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The Entire Party Down Timeline Explained

"Party Down" is the funniest existential comedy about big dreamers slingin' d'oeuvres in the game. The Starz show about a pack of Los Angeles caterers debuted in 2009. The show was created by John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd. Enbom, Thomas, and Etheridge worked together on "iZombie" and the whole gang worked together on "Veronica Mars." Regardless of Rudd's early star power and the bona fides of the writing team, "Party Down" languished for years in the "no" pile until finally getting the greenlight after Thomas shot a pilot in his own backyard, starring almost everyone who would end up in the Starz cast.

The comedy has a uniquely realistic tone that is more "melanchomedy" than dramedy. Like many of its characters, "Party Down" never hit it big, but its first 2 seasons became a cult hit through word-of-mouth–assisted streaming over the years. No one's run the numbers on how many "Party Down" fans there are in comparison to how many people are working "dead-end" jobs they're trying to leave for something better, but (insert Henry deadpan here) there's got to be some overlap.

After a 13-year hiatus, "Party Down" is back for an all-too-short Season 3. While some of the jokes from the first 2 seasons have aged beautifully, some were rotten from the start. "Party Down" Season 3 strikes a slightly more heartfelt balance than previous seasons. Whether you're new to the show or have been a supporter since before the show made it big, it's been a while. Grab a glass of Steve Guttenberg's finest and settle in for this explanation of the entire "Party Down" timeline.

Henry returns to catering

"Party Down" kicks off its first season with actor Henry Pollard (Adam Scott) returning to catering work with Ron Donald (Ken Marino) after 8 years of trying — and failing —to make it big. Each time someone demands Henry perform his famous beer commercial catchphrase — "Are we having fun yet?" — a little more light goes out of his eyes. This is impressive on Scott's part, considering how little emotion Henry allows himself to show.

Henry's slightly depressed mien and air of apathy make him the calm and "reasonable" straight man in comparison to the rest of the big-dreaming cater-waiter gang, which includes the goofy Constance (Jane Lynch), nerdy Roman (Martin Starr), dimwitted Kyle (Ryan Hansen), and cynical Casey (Lizzy Caplan). Season 1 sees Henry and Casey start hooking up, plus Henry trying to remain disengaged while getting sucked into the gang's hijinks. Henry can't help but connect with his team, of course — and his own disregarded but deep desire to be known for more than his beer commercial.

While the season starts with everyone but Henry gunning for their big dreams, by the end Ron falls off the wagon, Constance isn't around, Roman food-poisons George Takei, and Henry gets his heart broken when Casey ditches him to do cruise ship comedy. Ron does get Alan Duk to invest in his Soup R' Crackers dream, and Kyle debases himself to snag a role in a movie about BASE jumping. The end of "Party Down" Season 1 is bittersweet with losses and wins that could be a little sweeter.

Chasing the dream

All of the "Party Down" waiters want something badly. While Season 1 sets up these desires, Season 2 ratchets up the sense of longing, urgency, and bitterness over those big dreams being just out of reach. Season 2 sees everyone get a "win" of some kind, even if it doesn't last long.

Ron's Soup R' Crackers fails, and he must work at Party Down under Henry, the new team leader. Casey returns, but she and Henry are seeing other people.

New coworker Lydia (Megan Mullally) dreams of getting her daughter Escalade an acting career. Casey gets a part in a Judd Apatow movie — but it ends up on the cutting room floor. Steve Guttenberg tries to motivate the crew to follow their dreams. Instead, he inspires Henry and Casey to start hooking up again, and Roman and Kyle to clash (not that Kyle is aware) as they try and succeed in their particular fields.

The heartbreak of being "almost" successful is driven home by the Season 2 finale, when Constance hires Party Down to cater her wedding. Henry is concerned when Constance signs a terrible prenup with someone who has been married (and unfaithful to his wives) 9 times before. Just as she drives off into the sunset, her new husband dies — and Henry learns the man invalidated his prenup so Constance would inherit everything. The act inspires Henry to ditch work the next day and go to an audition instead.

Henry returns to catering again

Season 3 picks up 13 years after Season 2. If a lot can happen in 8 years, even more can happen in 13. A new crew is slinging hors d'oeuvres under Ron's leadership, including new chef Lucy (Zoe Chao) and content-creator cater-waiter Sackson (Tyrel Jackson Williams). Kyle is a successful actor and has hired the gang to work the party for his upcoming movie, "Nitromancer."

Casey is nowhere to be seen except in a brief TV news item about her possibly breaking up with her boyfriend — a co-star on her hit TV show, "The Stabilizer." Henry isn't acting at all, but is married with kids and a job teaching high school English. Lydia is crushing it as Escalade's manager. Ron is still unhinged, Roman is still salty, and Constance is living large on her dead millionaire husband's money — some of which she uses to support Ron's partial ownership of Party Down. By the end of the pilot, Ron thinks he's on a roll — and then another news item announces the first coronavirus outbreak.

Fourteen months later, Henry is still teaching English, but working with Ron for the third time to help pay alimony. What a difference 14 months makes. Kyle also ends up back in the game, while Roman never left it. Soon Party Down workers old and new are up to the show's old ways. Henry strikes up a new relationship with Evie, and develops a new (and dare we say healthier) attitude towards life that is less apathetic and much more meaningful — just in time for a surprise cameo at the end of Season 3.


Ron Donald doesn't want anyone doing personal business on company time — but this poor unhinged king can't help but do his own (literally) while on the clock. Ron is a manic and militant manager, and he starts the series with a flattop and a dream: to run his own Soup R' Crackers franchise. Ron is the anti-Henry — he cares entirely too much about everything, which isn't great for someone with such intense insecurities. He really runs a tight sinking ship.

Ron is a desperate optimist. He views every event as an opportunity to prove what a great team leader he is — and what a great team he leads. When he caters his own high school reunion, he drinks a veritable jug of alcohol in an attempt to impress the reunion-goers. Still, he gets the cash to open his own Soup R' Crackers at the end of Season 1, but the store is closed by the start of Season 2. Ron reverts to his party animal ways, leaving Henry to take the reins.

Ron eventually gets back on the wagon, but only after getting high enough to trap himself in a casket at a ladies' man's funeral. Ron returns to Party Down with a fresh flattop and an even more manic approach to dream-chasing, which sort of works — he falls in love with Party Down's owner's daughter (who eventually leaves him for a hot cop at a woman's march) and buys Party Down (even though Constance is his loopy investor). Season 3 Ron soars to new highs and drops to food-poisoned lows in his desperate attempt to keep living the dream.


Handsome himbo Kyle Bradway wants his big break in acting. While failure stops Henry in his tracks, Kyle faces failure undaunted and with a smile on his face — probably because, unlike Henry, he isn't a bright enough bulb to see how the odds are stacked against him. Also unlike Henry, Kyle is always hustling — for his next role, next mentor, next hookup. A rolling stone gathers no moss, and Kyle probably thinks The Rolling Stones wrote that famous phrase.

Kyle is a triple threat: he sings, he acts, and he's handsome. He spends the entire series trying for his break and actually getting some before he inevitably gets knocked back down again. In Season 1, he gets the BASE jumping movie; in Season 2, he and his band play an alarmingly accidental Aryan anthem at Constance's wedding; and in Season 3, that same accidentally awful song is what gets him booted from his first major movie franchise, "The Nitromancer."

Even though Kyle is heartbroken by his losses, he takes them on the chiseled chin. He starts back up at Party Down in Season 3, and picks up his love/hate relationship with the endlessly ornery Roman right where they left off. Even though it's Constance and Kyle who share a blonde bond of positive mental attitude and can-do spirit, it's Kyle and Roman's odd couple dynamic that keeps the Party Down crew familiar. It also keeps the unlikely bros believing in toilet paper sci-fi manifestos and the inevitable movie franchises they will one day spawn.


Roman DeBeers is the dark cloud to Kyle Bradway's sunny day — but what else can you expect from a bitter sci-fi writer whose biggest breakthrough came from writing a novel on a roll of toilet paper after accidentally ingesting way too many "magic" cookies? Roman is superior, surly, and incel-adjacent. But for all his bravado and cutting remarks (sometimes in Latin), Roman is a dreamer all the same.

While Kyle and Constance wear rose-colored glasses, Roman's bifocals are pitch-black. He doesn't think he'll succeed, and therefore he rarely does. Roman brushes up against success a few times over the series, but it's never what he thinks it's going to be. He accidentally food poisons George Takei in Season 1 while fanboying over him. In Season 2, he gets to trade places with rock star Jackal Onassis (Jimmi Simpson) for a night. Instead of getting the rock star treatment, Roman repels girls with his desperate attitude — even after getting tips from Kyle.

After a rough night watching his former writing partner live the life Roman feels is meant for him, Kyle does provide some comfort — if nerds like that can get into a limo with hot chicks, there's got to be hope for Roman. Like Henry, Roman's attitude mostly doesn't change over the years, but he seems slightly less toxic at the end of Season 3 than in the beginning. Also like Henry, Roman can't help but care about his Party Down crew — even if he would sooner die than admit it.


Constance Carmell (Jane Lynch) floats through life with the same buoyant air as her best post-inheritance caftans. Ephemeral, ethereal, and the star of countless C and D movies that dominate her storytelling repertoire, Constance has lived a life of constant movement and joy. Constance never gives up on her dreams because, to her, every moment is a dream. Whether Constance is holding an appetizer tray or a script, she is always holding court. Any cheese she eats is her cheese — even if, really, "It's their cheese."

Constance flitted around Season 1 until Jane Lynch took on her "Glee" role. Then, Constance's appearances became fewer and farther between, and her airy (and airheaded) energy was replaced first by her roommate Bonnie (Jennifer Coolidge) and later Lydia. While these other gals share a lightness of attitude and a zaniness of spirit, Constance remains the original inappropriate slinger of non-sequiturs and namastes. 

For being the oldest member of the cater-waiter gang, Constance is also the least jaded. Part of that can be chalked up to naïveté, part to whatever drugs she did during the more robust years of her movie career, and part to her genuine appreciation for every moment. Constance finds love later in life (and at the end of Season 2) and hires Party Down to work her wedding. Even though her marriage only lasts mere moments, Constance's appreciation for it will last forever — and so might her dead husband's fortune.


Lydia Dunfree is the wild-card energetic twin of Constance. While Constance is untethered and airy, Lydia has a more practical streak than her "follow your heart" foil. Lydia shows up in Season 2, freshly divorced. She's got her teenage daughter Escalade in tow, and will stop at nothing until her daughter becomes a star.

Lydia puts her daughter's dreams above all else, but has a few slightly unspoken ones of her own. When the crew works Nick DiCinto's Orgy Night in Season 2, Lydia can't help but long for the touch of Nick himself — and he has such a nice house. Lydia is out of her depth in Hollywood for much of Season 2, and like Ryan asks everyone for acting feedback, Lydia asks everyone for advice on how to help Escalade. Lydia might not be accustomed to the finer things in life, but like when Steve Guttenberg tries to teach her about wine, she's a quick study. Lydia might only know red from white, but she's tasting notes of sticks and rope in no time.

By the start of Season 3, Lydia has gone from enthusiastic but unsure country bumpkin to talent manager. Instead of being a cater-waiter looking to industry pros for advice, Lydia spends Season 3 as an industry pro asking her friends for advice on how to better parent her daughter. She also strikes up a relationship with a rival.


Season 3 brings in fresh faces with new ways of chasing the same familiar dreams. Lucy Dang isn't just a catering chef; she's a creator of food experiences. Whether creating existential crisis cake balls or substance balls made of paper and spikes, each morsel Lucy creates is a way for her to express her art.

Lucy works at Party Down to pay the bills — and to "borrow" some of the budget to pay for her own ingredients to make an audition piece for Hauteur, her dream restaurant. Lucy is a new twist on Roman's character. She's smug, she's superior, but unlike Roman, Lucy is also very sure of herself.

Lucy's dream is still out of reach, but she has an almost unshakeable belief that one day she will grab it, turn it into food paste, and use it to blow the world's mind — and tastebuds. Of course, she accidentally gets her start by blowing Ron's mind by returning the sense of smell he lost during COVID-19 with her sinus-clearing audition morsel.


Sackson will do anything to get to the top, even if it means falling down the stairs. Sackson is another fresh face in Season 3, and a twist on Kyle's familiar star-chasing antics. Instead of wanting to make it big as an actor, Sackson wants to climb to the top of the content creator heap. Unlike Kyle, Sackson makes major strides in his success fairly quickly. But like the millennial blondie, Sackson also struggles with knowing where to draw the lines between dreams and destruction.

Sackson violates Ron's bathroom rule in Season 3 Episode 1 to film a dance video in a coveted mirror set-up. The video goes viral, and Sackson can only top it when his slide down an escalator turns into a hard tumble. Just like Kyle has to constantly hustle for auditions, Sackson has to keep pivoting to build his audience.

In the midst of trying not to lose the foothold he's gotten in the content game, Sackson does lose himself during a "Sting"-related sting operation while on mushrooms. Henry and Evie manage to find him, and Sackson seems more than capable of continuing to find himself — and his audience.


Casey Klein starts "Party Down" barreling towards her dreams with one foot on the gas and the other in the face of authority. Casey is determined to be a comedian, even if the audition grind and Ron's uptight rules grind her gears. Casey is part of the cater-waiter crew Henry rejoins in Season 1, Episode 1. The two have instant chemistry in the way only sardonic brunette comedians who end up catering while pretending to be too cool for the dreams they desperately hope come true can have.

While Casey starts the series actively pursuing her goals, she's puzzled by Henry's refusal to try acting again. Casey never lets up on mocking Henry in an attempt to get him to try acting again throughout their situationship. Casey is often frustrated by the double standards dealt to her, but that frustration is nothing compared to the heartbreak she experiences when her Apatow movie scene is cut. Henry gives her a genuine pep talk about her talent, but Casey can't bring herself to believe it. If Henry doesn't believe in the dream for him, how could he possibly believe it can come true for her?

Casey's belief in making it might be thin after such a loss, but she does believe she's good. She bets on herself, unlike Henry, and part of her accepting the gigs she does get — and dropping everything, including Henry, for those opportunities — is what makes her a heartbreaker and a success. Even though Casey is absent from Season 3, since we last saw her, she "got" SNL and at least one major TV role. She's living the dream, right?

Henry and Evie

At the top of Season 3, Henry connects with Evie Adler (Jennifer Garner), a funny and charming producer on the arm of the irritatingly handsome and wildly successful actor, Jack Botty (James Marsden). Evie is warm and direct, and seems genuinely interested in working with Henry as an actor. She hires Party Down to throw Jack's 45th surprise birthday party, where Henry discovers Jack cheating on her with some young starlet. He consoles Evie and she gives him her number.

The pair start dating and have an easygoing and happy connection that contrasts severely with the sharp and sneaky thing Henry and Casey had going on. Like Casey, though, Evie also believes in Henry's acting ability, and lines up a possible part for him in the superhero film series she's producing. Evie's commitment inspires Henry to give his English students his best and to connect with a student who wants to quit the (incest-heavy) classic play they're performing with some acting of his own. Henry and Evie spend Season 3 in a legitimately healthy relationship that helps them both build up the confidence to chase a new dream in their lives. 

For Evie, that's going abroad to take a producing promotion, then eventually making another independent film. For Henry, it's deciding not to take the acting role on offer, but out of love of a new game, not a fear of failure. Henry cares about his students and even about helping Ron and the crew. He and Evie make a sweet, clean parting — just in time for Casey to make a surprising return in the final moments of Season 3. She's back in town for a bit — and maybe for good — and she hates the dream she's been living. She too is ready for something new and Henry can't help but smile about it.