the Party Down team has been hired. Previous outings included a shady investors dinner, a porn awards after-party, a funeral, an orgy, and Steve Guttenberg’s birthday party.
Even with the Caplan (and Coolidge) news, an almost-complete Party Down reunion is still quite the feat. The actors have gone onto fruitful careers, and getting even most of them back for a short period of time was so tricky it took over a decade. And what’s a reunion if it isn’t bittersweet?