The Unfortunate and Inevitable Cancellation of ‘Party Down’

By  · Published on June 30th, 2010

When only 74,000 people watch your second season finale, you can’t exactly count on being renewed. Such is the case for the creators of Party Down, the latest in a long line of great comedy shows canceled before they were able to reach their prime. After two gloriously offbeat seasons, Starz has decided not to renew the Adam Scott and Ken Marino-led show. And while it disappoints me, as a fan of the show, to see it go, it’s clear that this was the inevitable endgame.

Trouble began for Party Down at the end of its first season. The show – which was produced by Paul Rudd, John Enbom, Dan Etheridge and Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas – lost one of its main draws, Jane Lynch, to her starring role on Fox’s Glee. At the close of season two, star Adam Scott accepted a role on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, leaving him with no more obligation than another three episodes in a then undecided third season of Party Down. The show’s other stars, including Ken Marino, Martin Starr and Ryan Hansen, should all find themselves doing something else rather quickly. Only Lizzy Caplan, who recently turned down a role in CBS’ upcoming show Mad Love, appears to have been burned for her loyalty to the now-defunct Starz show. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if she lands elsewhere soon, as well.

To its credit, Party Down did close with an excellent season two finale. It brought a great deal of closure to many of the second season’s storylines and even saw the return of Lynch, who was replaced by the equally talented Megan Mullaly after season one. As if they knew what was to come, the show’s writing team put together a soft, touching final episode that will serve well as the bittersweet series finale. As any great comedian would tell you, leaving the room before the laughter dies out isn’t a bad way to go.

Personally I was a late adopter of Party Down, catching up and getting sucked in during the airing of its second season. It was a consistent, clever comedy that saw the blossoming of several very talented individuals, including the aforementioned Caplan and Ryan Hansen. It also solidified the comedic portfolio of Martin Starr and Adam Scott. And above all, it gave a great vehicle to Ken Marino, one of Hollywood’s underrated comedic talents. The world will be a better place if Marino ends up on a network show very soon.

To other fans of Party Down, I would say this: at least we made it this far. Two seasons isn’t bad and with its unfortunate cancellation, the show has earned its place on your DVD shelf – right there next to the likes of Arrested Development. Gone too soon but never without its rewatchability, Party Down will never truly die.

On a side note, Starz also chose not to renew Gravity. It only lasted one season.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)