Party Down

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Party Down TV Poster Image
Kids shouldn't RSVP to clever-but-mature comedy.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show's main goal seems to be to confirm every shallow, entitled stereotype of rich Southern Californians -- and the bitter and/or incompetent people they hire to throw their parties. There's plenty of humor to be had in that premise, but it doesn't exactly convey any positive messages. A couple of characters struggle to overcome the cynicism that surrounds them, but that's not the main point.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No clear-cut role models here. The team leader tries to do the right thing (and tends to over-police his employees' bad behavior) but usually fails miserably due to his own incompetence. Some stereotyping based on race, gender, and sexuality. A few characters try to pursue their dreams, but that often means blowing off responsibility and/or taking advantage of connections.


Rare instances of light aggression, like one character pushing another into a pool.


Several references to masturbation (one employee received five warnings on the job for masturbating in closets; another uses a stain stick on his pants to get a stain out and is thought to be masturbating, etc.) and occasional nudity (including topless women and brief full frontal male nudity). Other examples include an employee making out with a teenage party guest and another employee receiving a hand job from a different party guest (although the act is hidden behind the dashboard of a car). One episode takes place at a party for the porn industry and includes topless women and a shot of male genitalia.


Unbleeped words run the gamut from "f--k" (used many times) to "goddammit." You'll also hear terms like "penis," "c--k," "nut cancer," "MILF action," "faggiest," and "pubes."


Name-dropping is rare, but characters do mention things the Parliament cigarette brand and a specific brand of Cuban cigars.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Since every episode takes place at a different catered event, there's a lot of social drinking and some overindulgence. The bartender often takes shots of alcohol on the job and drinks after events with other employees. Specific drinks are mentioned by name -- like "G&T" (for gin and tonic) -- and some characters smoke. One refers to a time when he was "boozing, drinking,and getting high in the van." In at least one episode, a character takes Ecstasy.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this comedy about a catering business is full of all kinds of iffy behavior -- from drinking and unbleebed swearing on the job to employees accepting sexual favors from party guests. There's occasional nudity, and characters trade sexually charged barbs and insults (like "Dude, you just f--ked me in the ass") and make politically incorrect assumptions about race, gender, and sexual preference. In short: It's funny, but it isn't meant for kids.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKristin852 January 27, 2015


Sex,Sex, Sex, Sex. But still...... a good movie. ( If your an adult)!
Adult Written byFancyChristine15 October 7, 2010

Ok for Adults

This show is ok. It has some funny moments. It is about a catering company and in one episode they catered a porn convention. I think that was unnecessary. Ther... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bybreatheSWScarolina April 29, 2012

Inappropriate but comical

This show is not totally bad but kids under 15 won't understand it. There is a bit of nudity in this show. In the pilot episode a man strips down and jumps... Continue reading

What's the story?

A motley crew of Hollywood party caters (including characters played by Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, and Jane Lynch) goes through the motions under the direction of a team leader (Ken Marino) who takes his responsibilities to the extreme in PARTY DOWN, a pay-cable comedy executive produced by actor Paul Rudd, among others. In each episode, the gang muddles their way through another event, from birthday parties to awards shows, all the while waiting for their big chance to move on to something better. (Fun fact: Fred Savage -- who shot to fame as a child star on the nostalic sitcom The Wonder Years -- directs some episodes.)

Is it any good?

By transplanting the one-camera workplace dramedy (think The Office) to the realm of event catering, Party Down reveals the lighter side of what it's like to serve heavy hors d'oeuvres and cocktails to people you've never met before -- and will probably never see again in your life. The cleverly cast ensemble of working actors (who are, of course, playing servers who want to become working actors and screenwriters) has solid chemistry, and the show is sure to appeal to fans of similarly quirky comedies.

A runaway hit? Maybe not. But the best thing Party Down has going for it is comedic potential. After all, the right actors are in place, and the decision to set the show in Tinseltown, starting each episode at the beginning of a new event and ending it when the party's over, opens the door to guest spots, side plots, and endless possibilities.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of crude humor. Why is it funny to some people and not to others?

  • What do you think the characters' motivations are? Why might they be working as party caterers? Have you ever had a job that you really didn't like? What didn't you like about it, and did that ever make it more tempting to goof off or do a mediocre job?

  • Do you have a dream job? What are the odds of getting it, and how long would you pursue it before giving up?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

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