When Party Down premiered on Starz in March 2009, it barely made a blip. Despite a cast of comedy all-stars like Jane Lynch, Ken Marino, Adam Scott, and Martin Starr, and a production team including film star Paul Rudd and Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas, the show—about an incompetent catering service in Los Angeles—ran under the radar for its entire first season. A cult following discovered the series via the Internet and Netflix, and enough buzz began that TV critics and entertainment blogs began to take notice, earning the first season of the series a nod as one of the best television programs of 2009 from the American Film Institute alongside Mad Men, Friday Night Lights, and Modern Family. Combining shades of Christopher Guest's mockumentaries, Judd Apatow's slacker heroes, and the painful reality-based humor of The Office, Party Down was textbook cutting-edge comedy. (Marino also got hit in the nuts a lot.) But devoted viewers and critical acclaim weren't enough to keep the show alive—it was canceled after only the second season.
Now, for the first time—and for no reason except that the show was really good and we miss it, so we asked them to do it—the entire core cast and creative team tell the behind-the-scenes story of the creation and cancellation of Party Down.
ROB THOMAS, creator: I had this ex-girlfriend who told me I needed to watch this British series, and I finally got around to watching it just so I could tell her I did. It was the British version of The Office. And you know, that first scene where Ricky Gervais is hiring a forklift operator—it's just one shot on his face, and he gives this monologue, and by the end of it, my jaw was on the floor. It changed everything I had thought about television comedy. So I started calling my friends over, because I wanted someone to tell me that I wasn't crazy and this was the greatest TV show that had ever been done. The guys I called over were the guys who ended up doing Party Down: Dan Etheridge and John Enbom and Paul Rudd.
DAN ETHERIDGE, creator: John wrote his first screenplay for my USC thesis, which was, we both agree, ghastly. Rob and I randomly met his first night in L.A., I introduced Rob to John, and over time, a shared sense of humor brought us all to be friends.
ROB THOMAS: My first night in town I met Dan at a party and just started bumping into him around town. I think we officially decided we were kindred spirits when we were both at, like, a Tuesday-afternoon matinee of Galaxy Quest, stoned.
DAN ETHERIDGE: I produced Overnight Delivery with Paul in '96, and that's where he and I got to be pals. And unbeknownst to me, Paul and Adam happened to run into Rob in a bar in Austin.
ROB THOMAS: Thirteen years ago, my girlfriend and I went down to the worst Irish pub in Austin because a friend tended bar and we could get free drinks on the sly. My friend was talking to these guys, and I thought, "God, I recognize that guy. Oh, that's the guy from Clueless!"
ADAM SCOTT, Henry Pollard: We all just started hanging out and drinking and then went back to Rob's house and watched Space Ghost Coast to Coast. We became fast friends. Rob was a schoolteacher then, and, like, a year later he moved to L.A. and immediately became super-successful. I was still scrounging up guest spots on Walker, Texas Ranger.
ROB THOMAS: So we got in this habit: Each week everyone would come over to my place and we'd watch the previous week's episode of The Office and then watch the current one. We started riffing. If we were to do a show like this, what would it be?
PAUL RUDD, creator: One of the very first ideas was, what happens to the "Can you hear me now?" guy when that campaign dries up? What do you do if you're 30 years old and you can't get a job, or don't even know if you want to do that anymore?
ROB THOMAS: If The Office is a show about people who have really given themselves over to the rat race, let's do a show about people who've chased the dream for far too long.
JOHN ENBOM, creator/show runner: Rob had this idea of cater waiters. Every episode is a different party. It's totally simple, but it made sense.
ROB THOMAS: Paul is actually the only one who has worked in the business. He worked as an emcee doing bar mitzvahs. My life previous to L.A. had been the life of an Austin musician: Somebody gets a keg of Shiner Bock and puts it in the back yard.
JOHN ENBOM: I temped a lot, these just anonymous, blank jobs where you don't even really interact much. So, in that sense, the catering actually seems exciting.
DAN ETHERIDGE: I have indexed books, I have delivered pizza. There's very little I haven't done except whoring myself, and that was on the table. I just didn't think I could actually make a living that way.
ROB THOMAS: We initially sold Party Down to HBO, and at that time Paul was going to star in the Henry role. He was shooting Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and talking to Steve Carell about playing Ron Donald. And then we ended up turning in this outline to HBO, and we had one of those tragic meetings where you can tell that the two entities are on entirely separate pages. The first word out of the HBO executive's mouth was, "We know outlines really aren't supposed to be funny . . ." So we parted ways.
DAN ETHERIDGE: It was fairly deflating.
In 2004, Rob Thomas sold a high-school-set detective series he'd created called Veronica Mars to UPN and brought John Enbom and Dan Etheridge on board to write and produce. Paul Rudd, meanwhile, was off shooting movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. Party Down was put on a shelf. Then in 2007, Thomas was given notice that the third season of Veronica Mars would be its last.
ROB THOMAS: They reduced our order by a couple of episodes and there was, like, a [free] month in our schedule. We thought, "Well, the Veronica Mars crew is available, and we're available—let's go ahead and shoot a Party Down pilot in my living room."
JOHN ENBOM: Our impulse came out of a desire to put tone and character out there for everybody to see. There's a version of Party Down that's sitcomy or whatever. And then there's the version we had hoped to do. We finally decided to just shoot one ourselves so we could at least answer that question for people.
DAN ETHERIDGE: That was one of the happier shooting experiences of my life. First of all, it's got to be noted Rob wrote the not-insubstantial check to fund that pilot. And that was really ballsy. Because nobody makes money on an indie pilot. That could literally just be lighting your money on fire. And, you know, we used so many favors from so many terrific people. This hand-picked awesome cast just stepped into the roles. Obviously this wasn't a thing where we had trailers. It was just the actors sitting around in the bedroom waiting to come out.
With Paul Rudd busy filming movies (and Steve Carell starring in the American version of The Office), the producers pulled from friends and former Veronica Mars players to fill out the Party Down pilot cast. Adam came on as Henry, the former commercial-catchphrase star at the center of the show; Ken Marino (The State) stepped in as Ron Donald, the hapless catering-team leader; Jane Lynch (Glee) agreed to play cheerfully deluded actress Constance Carmell; and Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars' Dick Casablancas) had the blond good looks perfect for up-and-coming schmactor Kyle Bradway. Dog Bites Man's Andrea Savage played struggling comedian Casey Klein.
ROB THOMAS: I had stayed friends with Adam since we originally met, and when it became clear that Paul wasn't going to be playing Henry in our show, all four of us thought that Adam was perfect.
ADAM SCOTT: I had just finished shooting Tell Me You Love Me, this HBO show, so I was like, "Well, yeah, I'd love to do this, but I can't really do another show." They were like, "We're just doing it in our back yard. It's not for a network or anything. So you can just do it, and if your show gets canceled, maybe . . ." I was like, "Yeah, whatever. Tell Me You Love Me is gonna be huge, it'll never be canceled. I'll just do this and nothing will ever come of it." I thought it would be a chance to see if I could be funny.
PAUL RUDD: We all kind of thought he wouldn't want to do it. So when he said, "Yeah, sure," we kind of thought he was just being a friend. They were all being friends, I think. Same with Ken.
KEN MARINO, Ron Donald: Ron is pathetic, but he's a guy who means well and tries really hard. He just has this terrible, terrible black cloud over his head. He's his own worst enemy. It just seemed like a fun part to play, and in my head I had a take on him. When I showed up to shoot, I was like, "I see this guy with, like, a military crew cut." They were nice enough to humor me. Because to me that really informed who that guy was.
ROB THOMAS: We all had an idea for the Constance character, and it's the Constance character that you saw in the series. But when Jane came in, she's there working on this back-yard project for $100 a day, and it's Jane Lynch, but she's doing, like, a harder-edged take on the character. We kind of wanted daffy, but none of the three of us had the nerve to go give Jane direction. And then finally, somewhere in the middle, she actually came to us and said, "Am I on the right track?" She sort of invited us to say, "Well, actually . . ."
JANE LYNCH, Constance Carmell: [laughs] I knew nothing about that. You know, when someone asks me to do something, they're kind of asking me to do what is my brand. And my brand is being mean and in control and insulting and inappropriately sexual. Constance is rather innocent and doesn't have a mean bone in her body—except when she's defending her fantasy, she might get a little upset. You don't want to get Constance upset. But she wasn't dangerous. You weren't afraid of her.
ROB THOMAS: Instead of taking the script around, we ended up showing the pilot everywhere. I guess we didn't show it at HBO—we felt pretty sure it wasn't going to happen there. We got really good responses, but we didn't get any takers. And then one of my agents said, "Starz wants to get into comedy, and they've got an original comedy and they're looking for a companion piece. This could be up their alley." And so we sent them the disc and they bought it.
In 2008, at least five years after its birth, Party Down finally had a shot on Starz, a channel located in the distant reaches of the premium-cable solar system. The network wanted to launch the series in early 2009. The timing was less than perfect.
ROB THOMAS: This happened to be this one golden moment in my career where I had three other pilots picked up: two at ABC [Cupid and Good Behavior] and [the CW remake of Beverly Hills] 90210. I didn't think I could do all these projects.
JOHN ENBOM: I was the writer and show runner for the most part. When they picked up the show, Dan and Rob were off doing Cupid. I was working on The Sarah Connor Chronicles. We basically had this conversation where they were like, "We have this offer from Starz. The only way we can do it is if you sort of daintily step away from your current day job and do it." The good thing was, we'd spent so much time over the years fiddling with this show, it's not like somebody just tapped you on the shoulder and said, "Okay, come up with a whole new show right now!" We were ready to jump in, and when they gave us the opportunity, that's what we did.
PAUL RUDD: John was the hero of that show.
To direct, the team hired former Wonder Years star Fred Savage, who'd been helming episodes of FX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Bryan Gordon, a veteran director with experience on Freaks and Geeks, The Office, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. They also began reassembling the cast from the pilot, starting with Adam Scott and Ken Marino.
FRED SAVAGE, director: They had given me that pilot that they shot in Rob's back yard, which was a bit of a Frankenstein's monster. The tone of the script was definitely there, but the look of the show was a little all over the place. There was one moment in the pilot where the woman who was throwing the party gave Casey a video camera and said, "Would you just document the party?" To me that was the funniest part of the whole piece, 45 seconds of this handheld camera, where you kind of caught people unawares. [I thought] that's what the whole show should be.
DAN ETHERIDGE: We started the show in a difficult place: Henry had bottomed out, and bottomed out in a very static way. We were worried about that. It took a lot of work over time from a story standpoint to not have that be a negative. I think the writing helped get it there, and it's really Adam who does passivity more interestingly than any other actor I know.
ADAM SCOTT: I got really stuck on it around the middle of Season 1. How do you play a character who has dedicated his life to doing nothing and has retired from ambition?
KEN MARINO: Ron, in his fucked-up way, was sort of looking out for Henry. Ron considers Henry a pretty good friend. And I think Henry sees how damaged Ron is, and he's always trying to take care of him. There's a work bond and an old friendship bond. Henry recognizes the flaws of Ron but can't help himself from being there when he absolutely has to be there. [pause] He lets Ron stand in the shit most of the time.
Ryan Hansen and Jane Lynch also returned, with one caveat.
JOHN ENBOM: Jane Lynch had done our little pilot, so we'd gone back to say, "Would you please, please, please do the show now that we've got our opportunity here?" At the time, she was already kind of contracted to do Glee. But they had not yet started shooting, so we worked out an agreement where she would do the show for as long as she was able, until Fox called her up and said, "You're on."
JANE LYNCH: I'd talk to Rob from time to time and he would say, "I'm talking to networks," but then I'd hear nothing else. I thought it was dead and completely forgot about it. Then they called and said, "We're actually shooting 10 [episodes] with the Starz network," and I was like, "Awesome!" And instead of wearing the little black prop ties, we're now wearing pink ties.
FRED SAVAGE: Constance was the most fun, because she was so unaware. She was the one I never worried about. She was okay. She was covering for nothing. She was all just heart and warmth, and I just loved her. And that's exactly who Jane is.
PAUL RUDD: She's just pure positivity and never gives up on this dream and still believes in that kind of genius-speak, stuff you would say when you're 21 years old. She buys into all of it. And there's something so lovely and pure about it. And constant. She was a constant force. That was why she's called that.
JANE LYNCH: She lives in a soft, cotton place. She kind of rewrote history for herself that she had a career. It turns out she was probably a glorified extra. She pretended in her fantasy that Ryan's character, Kyle, was her protege, and she was gonna show him the ropes. And he believed it. You know, he wasn't the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree either. We really enjoyed each other. He was like my long-lost child.
RYAN HANSEN, Kyle Bradway: I get to be a complete idiot, airhead douchebag. But lovable.
FRED SAVAGE: My favorite moment from Ryan was also one of my favorite moments in the original pilot, where he sings along to his own song that plays through his cell phone. He's rocking out like he's on the stage of the Troubadour. It just shows you exactly who Kyle is. There's no self-awareness, there's no embarrassment. Everything is just awesome, and everyone's lucky to be around him and share his enthusiasm.
PAUL RUDD: One of the first things we kept thinking about when we were talking about the Kyle character was how he's just kind of in the handsome business. He's in this band, and he had come up with this song called "My Struggle," all about how tough his struggles were, and we were laughing that he would have no idea that "My Struggle" translates to "Mein Kampf." He wouldn't have any idea what Mein Kampf is. And he would start singing about his situation, about how he's branded a star and put on a midnight train, and all of this Holocaust imagery, and he has no idea. And then the idea of him belting this out in front of a group of elderly Jewish people—we couldn't stop giggling about it, but it never was going to really make it into the show. And then when Jane gets married in "Constance Carmell Wedding," we were able to do it. And I love it.
RYAN HANSEN: I got that it was offensive, but I didn't really get why. So I was like, "John, break this down for me." And he told me and I was like, "Ohhhhhh. Oh my gosh! That's awful!"
Andrea Savage—Casey in the back-yard pilot—was pregnant when Starz bought the show, and a search was launched for her replacement. Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls, True Blood) stepped in.
LIZZY CAPLAN, Casey Klein: I found out about the show probably the weekend before we started shooting. Adam and I have the same agent. And I had never met Adam, but my agent told me about this show he was doing. So I talked to Adam on the phone, and I don't know if he tries to play it cool or whatever, but he can be kind of charmless when he doesn't know you. So I had a pretty awkward monotone conversation with Adam and somehow that convinced me to do the show, even though he really was totally boring on the phone. I was like, "Who is this grumbly kid?" I had no idea.
ADAM SCOTT: We were auditioning lots of people, and so I was like, "What about Lizzy Caplan?" From knowing her work, I thought she and I would have chemistry. But also I knew that if we didn't, she was good enough to pretend that we did and pull it off. And luckily, we actually did, and she didn't have to pretend. Or, you know what? Maybe she was pretending the whole time and I just didn't know it. She's that good.
LIZZY CAPLAN: I thought that he hated me for a really long time. By "for a really long time" I mean like three weeks. I didn't really get his sense of humor at first. He's very dry, like, need a glass of water when you talk to him dry. And then eventually I realized that half the stuff he was doing that I didn't understand was his attempts at being funny.
ROB THOMAS: Originally, we'd imagined Henry and Casey being the same age, mid-thirties. Whereas Henry had given up hope in his career, Casey was supposed to still be dogged and determined. So Lizzy changed the way we perceived it a little, but we felt very good to have her.
The final cast member was Martin Starr, who came on board as Roman DeBeers, a sci-fi geek and aspiring screenwriter whose limited social skills were matched only by his limited talent.
MARTIN STARR, Roman DeBeers: I think my agent said in the breakdown it read, "A Martin Starr type," and they were like, "Fuck it, why don't we just tell them you want to do it?"
ROB THOMAS: I was a huge, huge Freaks and Geeks fan. Martin was exactly what we were looking for for Roman.
MARTIN STARR: Apparently people don't think I can play a winner. People just like watching me lose. Maybe I play it with a certain amount of respect that other people can't.
RYAN HANSEN: I loved the relationship that Kyle and Roman had. They love/hate each other. But they also need each other, because they're going through life together, and they need that camaraderie. And Martin likes to hit me.
MARTIN STARR: I think through his life Roman's always had a nemesis, and Kyle just took the spot because it fit. I don't know why I like that kind of dynamic, but I do.
The cast had more catering experience than the production team, which helped give all the food and drink business a certain level of authenticity.
LIZZY CAPLAN: I remember catering a premiere, and it was horrible, because people don't pay attention to you when you're the caterer. They don't even look at you. They just ask for things and take things, and you're walking around rubbing shoulders with these actors, like, "No, no, no, it should be me, and it will be me in a year, and then all you assholes will feel so bad about not paying attention to me." For the most part, it's boring. I think we kind of nailed the boring aspects of it, but we also got to be involved in what was happening at every party, when in reality you're supposed to just be in the background and not bother anyone.
JANE LYNCH: I didn't go to people's houses, but I did events and I worked in restaurants. I knew how to prep the apps, I knew the lingo. I knew my way around the trays and the glasses and the booze and the food. I wasn't very good at being a waiter, though. I don't deal well with that kind of stress.
MARTIN STARR: Caterers who have seen the show, most of them I find don't like it and don't like me. Maybe it's just me specifically. But some of them just seem to hate me, and I don't know why I seem to get the angry looks.
ADAM SCOTT: I did have a friend of mine who's a bartender show me some stuff the night before we started the series. I got some tips. And they actually did come in handy, because especially in Season 1 I had so much dialogue while I'm making drinks, that if it didn't look like I at least sort of knew how to make a drink, it would just be distracting. And I really had to make those things. I mean, they weren't accurate. It was just pouring things into a cup. But I had to do it without looking like a complete dipshit.
RYAN HANSEN: I think we were supposed to be kind of shitty caterers anyway, so I'm like, "You know what? I'm not going to take that bartending class."
For a show with essentially no budget, the biggest challenge may have been creating a different lavish party atmosphere week in and week out.
FRED SAVAGE: Every week we were in a new location, so you'd walk into a place that clearly wasn't built for filming. We were just this traveling band of gypsies that would load into a place like the circus, cause a ruckus, and then load out four days later.
RYAN HANSEN: The seediest was the Elks Lodge in Van Nuys. That was the Armenian episode ["Celebrate Ricky Sargulesh"]. Pretty gnarly.
KEN MARINO: We shot at some shitholes, but that only brings the cast and crew closer together. Mostly for protection.
BRYAN GORDON, director: We shot these shows in four days. We really had no time. So we were always chasing the clock, always wrangling people to get everybody on board to shoot. The show that was particularly challenging for me was "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen," which we shot on the Queen Mary. The Queen Mary is an ongoing tourist attraction. So we were shooting around tourists.
FRED SAVAGE: That whole porn-awards after-party ["Sin Say Shun Awards Afterparty"] was insane. It was a club that didn't really want us there, and it became like a huge rave at night.
LIZZY CAPLAN: The first day of every episode we had fresh food. Most of the time when we were eating in the prep tent or whatever, that was the first day, because we had the same appetizers all week long, and they would get smellier and colder and grosser.
DAN ETHERIDGE: Strangely, we got away with them not doing a whole lot of work. We had a really good art department, so it wasn't avoiding any issues there. We just didn't have a ton of money for food, so we tried to avoid that as much as possible.
JOHN ENBOM: The best props disaster we had—which I think is going to overshadow any and all props disasters you could ever have on any show—was our adult-video film-awards after-party episode. Our poor props person was carting around all this adult paraphernalia in the back of her car and was in a serious enough traffic accident that she had to be taken to the hospital, and when the cops showed up to check out her car, her trunk was completely full of dildos and sex toys and whatnot. She was in no position to explain what was going on.
Most of all, the team had to figure out what show they were making.
FRED SAVAGE: There's always this concern in network comedies about wanting your protagonist to be likable, and I think there was such a lack of preciousness from John and Dan and Rob. They didn't treat their leads with kid gloves. They weren't afraid to make them look bad.
ROB THOMAS: Landing the tone of the show just right was a challenge. I remember Starz put together a promo reel that first season, and everyone saw it and thought, "Oh my God, it's a disaster—what have I done with my career?" There was a little bit of panic.
DAN ETHERIDGE: I think our first episode is certainly a good episode. It's probably not our best episode, so I don't know that going from indie pilot to the actual first episode we succeeded in upgrading it a couple letter grades. It's no ding on anybody. What I was proud of was that we got very quickly past that. By the time we got to Senior Singles ["Pepper McMasters Singles Seminar"], I thought we were starting to really fire on all cylinders.
ADAM SCOTT: "Senior-licious" is actually the third episode, but we shot it second. I remember palpably, we shot at various Kiwanis Clubs all over Los Angeles, just shooting and hanging out, and we were all like, "I think this might be awesome." That's when Jane and I had the pot-smoking scene in the bathroom, and all this stuff started coming together.
DAN ETHERIDGE: That scene was the kind of scene that we wanted the series to be about. It had a leisurely pace, I think well-motivated by the fact that they were high. Adam and Jane were staggeringly good, and then [guest star] Ed Begley Jr. comes in, and he's staggeringly good. It's a very Party Down scene: Ed and Adam sneak off to smoke a joint, and we get a little bit of Adam's angst about his life, and then Jane joins them, and Ed attempts to rekindle [his affair] with Jane, and then Ken bursts in and we get to explore a little bit of his background, having gone through hell and back of drug addiction. It got out a lot of exposition without feeling like a scene where we were getting out exposition.
ADAM SCOTT: Jane and I just walked in and did the scene without rehearsing or anything. It's not like we rehearsed anyway, but we just kind of went in and found it as we were shooting it. Jane is so hilarious, and that character is so stupid. It's so fucking funny. And then Ken comes in . . .
JANE LYNCH: I love Ken Marino so much. He's one of those people I can barely keep a straight face around. I laugh at everything he does. Ron and Constance had such a sweet little relationship. They really respected each other's stupidity. I remember just looking around and going, "Look at the people I'm working with. I'm in a men's room, I'm smoking this thing . . ." That definitely was my highlight.
FRED SAVAGE: People ask all the time, "Was the show improvised?" And I just take that as a huge compliment to the writing, to the performance, and also to the visual style. Ninety percent of what you're seeing is all scripted. The 10 percent that's improv is some of the best moments.
DAN ETHERIDGE: If we could have left the cameras running more, the show would have just gotten funnier.
LIZZY CAPLAN: You have the Martin school, where he'll just do crazy shit every single take, and if you don't rein him in, I don't even think the show would be in English. And then Adam and I just got to add a bunch of asides, and little uncomfortable pauses, and stutters and all of that. When he and I were together just kind of mumbling, that was my favorite part of playing Casey. It just seemed real to me.
FRED SAVAGE: My most memorable Jane moment was improvised in the first episode, where she spit the cheese into the sink. It was our first day shooting, and the first scene where we had the whole cast together. I was like, "This is killer. These are killer comedians and actors just pushing it."
LIZZY CAPLAN: I'd say by the third episode everybody was really gelling, and then by the fifth episode, everybody was really sad that it was half over.
Eventually, the show's tone settled into a sweet spot somewhere between relatable comedy with emotional depth and truly cringeworthy moments of outlandish humiliation.
ROB THOMAS: When John and Dan were shooting the Season 1 DVD extras, they invented this term in the middle of being interviewed by Starz publicity people: "Crealism." Comedy realism. How far can you push the universe and yet still believe it exists in the real world? Most comedies on prime-time television exist in a comedy universe. I'm an enormous 30 Rock fan, but that is a comedy universe. We tried to keep Party Down in a universe people recognize, because it makes the pain and the humiliation all hurt a little more. It's what made the British Office great. It's a comedy where we're not writing setup-punchline-setup-punchline.
PAUL RUDD: It's a safe way of watching something everyone can relate to. It's, "Oh God, I so know what it's like when you just can't stop talking and nothing you're saying is right but for some reason you just keep talking and making it worse." I think everybody has felt insecure, and awkwardness is great fuel for comedy.
JOHN ENBOM: I know there were certain episodic plot points we considered that we were just like, "All right, that feels . . . too evil." We never wanted the show to be simply cringe-inducing. There is that fine line. We never punished people like we were just putting them through the ringer for our amusement.
ROB THOMAS: We went through this many, many times: How far can we take Ron down? Roman is also fun to lump humiliation upon. Martin is just so good at playing put upon.
MARTIN STARR: It did wear on me, playing someone who was so unhappy. Putting yourself in that kind of headspace for 10 weeks at a time—I think it's difficult reminding yourself that you are happy when you do it. I just became more of a spiteful dick.
KEN MARINO: I don't know what Martin's talking about. He just played himself. Martin would just show up, and say his lines . . . [pauses] Now I'm gonna get in trouble. Can you put in there that I'm teasing Martin? Martin is probably my favorite character on the show. My favorite moment is at the porn awards, when he can't help himself, and he has to correct the porn star that he could have sex with on what's sci-fi and what's fantasy. I just remember you see him thinking about it, and then you're like, "Don't. Don't! Just go and have sex with the porn star!" And he can't help it.
LIZZY CAPLAN: Ken got to do a lot of the great stuff. I think maybe my favorite moment of the whole series is when he's throwing up on the ground in the high-school-reunion episode ["James Rolf High School Twentieth Reunion"]. His whole arc in that episode was just so embarrassing and horrible, and it kind of broke my heart. But that's my favorite kind of television to watch.
DAN ETHERIDGE: Ron ending up in a puddle of his vomit, with [guest star] Molly Parker crying—that episode's not just about no-win, that's episode's about the utter void of the potential for a win. I still laugh at it every time I watch it. It's horrible!
JOHN ENBOM: We had lots of footage of Ken Marino throwing up, and they decided to use all of it, so we had this like four-minute operatic Godfather-esque montage of him vomiting forever, which everybody laughed and laughed at and thought it was hilarious, but then we were just kind of like, "Okay, we're just watching this guy suffer and laughing at him." We didn't censor ourselves but had to feel around a lot to find the right way for that to land.
DAN ETHERIDGE: I was out there that day. If you take a long, hard look at that pool of vomit, it's actually about the size of a kid's wading pool. There's no way that one human being can generate that amount of vomit. We were there, like, "Come on." It almost breaks the scene. But we got through it.
FRED SAVAGE: It was painful to shoot, it was painful to think about, and it's hilarious. I remember when we shot that, Ken got a little emotional, because it was so hard. I also think he almost passed out by pushing so hard to vomit.
KEN MARINO: Yeah. It hurt, actually. Dry heaving like that over and over and over again, violently dry heaving, lying in a puddle of canned soup and dog food . . . I don't know what it was, but they had this pipe coming out of me, and they were just pumping vomit, and I was lying in this kind of cold, soupy, gooey . . . I remember it not smelling good. It was a cold night. It was the end of the night. It was exhausting. I went home and was like, "I feel like somebody beat the shit out of me." So I felt some version of what Ron felt, without the alcohol poisoning. It's one of my favorite episodes.
By all accounts from the cast and crew, Starz was a supportive, hands-off partner and allowed the show to operate without being noted to death. The network pushed for only one thing: adult content.
DAN ETHERIDGE: Let's put it this way: We were asked by the network, and not in an offensive way, to explore premium content, and part of that was some nudity if it was possible. It made us all flinch a little bit. Porn awards ["Sin Say Shun Awards Afterparty"] was born from trying to take that request and figure out a way to do it that will enhance the show. Failed orgy ["Nick DiCintio'sOrgy Night"], similar thing.
LIZZY CAPLAN: It really was Starz pushing for boobs, constantly. They loved boobs. I think it was coming from high up. There were just random boobs flying around in our show sometimes.
DAN ETHERIDGE: Being the gay one of the four, I never see women's breasts. John and Rob and Paul are married, so how many breasts they see in their everyday life, I can't speak to. But yes, there were probably a bit more in the show than normal.
JOHN ENBOM: It's certainly not my experience, but like I said, I haven't been a caterer.
RYAN HANSEN: When you read the script, you're like, "Kyle gets to do a boob test and he squeezes boobs! Oh, dude, that's gonna be so fun to shoot!" And then you do it, and the girls are, like, quivering and about to cry when you like touch their chest, and you're like, "Okay, I'm going to try it now . . ." and they're like [sobbing], "Okaaaay . . ."
Somewhere at the intersection of humiliation and adult content lay the revelation (in "Sin Say Shun Awards Afterparty") that Ron Donald had an enormous penis.
FRED SAVAGE: We had a lot of different dicks on set to choose from, and we would paint them and color them and make them try to look as authentic as possible.
DAN ETHERIDGE: John and Fred spearheaded that effort, and as I recall, it was pretty ornate.
KEN MARINO: It was a dildo I brought from home. No. But I think the smart thing they wanted to do was to talk about it, talk about it, talk about it, not show it, tease that you're not gonna show it . . . and then the last minute you just see a hint of it, being folded back into my pants. I thought they handled that really well. Any more cock would be too much cock.
ROB THOMAS: We got into long discussions about, like, "How long can Ron's penis be when we expose it? What is the believable length of wang? How many frames can we show it?"
DAN ETHERIDGE: It was always our intention that it must be shown, simply because you wouldn't expect it. So I think there was a little bit of extra attention that needed to be paid on our very low-budget show to finding something that, while it would be astoundingly long, it would not utterly break credibility. I think they found the sweet spot. It's right at the outer edge of credibility. We're happy for it to be ideally a small gasp moment that doesn't actually show dick, and then let's all move on.
FRED SAVAGE: That somehow made you root for Ron a little bit. Like, "Oh, that's the one thing he has going for him."
After shooting eight episodes, the other shoe dropped: Jane Lynch was called back to her primary obligations on Glee.
ROB THOMAS: Generally, when I read about it, people think that she left for more money. That's not the case. She actually did the Glee pilot before Party Down. They already had her in a deal.
JANE LYNCH: Of course I was thrilled to do Glee, but I was so sad to leave the show. It was really one of the saddest exits for me, ever. I looked back for the first time in my life.
PAUL RUDD: It's a shame nothing happened with Glee and that she kind of just disappeared into anonymity.
JOHN ENBOM: That's where Jennifer Coolidge came in [as Bobbie St. Brown]. We had these two episodes where we needed somebody to basically fill Jane's shoes, and she did an amazing job. But at the same time, we had never thought of that character, who was conceived somewhat in haste, to be a full on replacement.
For Season 2, Will & Grace's Megan Mullally joined the cast as Lydia, a stage mother who'd recently arrived in L.A. with Escapade, her 13-year-old terror of a daughter.
MEGAN MULLALLY, Lydia Dunfree: My husband and I stumbled upon Party Down's first season, probably five or six episodes in. We were slightly confounded that there was this really great show on Starz. Then a couple months later, I got offered a part for the second season. My manager described it to me as being this kind of good-hearted stage mom. I thought that sounded fun.
ADAM SCOTT: It was challenging, because I think we wanted to fill the slot with someone who was equally out to lunch but didn't want to replicate the character in any way. Megan came in and filled the slot of someone who's a little crazy, but in a wholly unique way. I think if anything, she improved the show. She brought something so weird and funny and sweet that really kind of lifted the whole enterprise.
LIZZY CAPLAN: Their styles of acting are clearly very different. Jane was more relaxed in doing it, I guess, and Megan is much more high energy. But there was something really cool about how different they were, and I love both of them a lot. It was a lateral move that benefited everybody.
MEGAN MULLALLY: They'd had a dinner about two weeks before we started shooting and invited me. But still, going in, I wasn't quite sure—you know how that is, when you've got your little group and a new person comes in. They couldn't have been any more welcoming and supportive. So we shot the first day, and the morning of the second day I was driving to work and I got blindsided in traffic.
JOHN ENBOM: It was our second day of shooting the first episode of the second season ["Jackal Onassis Backstage Party"], and she was supposed to arrive on set at like six in the morning. She wasn't there. And then we heard that she'd been in a car accident. There was a whole frantic period where we were like, "How badly hurt is she?" because we'd heard that she had to go to the hospital.
MEGAN MULLALLY: I broke my wrist. The other person was fine, thank God. I've never had a broken bone, but it wasn't a horrible tragedy or anything. Apparently, when Dan and John got the call that I'd been in a car accident, that's all the information they got. They didn't know if I was, like, dead, or fine, or anything. And then apparently the thought crossed their mind that I was just trying to get out of being on the show and it was all a big ruse.
RYAN HANSEN: I thought it was bullshit. It was the first episode, and they said, "Megan's late," and I'm like, "Oh great." They said, "She got in a car accident," and I'm like, "Yeah, right. Fuckin' diva." And then she comes on set with a freakin' cast and I'm like, "Oh, nice, she had a doctor put a cast on her for a day." And then months later I'm like, "Oh. Guess that was the real deal."
MEGAN MULLALLY: They actually had a pink cast color that was pretty much exactly like our bow ties, so I just got that put on.
JOHN ENBOM: It was a pretty comical introduction to Megan. The grips made her a little arm stand with wheels for takes, and she's sort of standing there with this cast on, and we're like, "We're sorry we're putting you through this!"
MEGAN MULLALLY: It's good trivia. Halfway through the first episode I have two arms on exhibit, and then you know, for half the scenes, like, "Why is the left side of her body behind a wall?"
FRED SAVAGE: The first episode we shot with the cast was the preschool auction ["Precious Lights Pre-School Auction"], and she really goes for these bits. There's a moment where she clinks the glass with her cast. She came up with this whole Saran Wrap moment with her teeth, which was so sad and pathetic. We couldn't have done any of that fun stuff if we were pretending she didn't have a cast. She became a part of the team instantly.
Almost to a person, the cast cites their favorite episode as Season 2's "Steve Guttenberg's Birthday."
ROB THOMAS: One of our favorite times in every season was the two weeks that we'd sit around and talk about the parties. We were sitting around for Season 2, and I was just sort of thinking about people who we could get. Steve did a year on Veronica Mars, and I said, "Steve Guttenberg's birthday party!" I don't hear from him all that often, and that day he sent me an iPhone photo of the Party Down billboard in Times Square and was just like, "Hey, Rob, I just got off the subway and saw this." So we thought the odds are really good we'll get Steve.
BRYAN GORDON: The Goot! I think Steve was willing to be self-deprecating, and that really helped. He was being honest about himself. And it was about creativity!
In the episode, the caterers arrive at the Goot's house to discover that Steve forgot to call and cancel. He invites the group to stay and party with him anyway. The evening culminates in a staged reading of a scene from one of Roman's sci-fi screenplays, featuring Henry, Casey, and Kyle as the actors.
JOHN ENBOM: We'd always had this question of, "Is Henry still a caterer because he's a bad actor, or is it because he's had some bad breaks?" We'd always thought that it was the latter. That had been on our list of things to work in, this glimpse of Henry doing what he does well. So we'd had an idea for a little cold-open, teasery thing in which somebody starts reading from Roman's script. The Guttenberg episode we decided, "Let's expand that idea and turn it into its own thing."
PAUL RUDD: Henry is good. He should be good. You get that [commercial] campaign, and then all of a sudden you're a joke on an I Love the '90s show or something, and it's like, "You know what? That guy can probably do more than what you know him for."
ADAM SCOTT: I have a rule about things you should never try in movies and TV shows, because they never work: If you have a fake rock star singing fake songs that are supposed to be giant hits and that everyone's supposed to love, it never works. Stand-up comedy is another one. Fake movie posters. And fake acting. But I remember we got that script before we started shooting Season 2, and I think Episode 5 was Guttenberg, and we all kind of knew Guttenberg was coming, and this script was such a beautiful piece of work. It was perfect. It was on us to fuck it up.
JOHN ENBOM: We were just so very lucky that we have in Adam a guy who can really rise to that occasion. I think it would be kind of awkward if you're like, "Wow, what an actor!" and the performance was rather clumsy, but Adam is a terrific actor.
LIZZY CAPLAN: He went for it so hard-core, it kinda threw me how committed he was to it. And really unfortunately most of what I remember is when he was screaming on the floor and holding me in his arms, he was just spitting all over my face. It was disgusting.
RYAN HANSEN: The Goot! I loved that episode. I love it so much. We're together for the whole episode, and we honestly just goof around the entire time.
Steve Guttenberg was just one on a long list of familiar-faced guest stars to grace the ever-moving halls of Party Down, thanks to a cast and production team with terrific comedic reputations—and a willingness to call in favors.
ROB THOMAS: Paul had a huge hand in creating the show. When we got to series, he had movie after movie backed up and couldn't be as present, but he was great about sending e-mails and putting in calls to get people to do the show.
PAUL RUDD: We would ask our friends. Most of them would say yes.
DAN ETHERIDGE: We couldn't have been offering lower money, but people would do it! Bryan Gordon reached out to Steven Weber. We didn't know him at all, and I mean, he came so ready to play an Armenian mobster ["Celebrate Ricky Sargulesh"]. I think that's one of the best guest stars of the whole series. We didn't know him, and the guy just came in and just blew us away.
BRYAN GORDON: Steve's a friend of mine, and I called him up and said, "Do you want to come work on the show? There's no money, but there's incredible creativity." He e-mailed me back and said, "What do you think of Ricky having a creepy droopy eyelid?"
DAN ETHERIDGE: I wish we could claim that for our own. It was so genius.
ROB THOMAS: Enrico Colantoni in our original back-yard pilot! [He reprised his role in the reshot first episode.] We would do take after take, and all he's got on is a flesh-colored nylon sock, with Adam floating next to him in the pool. I don't know how awkward that was as a moment in the show, but it was very awkward to be on set during that. Here he is making $100, in my swimming pool, with a hundred extras in my back yard. It was one of the bravest things I've seen.
DAN ETHERIDGE: There is a rather shocking piece of footage that we will never let out. Rico wore one of those—I think it's called a vanity sock, although that's not really a fair name. At one point, as he was experimenting with a comic way of getting out of the pool, the sock had sort of slid down. So he got out of the pool and it looked as though he had a two-foot cock. It was painfully awkward and funny but completely unusable, and we will never show anyone that.
FRED SAVAGE: I remember during the reunion episode ["James Rolf High School Twentieth Reunion"], we had a guy and he just had to come for a couple of hours and sit on a bed and masturbate to porn. Joe Lo Truglio, probably my favorite guest star ever, we had him humping an imaginary girl lying in the floor of a bathroom stall. That was his first day of work. Welcome aboard.
And then there were all the naked extras . . .
MEGAN MULLALLY: That orgy episode, one woman was naked the whole time. She was really just standing there all day long, and you know, we tried to kind of make conversation, because it was just a tough gig. But she seemed okay with it, I guess. But that scene in the bedroom—those were extras who would have to stand in the room and make out with each other. I remember one time Bryan Gordon tapped one girl on the shoulder and brought in a different girl for this guy . . . I don't know what was going on. It was getting a little too orgyish. You know, in a room full of strangers in their underwear making out, it's really happening at that point.
LIZZY CAPLAN: It's very uncomfortable when extras have to be naked. I think they get paid a little bit more to do it, but it's such a soul-crushing thing. In the porn-awards episode, where so many people were naked, everywhere you looked there was a naked person, and you didn't really know where to look, and you'd try to look people in the eye, but it's kind of hard not to look at people's racks when they're right in front of you, and I got caught looking at people a couple times and felt really embarrassed and gross, but what can you do? They were everywhere!
JANE LYNCH: We would look at each other a lot and go, "Can you believe we're doing this?"
The cast enjoyed each other so much, in fact, they are incapable of describing their experience on the show without having to apologize for using cheesy cliches.
ADAM SCOTT: I don't think any of us were expecting it. We all decided just to go screw around on this thing, and all of a sudden it was apparent that it was really special.
MARTIN STARR: I think we all felt very comfortable with each other. Everybody was so free and open to making complete asses of themselves with no worry of judgment. Although plenty of judgment was cast, it was all in due fun.
LIZZY CAPLAN: All of the hitting between Ryan and Martin—they were really hitting each other.
RYAN HANSEN: Yeah, or Martin was just hitting me. Any chance he got, he was like, "Well, the character would totally smack Kyle!" He would go for it every take.
LIZZY CAPLAN: They were kind of the elementary-school boys of the cast, and when I was with them I could get sucked into that too. Lots of hitting and throwing.
JANE LYNCH: There were no mistakes in the casting. Not one. We just adored each other. We had such a good time. I started smoking. Everybody was smoking. Except for Ryan. We would go out afterwards, and I never do that. I never fraternize with my coworkers.
MARTIN STARR: We would go out for drinks on Friday nights, whoever was left. We'd try to recruit the other folks who might not have been in the last scene, meet up in a location near to our set.
KEN MARINO: I was drunk most of the time, and I pretty much black out, so I don't remember any of that stuff.
ADAM SCOTT: It was as if we were all 12 years old. Everyone acted like an imbecile most of the time.
LIZZY CAPLAN: One time we were shooting in Malibu at this nice parkish area, and there were all these ducks. Ryan and Martin and I picked up a duck and put it in Adam's trailer and it shit everywhere. It was hilarious.
RYAN HANSEN: When someone had a scene and you were off, you would go shit in their trailer and not flush it, and then you'd turn on the heat. Maybe I wasn't supposed to say that. Did no one else bring that up?
KEN MARINO: I've never met better people to work with.
MARTIN STARR: I think when you know you're all in it for the same reason, which isn't money, then you're immediately on common ground. You're like soldiers of comedy.
KEN MARINO: It's this kind of guerilla filmmaking. It felt like us against the world. It's a double-edged sword. We had the freedom to make this show, John had the freedom to have this kind of unfiltered script that he would give to us every week, and we had the freedom to shoot it and put it on the air. But the other side of that sword was not a lot of people were watching it.
PAUL RUDD: There was always this feeling of the chips being stacked against us.
ADAM SCOTT: It was something special that we all knew was too good to last.
In December 2009, former HBO chairman and ceo Chris Albrecht was named CEO of Starz. Season 2 was finished shooting, and the episodes had yet to air, but between the first season's miniscule ratings and Albrecht's regime change at the network, the team began to feel like their days on Party Down were numbered. The cast was faced with a terrible decision: Stay with a show that would probably be canceled, or go out for pilot season and leave an incredible gig before it was officially dead. On March 4, 2010, news broke that Adam Scott had decided to join the cast of NBC's Parks and Recreation.
ROB THOMAS: I think the executives at Starz who ordered the show, who championed the show, who put it on for two years and were proud of it—we would have done at least another season in that regime. When the new guy came in, he just kind of looked at the numbers and said, "Why would we keep going?"
ADAM SCOTT: There was a misconception out there when the whole thing happened that I was leaving an active show. They were in the process of killing Party Down when I took the Parks and Recreation job. What I did was go to Starz and say, "I'm getting an offer from one of my favorite shows. I would love to do it, but if you want to keep me around for Party Down we can have that conversation." And they said, "Have fun on Parks and Recreation." The message was very clear to me. The thing that was upsetting was that they put it on me a little bit.
ROB THOMAS: I think it pained him. He loved doing Party Down, and he would have done Party Down if he had any assurance that it was coming back. Otherwise, it was turning down a big NBC show and big NBC money for what looked like a declining chance that we would be back.
DAN ETHERIDGE: Eventually it just came to a point where Adam had to make a decision. We hadn't gotten a "no" that the show wasn't coming back, but we had no evidence that it was. If we had had any inkling—instead of just utter neutrality—we might have said to Adam, "Are you sure?" But in that atmosphere, we were totally supportive of the decision that he made. We didn't begrudge that moment at all.
RYAN HANSEN: A bunch of us went out for stuff. I was always like, "No, if it does get picked up, I can do both!" I don't know how realistic that would have been. [Hansen took a role on NBC's Friends With Benefits.]
ADAM SCOTT: The whole thing ended in very melodramatic fashion. Ken and I had this long heart-to-heart on the phone where I realized halfway through I was kind of calling to get his blessing. He was basically telling me, "You need to do this. It's time to say goodbye to the show." We were both emotional, and I hung up the phone and I remember—it's so melodramatic—my wife came home and I was in the living room, sitting on the couch with the phone, and just, like, crying. And she was like, "Oh my God, what's wrong?" And I remember just saying, "It's over."
KEN MARINO: Adam was distraught about it. He's got two kids and a home, and he had a great opportunity. When he told me about it, I was like, "Dude, take it." If there was a choice, it would be a different discussion, but there was no choice. "I have a really cool job offer, with great people, security for my family, a great show creatively—or I have this show that's not being picked up." There wasn't an A and a B. There was just a B.
On June 30, 2010, Starz officially announced the cancellation of Party Down.
JOHN ENBOM: Truthfully, we felt it for a while. We were certainly pleased with the show's reception, but that world where Party Down becomes The Sopranos of Starz was certainly not happening.
PAUL RUDD: I think a lot of people didn't know about it, due in no part to Starz. I don't want to sell them short. They were great to us. But in cable television there are so many shows it takes a while for people to catch on. Our reviews were strong. The die-hard fans of the show felt like it was their show. That's cool. We all took pride in that, I think. But after a little while, it's like you're spitting into the wind.
BRYAN GORDON: Also, it was on at 10 o'clock on a Friday night. No one watches TV at 10 o'clock on a Friday night.
FRED SAVAGE: People didn't know Starz as a destination. No one really orders Starz. You know you get HBO, you know you get Showtime. We came up with this tagline the first season: "Starz. You just might have it."
KEN MARINO: I didn't know if I had it.
ROB THOMAS: The other thing that really hurt us is that Spartacus came on [in January of 2010] and did huge numbers for them. So suddenly they've got a show that proved to them that they could launch a show and make a show a hit, at least by cable standards. So when Spartacus is doing a million viewers and we're doing 150,000, that kind of put the writing on the wall for us.
DAN ETHERIDGE: Look, a new guy came in. I wish he'd made a different decision, but new people come in, they shift priorities about what the channel wants to do.
MARTIN STARR: Sandals. They wanted more sandals.
MEGAN MULLALLY: I guess in history it will be that we just didn't get good enough ratings, so we'll just go with that version.
RYAN HANSEN: I was surprised, because it was this cult hit, and really cheap to make, and we're all getting paid beans, but we love to do it and we would totally do it again . . . and then they decided not to pick it up. We were like, "Dude, what?" I was really actually kind of devastated.
LIZZY CAPLAN: I did an episode of Childrens Hospital while we were still waiting to hear about what was happening with our show. They have the same crew and cast members, and a lot of our guest stars are involved in that show. At that point we already knew that Adam was gone and Ryan was gone, so there were these sad yet hopeful conversations on how to continue doing the show, and what we could do, and who could possibly come in and replace them, or how we could shift the focus of the show. We wanted to keep going. Now when I think about it, it just would have been so strange and sad. Maybe it ended exactly when it was supposed to end.
JANE LYNCH: You never have to cancel Party Down. There are undiscovered, talented, funny people in Los Angeles, and we all know each other. I could cast that show right now. I don't know what goes on behind the scenes, but there was an audience there.
LIZZY CAPLAN: When I wake up on the couch at three in the morning and I don't know where I am, I'll just turn on an episode of Party Down. I'm so proud of it. I've never been more proud of anything that I've done.
ADAM SCOTT: Every single one of those episodes, I'm so proud of. I just look back on those two seasons with such fondness. It was so fun.
PAUL RUDD: There's also something to be said about not jumping the shark.
KEN MARINO: I would have loved to do maybe one more season. But there's that feeling now that the show is contained in these five, six hours of story, and how much more story do you need to tell? There's something quite nice about that. You watch it, and you're done, and you say, "Oh, I like that nice piece of TV."
FRED SAVAGE: I've worked on a few shows that have this "One of the best shows you're not watching" moniker. That's really no consolation. As nice as it is that people are talking about it and remember it, we'd rather be doing the show. "Brilliant but canceled"—we weren't brilliant because we were canceled. We were just a good show. I think there's some idea that being on the air makes your show suck. I disagree. I don't believe that. I would rather be on the air.
ROB THOMAS: I would love the chance to have that six-year NBC prime-time comedy and not have to worry about my children's college fund. It's much easier to do 20 episodes and be great than to do 120. People who can keep up that pace—God, I hope I have a chance to try it someday, but it's intimidating.
Thanks to cancellation, the show's de facto final scene is Henry walking into an audition room—something he never would have considered when Party Down began. It's the perfect launching pad for speculation about the future of the characters . . . and the series.
ROB THOMAS: Ending with Henry in a casting office waiting to audition, we felt like, "Well, if we're gone forever, that's not a bad place to leave it."
DAN ETHERIDGE: What we wanted was just the expression of Henry wanting something again. The journey to a moment where he would try again, that there was a glimmer of forward vector—for us, that was right where we wanted to leave it. I sort of hope, in a way, that the answer of what happened in that room is not as important as the fact that he went into that room.
JOHN ENBOM: I think that was always the big question for who Henry is: What is his definition of a happy ending? Would success as an actor have been a happy ending? Or at the end of the day is he confronting the idea that there's another life out there for him that he needs to accept?
ADAM SCOTT: If Henry did get that part, I would imagine that the result wouldn't be as fantastic as he would expect. But who knows? Maybe it would have been a big success. I know if there was a Season 3, I was only going to be able to do three episodes, so they were going to have to find a way to make that plausible.
KEN MARINO: The victories are small and real. That's what was interesting. Ron falls in love, and at the end there is some hope. If there was another season, I can't imagine that relationship would work out. But you know what's great about John and Dan and Rob and Paul is that they came up with really interesting twists on what you would expect to happen.
PAUL RUDD: One thing's for sure: Kyle would have become a megastar. He would have done everything. And all of it kind of . . . okay.
JOHN ENBOM: No matter how insufferable he can be, he's going to end up landing on his feet somewhere, and it will drive Roman insane.
RYAN HANSEN: I think he probably got a recurring role on a CW show that led to becoming a series regular.
MARTIN STARR: I would have liked to see some growth for Roman. I feel like he would have accidentally ended up as a team leader at some point, using his power to make Kyle feel small every chance he got.
JANE LYNCH: The thing that's important about Constance is she doesn't move. It's in her name. She's been the same exact person from the moment she hit adulthood, and she's in exactly the same place wearing that stupid little jean jacket, riding her bike to each gig, living in some small studio apartment in the Valley, just living in her fantasy. She's happy.
LIZZY CAPLAN: I have my fingers crossed that we get to maybe do some kind of movie or something, so maybe we'll get to see.
ROB THOMAS: We're hoping to do a movie. We're talking about the happy ending for this show.
FRED SAVAGE: I think Rob has to make his Veronica Mars movie first. He's got a few cult followings wandering around.
KEN MARINO: I would be there in a heartbeat. Why—you funding it?
Party Down Season 1 and Season 2 are now available on Amazon.com and on Netflix.