Criminally overlooked in the UK so far, 'Party Down' is one of the funniest shows to come out of America in recent years. The show centers around the 'Party Down' catering team, as they work a series of events from pornographic awards ceremonies, to bitchy sweet sixteen parties, and perhaps most memorably, the party of a shady Eastern European criminal acquitted for murder, in a brilliant cameo from Steven Weber. The show is excellently written, full of witty one liners, awkwardly hilarious scenarios (mostly at the expense of Ken Marino's scattershot, but lovable 'team leader' Ron Donald), and comedic revelations. Perhaps the best facet of Season 1 though, is the superbly wrought romance between the beautiful Lizzy Kaplan's (Tru Calling) sarcastic but sweet Casey, and the show's protagonist, Henry. The mixture of funny and genuinely moving moments in the show is a pretty perfect one, and means that 'Party Down' never lacks either laughs, or a bit of heart to counterbalance them.
There are a few fallbacks to the show, however. The characters take a few episodes to become multi-dimensional, and it takes a while for Ron Donald (and his dream of opening a 'Super Crackers' franchise) to get going. That said, the opening episodes are still good fun, and well worth watching. Secondly, and more notably - the show was clearly rushing to replace the departing Jane Lynch, and her replacement, Jennifer Coolidge, is woeful as the irritating Bobbie; though thankfully a drunken Ron in his underpants more than makes up for her dreadful turn in the season finale. On the whole, 'Party Down' is an intelliigent, funny, and likeably low-key comedy which will appeal particularly to fans of shows like 'The Office (US)' and 'Arrested Development'; and despite a few misfires along the way, contains some of the best characters and most quotable dialogue of any recent US comedy series'.