Party Down and IT Crowd Make World Safe for Humor

I was so caught up in my righteous defense of Treme that I forgot to mention what is probably my favorite show on TV right now: Party Down. The premise, about a catering team that has to work various obnoxious functions in L.A., never ceases to amuse me. It also opens the door for guest appearances by various comedians and character actors (Steve Guttenberg, J.K. Simmons, and lots of funnier, lesser-known folks).

The catering staff themselves are all struggling actors or writers, of course. I guess I can relate to their plight, as someone who has lived in L.A. for awhile and worked some questionable jobs. But the show wouldn’t work if the writing and cast weren’t spot on. Martin Starr (Haverchuck from Freaks and Geeks) and Ken Marino (The State, Wet Hot American Summer) were the big draws for me, but the other actors do a good job of rounding things out. Adam Scott is sympathetic as the guy who gave up his dream to pay the bills, and Lizzy Caplan‘s character is a refreshing turn from the psycho bitch she played on True Blood.

The whole mess is written by some guys who previously worked on Veronica Mars: John Enbom, Rob Thomas, and Dan Etheridge, along with actor Paul Rudd. This show is so good that I’m actually considering watching Veronica Mars. I know, it’s crazy.

In other TV comedy news, The IT Crowd is back on the air in Britain. Or at least online – I think it premiers next week. I’m not sure how I’m going to watch it over here (“the service is not available in your area,” mocks the Channel Four website, in what I can only assume would be a haughty British accent if it could speak).

This show is amazing, especially considering that it’s filmed in the old school studio audience sitcom format. The plot concerns the adventures of the IT department of a large company run by an insane pervert (Matt Berry from Darkplace and Snuff Box). Show writer/creator Graham Linehan (Father Ted, Big Train) is a comic genius (and huge Guided By Voices fan), and I’m itching to see what he’s got lined up for this season. Hopefully I can use my own IT skills (slim to none) to hack into their mainframe and stream me some Britcom. Or, just wait for it to show up on IFC…

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