[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Party Down Season 3 Episode 6, “Sepulveda Basin High School Spring Play Opening Night.”]
It’s not every day that a much-loved cult comedy is brought back to television 13 years after it ended its original run, but Party Down didn’t miss a single beat heading into its sixth and final chapter of the long-hoped-for third season with particular emphasis on a mid-credit cameo.
While the latest installment saw the team covering a wrap party for Henry’s (Adam Scott) drama students, the bright future he’d been beginning to scope out as the latest season unfolded was graciously denied as he gave up a role in a franchise film to stay close to the high school where he’s now teaching when he isn’t participating in the Party Down operation. Although his dream of becoming a successful actor seems to have been put to bed by the end of this season, along with his brief Relationship with Hollywood exec Evie (Jennifer Garner), one loose thread was unfurled in the finale’s last scene.
Flashing forward in time, Henry’s still working for Party Down and operating under Ron Donald’s (Ken Marino) direction, and as he’s cutting limes in the kitchen for their latest gig, he runs into a familiar face: Casey (Lizzy Caplan). His former colleague and on-again-off-again hookup hit it big in the years in between Seasons 2 and 3, but when she sneaks into the kitchen looking for a bottle of vodka, the pair are finally reunited.
Caplan’s return comes as a bit of a surprise considering her schedule got in the way of seeing her return full-time. “We had pitched Starz an entire season of Henry and Casey reuniting after 10 years or whatever,” executive producer John Enbom tells TV Insider. “That was what we had originally outlined, and then, unfortunately, we came to discover that Lizzy was not available and Adam’s schedule was incredibly tight, but we all really wanted to figure out a way to keep her alive in there. Adam also very much wanted to have her be involved on some level if we could figure it out.”
Executive producer Rob Thomas chimes in, noting that part of the difficulty in organizing the reunion was the fact that Caplan was “on another coast.”
“Yeah, she was in New York the whole time. So, what we finally were able to do was we got permission from Starz that if we could come up with something we could shoot on a Saturday or a Sunday in New York where she was off the schedule of her other work and it could essentially be shot with minimal resources,” then they’d get the approval, Enbom reveals.
“We knew we had been trying to find something for this endpoint, and so, once we knew our parameters, we wrote the scene,” Enbom recalls. He says it was about a week or two after wrapping Season 3’s bulk of filming that “just a little gang flew out to New York and met up with her in the kitchen of some random restaurant in New York” to shoot it.
In the scene, Casey and Henry barely have time to catch up before she’s led away by someone working on the junket she’s participating in on behalf of her latest project, a TV series titled The Stabilizer. But as Casey gives Henry a hug goodbye, she says they should hang out soon whispering low into his ear, “which will be very soon because I’m about to quit this f**king thing.”
Does that mean there’s hope for more Caplan in a potential fourth season? Thomas says he and the team are “crossing our fingers on that. We would love to do it.” He clarifies that “Starz has to see how the season performs and what the algorithm says. At the end of the day though, they could not have been any lovelier,” he praises, noting how Starz was “aggressive in the promotion of the show.”
“This was the first season where it didn’t feel like the show was released into a vacuum,” Thomas marvels. “Starz will determine whether they want another season. I feel confident if they want another season, that we will be able to figure out some way to make it happen and we will figure out a time when Lizzy can join us on that.”
“I think she’s somewhat insisted on that,” Enbom adds. “So, we very much want it to happen ourselves.” While the team behind the comedy may be ready to carry on, that doesn’t mean there are any definite plans yet. But Enbom goes back to the concept they originally pitched for the third season focusing on a reunion between Casey and Henry. “We aren’t getting together and brainstorming, but there’s no doubt we would be aiming to hang much of the [fourth] season on what we had hoped to do originally,” he says. “Some version of them coming back together after having been on these diverging paths for so long.”
Again, it boils down to Starz as Enbom says, “If Starz was so kind as to give us another at-bat, I think, we wanna be able to jump in there with as much razzle-dazzle for them as we can.”
And with hope for more Caplan as Casey, does that mean we’ve seen the last of Evie, who sort of stood in as her replacement this season? Enbom says should the show continue, they’re not opposed to bringing her back, “I certainly would,” he says enthusiastically. “I think she did an amazing job and she brought a very different energy and type of character to the show than we had before.”
As for possible storylines, Enbom ponders, “I mean, would I be interested in seeing what happens if [Evie] gets fired and caught up in a scandal or something like that? I think that could be fun, but maybe that’s just me.”
Needless to say, the possibilities are endless. As for the parties that they may want to tackle in the future, Enbom says, “we always have this two-step process to find the ones that work. So we definitely have a lot in the back of our minds. At one point, we even had talked about the idea that Jennifer Coolidge‘s character had a successful twin sister, and the event is her doing the funeral reception for Bobbie St. Brown. But we couldn’t figure out what we would actually do with it,” the EP laments. “But maybe we could figure that out.”
We’ll certainly be tuning in one way or another should Party Down be back. Let us know what you thought of the return season in the comments, below, and stay tuned for any updates on a potential fourth season.
Party Down, Seasons 1-3, Streaming now, Starz