SEARCH PARTY (SERIES, 2016)
We’re living in a cocktail of grief culture mixed with entrepreneurial self absorption and Search Party puts it on the rocks and says drink up. And it’s funny when you do.
Every episode follows 4 co-leads as they deal with their own personal issues, with the main driving force being the search for a missing classmate.
The acting absolutely carries the show. Charismatic and pointed — almost to caricature levels — the four friends’ banter and interactions are simply delightful. They feed into each other’s fun and neurosis, and are selfish people that you can’t help but love to watch and root for (reminiscent of Seinfeld, here). Their selfish motives are just because, well, they’re all selfish. It’s sort of like what I’ve heard about lining up in China — it’s not rude if everyone’s pushing to the front, it’s just the way it is. Fair is fair.
The clan of 4 lives in their own ultra-dramatic bubble, with the outside world sometimes providing a grounded foil to their hijinx and sometimes escalating them. You never know which it’ll be, which keeps the show both fun and leaning enough into realism that the plot and social commentary feel real and justified.
Maybe because I’ve been watching more ‘real-life’ / mumble core based comedy lately, but I found the occasional network style punchlines refreshing and often hilarious.
On a thematic level, the show seems to be attempting to both portray the self absorbed, apathetic millennial and justify their existence in the same breath. By the end of the season, we have the full picture: we’re all just self absorbed and creating meaning out of nothing. There’s nothing bigger than what we see, so we might as well do right by ourselves, who cares if some people get hurt along the way.
It’s honest in a dark way — which makes the comedy hit harder and deserve that much more attention. No one learns from their mistakes, and even though there are striking emotional moments, the characters seem to rebound from them with little more than scratches or a good natured guffaw. Of course the last episode is an exception, but the tone remains — it all seems like it’ll be fine in the end.
Crossing my finger for more seasons. In season 2, maybe Dory opens her own PI firm? The actors are so charismatic and fun — characters without quite hitting cliche — that I could watch them for a long time.
Search Party seems to highlight the modern outlook that everything matters and nothing matters, everything is serious and nothing is serious. Great show. I want more.