Friday, May 01, 2009

Party Down, "Brandix Corporate Retreat": Peeping Roman

Quick spoilers for tonight's "Party Down" coming up just as soon as I tell you that I've seen "300" exactly 1/4 times (I gave up 30 minutes in)...

The last few episodes of "Party Down" had been so deliriously funny that I knew a let-down was inevitable sooner or later -- even the best comedies have let-down episodes now and then -- and we finally got it with "Brandix Corporate Retreat." Aside from a few funny throwaway moments like Constance only knowing Rick Fox as an actor, or the revelation of who/what Roman was really peeping on, it was extremely light on laughs and never really built up to a climax the way the previous episodes did.

(Like the subject of Roman's surveillance, the episode wasn't a closer.)

I thought some of the ideas had promise -- Henry's bonding with the guests finally leads to a job offer (albeit one not as promising as he's led to believe), and Henry's increasing investment in the relationship with Casey leads him to do something stupid -- but the execution wasn't there. They didn't even give Rob Corddry anything funny to do, which was odd, given how well they've written for all the previous guest stars.

Hey, it happens. I have an unwatched DVD of the season's final three episodes, and I'm looking forward to it just as much now as I was before seeing this one.

What did everybody else think?

19 comments:

paulf said...

I liked it, but not as much as the last few.

The Roman bits were probably my favourite.

This was the first episode my friend saw (It's the first I've watched on Starz rather than Netflix, as we got free Starz due to Comcast losing the NFL), and she loved it.

dead souls said...

I think you're pretty much right. This episode wasn't one of the best. It's a testament to the overall quality of Party Down that even a somewhat lackluster outing is still so good.

I really like that the Casey/Henry hookup is out in the open. I'm really interested to see where they go with their story in the rest of the season.

Tom M said...

Your assessment's pretty dead on. I still enjoyed it, but the "laughs that make your stomach hurt" just weren't quite there this time...largely like you said because of execution I think. Other than the sight gag of Casey beaning Roman with the ball and Ron being made to squirm as usual when the team builder catches him with the props, I thought this one was lacking, but only in comparison to the hilariously high standard they've already set. If this were most other comedies and I was just tuning in, I still would've been amused.

dez said...

I was amused by it, even if it wasn't as hilarious as last week's. The best part was the team meeting breakdown and finding out what Roman was watching. Oh, and I liked "My name is Mark!"

Oaktown Girl said...

It was rather disappointing because it seemed like the set-ups were there for so many excellent pay-offs that just never came to fruition.

One pay-off I was hoping to see was an angry Rick Fox screeching away in his fancy car leaving Casey standing alone on the curb. But that possibility got blown when they showed Casey actually witnessing Fox bomb using her joke. Oh well.

MattB said...

Was this episode (and the one before it too, I think) directed by THE Fred Savage? That was the name that rolled in the credits.

Oaktown Girl said...

MattB - yes, it's that Fred Savage.

Myles said...

Definitely a let down episode, no question about it, but Jane Lynch was hysterical: no, there weren't any big gags, but just watching her facial expressions pretty much did me in, and I agree that her only knowing Rick Fox as an actor was a definite highlight.

Show remains fun, but funny? Lacking this week.

olucy said...

WHY do you have a picture of Joan Rivers? lol

amysusanne said...

Yeah, definitely the weakest of the series. Not a lot of payoffs, though the performances were still great.

I did love the running bit about why anyone would pay to see Rick Fox speak and even though the answer to that question is right (people want to hear succesful people talk even if they don't have anything to say), it's still always good to point out how stupid those events are.

The weirdest thing for me was that I felt genuinely bad for Ron. Usually I just cringe at the awkward that he is on a weekly basis (even when he got ripped off by Cliff, it wasn't that big of a deal), but this time I actually felt for the guy. Even though corporate teambuilding seminars and retreats are the stupidest, most pointless things ever, he was really trying hard to bring his little group of assholes together as a functioning team. It wasn't just the usual Ron nonsense, it was Ron using the nonsense of the event to try to do something positive. He really meant well.

fgmerchant said...

I usually cringe while watching these, but I know there will be some comedy to make up for it. Instead I was just plain uncomfortable and extremely bored. That was just painful.

LoopyChew said...

I think I noted down two specific things I thought were funny: Ron wondering why Constance was holding a picture of Joan Rivers, and the running gag of the Room Service lady catching Roman (and then Henry) in the middle of snooping. Also, I don't know who Rick Fox is (having not lived in the States for a long time, I don't hear much about sports celebrities that aren't European footballers), so I spent a fair amount of time wondering who the hell was playing him and why I didn't recognize him.

Still, I like the fact that Casey and Henry have been outed, and as I once said of Veronica Mars, a bad episode of Party Down is still better than the best episode of a lot of other series (and this was a lot better than One Angry Veronica).

Hillary said...

Yeah, I'm lame, as I didn't know who Rick Fox was other than Vanessa Williams's ex, who played her lover on "Ugly Betty." In fact, when I looked up his profile on IMDB and it mentioned a sports statistic, I still had to click through to see what sport it was. (Note that he majored in film studies and IMDB claims he played for the Lakers because it was close to Hollywood, so this is no casual "guess I'll be an actor now that I retired.")

I agree this episode wasn't as funny but I liked the way the team started getting into the team building exercises (in their own ways.)

It's sad to see so few comments on this show - are not that many people watching, or just not that many have Starz? (Plus you can guarantee at least one comment a week is asking if it's the same Fred Savage. Sigh.)

Steve said...

this is the best new show on television. Absolutely fantastic in every way. It's easy to watch, and is cast and acted superbly.

I love that they bring up the "Are having fun yet?" recognition in every episode, because it makes it more realistic.

Considering I love Veronica Mars/Judd Apatow/David Wain productions, I couldn't see myself not liking this. Rare is the show where I look forward to the scenes with all of the actors (The Office, It's Always Sunny)

Anonymous said...

how dont u people know who rick fox is???

Margarita said...

I love this show, and liked this episode in general, though I was also really disappointed that they didn't use Rob Corddry better, but I hope they're planning to bring him back. It was the throw-away moments I liked best in this episode, like Constance both insisting and professing not to know why she thinks the headshot with the (photoshopped?) glasses makes her look smarter, and Roman naming Kafka in his list of winners.

The CineManiac said...

Finally caught up last night thanks to Netflix. You're right not the best episode, but still had some great moments. Just overall not the best.
Might have to watch the last 3 on the press site, rather than wait 3 more weeks to see them all.

Karen said...

I haven't seen this episode yet but I will!

reelartsy.blogspot.com

ghoti said...

Fred Savage has been directing TV shows for 10 years. Being surprised by him directing episodes of this show is like being shocked that the guy who played Opie and Richie from Happy Days directs movies.