Tuesday, January 3, 2017

TV Review: Search Party Season 1 (2016)

Search Party (2016) - Created by Sarah Violet-Bliss, Charles Rogers, Michael Showalter; Starring Alia Shawkat, John Reynolds, John Ealy, Meredith Hagner, Ron Livingston, Christine Taylor.

By Kenny Howell

Recently, TBS has become a go to place for great new comedies.

There is Angie Tribeca, People of Earth, The Detour, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and this hilarious send up of PI shows and movies.

Search Party stars Alia Shawkat (Green Room) as one of four self-obsessed friends in Brooklyn. Shawkat's Dory becomes intrigued when a former college classmate of theirs named Chantal, a girl they weren't really friends with, goes missing. Seeing it as her calling, she sets out to find out what happened, teaming up with a private investigator along the way.

Dory has a laser like focus which starts to drive her a little crazy and forces her to make some stupid decisions. That troubles her boyfriend Drew, but her other friends Portia and Elliot are along for the ride when it isn't inconvenient for them.

Shawkat is perfectly cast as the steady hand that carries the series. Her style has always been to stand outside the joke almost, either snarking about it, or just doing her own thing like Arrested Development's Maeby. Here she is very much the driving force of the narrative, almost the straight man to the insanity around her, though she does have a hand in creating that insanity.

The real star of the show for me was Meredith Hagner as Portia. She plays a ditzy actress that stars in cheesy detective show, and just wants everyone to know about it. Hagner has a gift for reactionary acting, and the show puts her in some some of the worst situations. I was not familiar with Hagner before seeing this, but if she doesn't become a star, there is no justice in this world.

Search Party is still playing on TBS, and they have been doing binge marathons lately. It is definitely worth the four plus hours it will take you to watch the entire season.

Rating: ***1/2

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