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Party Down Recap: Orgy in Blue

Orgies rarely work out the way we intend them to. Especially catered orgies. That’s the takeaway from this week’s delightfully silly, profoundly dirty episode of Party Down. There were topless servers forced to carry trays of condoms and lube, a very complicated lesson on how to successfully deliver a body shot (as well as detailed demonstration of how not to do it), talk of a goldfish that sounds like a sheep, and more of guest-star Thomas Lennon’s bare ass than anyone outside of Mrs. Lennon could ever dream of. But mostly there were the familiar, low-key and charming character beats that (a) keep us raving about this gem of a show and (b) keep us forgetting how downright filthy some of its funniest jokes can be. This lacuna then causes us to encourage our parents to start watching, calling the show a “classic sitcom” in an “old-fashioned” style and thereby forgetting that neither Cheers nor The Cosby Show ever featured a “fuck room.” (Three’s Company, however, did.) Sorry, mom!

Meanwhile, Henry and Casey are cute-sniping with each other while Ron is moping over his break-up with Mandy, boring the guests and freaking out over cheese. The perpetually sexually-frustrated Roman takes it upon himself to lubricate the party (sorry), telling Nick that while he’s never actually been to an orgy he has read a lot about them. “I’m a reader,” he deadpans in a way that’s not at all creepy. Kyle recognizes the above-mentioned shirtless condom-distributing girl even underneath her bird mask (he thinks maybe it’s an “ibis”) and makes the colossally clueless decision to both hit on her and brag about his recently released on DVD (only in Asia) movie Jumping Boys. Her withering put-downs and observations about their current station in life actually manage to pierce Kyle’s well-coiffed skull — they are both working at an orgy, for god’s sake! and not a particularly good one! — leading him into dangerous Ron territory, downing shots and questioning the meaning of it all. Luckily, in one of the episode’s best-played moments, Roman is there to drop his trademark wall of cynicism and comfort Kyle. Sort of. It’s a treat the way Martin Starr is able, through gritted-teeth, to insist that he thinks they’re all going to “make it,” even Kyle — without ever actually really saying he thinks Kyle is going to make it.

Meanwhile, Henry and Casey are cute-sniping with each other while Ron is moping over his break-up with Mandy, boring the guests and freaking out over cheese. The perpetually sexually-frustrated Roman takes it upon himself to lubricate the party (sorry), telling Nick that while he’s never actually been to an orgy he has read a lot about them. “I’m a reader,” he deadpans in a way that’s not at all creepy. Kyle recognizes the above-mentioned shirtless condom-distributing girl even underneath her bird mask (he thinks maybe it’s an “ibis”) and makes the colossally clueless decision to both hit on her and brag about his recently released on DVD (only in Asia) movie Jumping Boys. Her withering put-downs and observations about their current station in life actually manage to pierce Kyle’s well-coiffed skull — they are both working at an orgy, for god’s sake! and not a particularly good one! — leading him into dangerous Ron territory, downing shots and questioning the meaning of it all. Luckily, in one of the episode’s best-played moments, Roman is there to drop his trademark wall of cynicism and comfort Kyle. Sort of. It’s a treat the way Martin Starr is able, through gritted-teeth, to insist that he thinks they’re all going to “make it,” even Kyle — without ever actually really saying he thinks Kyle is going to make it.

What else? Well there’s some welcome Ron/Henry bonding, which finally lets us see the friendship these two supposedly had before catering, ill-conceived soup restaurants, corporate hierarchy, cheese, and massive pit-stains came between them. There are some funny telephone bits with Henry’s current girlfriend, the unseen Uta, whose unheard voice is not played by Kristen Bell but probably will be again before the season is over. But call us a broken record if you must, because our favorite bits this week were once again delivered by Megan Mullally, who continues to commit Grand Theft Sitcom as the chipper, off-kilter Lydia. Whether she’s offering people straws in case their mask-beaks get in the way, flirting with Nick by declaring estate law “my favorite law — what you just said,” performing some sort of vocal tic to Casey that is meant to imply sex (“Casey, men aren’t like us! To them sex is a big deal. Like sports. Or flags”), or just celebrating her divorce (“Free! Just me! Dyin’ alone!”) we are smitten.

Related: Lizzy Caplan Will Do a Third Season of Party Down Even If It Means Taking Food Out of Babies’ Mouths

Related: Lizzy Caplan Will Do a Third Season of Party Down Even If It Means Taking Food Out of Babies’ Mouths

Photo: Courtesy of Starz