Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ken Marino Is Everywhere - Party Down, Greek, The United States of Tara

Is it me or is Ken Marino everywhere these days? What I love about him is that he's a pretty handsome fellow but he usually makes himself look pretty slimy and full in character on various shows. While he was lovely and charming on Leap of Faith, he was positively... icky/charming/doofusey as Vinnie on Veronica Mars.

I haven't even caught up with him on Reaper yet (this season or the second half the of the 1st season, I only got to the first few eps with him and Ian Michael Black as the devilish gay couple) but he's the main reason why I've haven't deleted the show yet. Plus he appeared in the pilot for In The Motherhood as yet another slimy coworker to Cheryl Hines.

Now he's in the new show Party Down from the Veronica Mars gang led by Rob Thomas AND co-created by Paul Rudd, he cameo'd in the season 2 part 2 (seriously, just call it season 4 would you abcFamily?) of Greek and he guest starred as a slimy convention guy in The United States of Tara. Does the guy rest?

So I'm behind on all three shows (because I just don't get those those US cable channels up here in Canada so it's all on delay) but I'm loving them all!

Party Down - Willow Canyon Homeowners Annual Party, California College Conservative Union Caucus - Eps. 101-102 - Series Premiere

Seriously, it's like a Veronica Mars reunion. Rob Thomas!? (Cupid), Ken Marino (Vinnie Van Lowe) AND Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablanca)! And a guest staring role for Daddy Mars Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint) in the first episode and Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls) in the second episode!

AND to have my favorite under-appreciated actor Adam Scott (Step Brothers, Tell Me I Love You, and who guested as a teacher on Veronica Mars) as Henry Pollard, the lead loser who winds up working for Marino's Ron Donald's party caterers company.

Add Jane Lynch (upcoming Glee, Role Models and apparently every TV show EVER, including of course, Veronica Mars), Lizzy Caplan (The Class, Cloverfield) and Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks, Superbad), I'm loving all the loser characters on this show.

I love that the show is partially serious but with a dry wit, yet is completely ridiculous without seeming like it's ridiculous. They've built a nice set of losers (with the great set of comedic actors to back them up) and then let them roll with a new party set up for every episode (the first one at a loser's suburban home (Colantoni) and the second at a college republican's group with Dohring AND Alona Tal (Meg Manning on Veronica Mars) as the plastique young republicans (LOVED Dohring's wiglike hair. Hysterical!!!).

Plus, Ken Marino, with that flattop buzzcut is such an outrageous character, but is nicely balance with Adam Scott's moroseness. Yet Marino never makes it like a sketch comedy character but reigns it in just enough to make it plausible (as is Lynch's portrayal).

Love the format, love the cast, and love the pseudo Veronica Mars reunion.

More on Greek and The United States of Tara:

Greek - Take Me Home, Cyprus-Rhodes, From Rushing With Love - Ep. 211-212 - Season 2 Part 2 Premiere

Okay, so Ken Marino's little guest cameo seemed a bit wasted as a camp counselor at Rusty's summer job. I kept thinking it would be far more hilarious than it was. But let's face it, the real awesomeness is back at Cyprus-Rhodes.

Especially now that it's FINALLY a brand new year and Rusty is finally a Sophomore. And new pledges are descending upon the Kappa Tau house (and every other house on the block). And Jesse McCartney is Andy, one of the new rushes!!!

Seriously, how cute is the new bromance rush crush developing between Rusty and Andy?!!

Plus I'm actually loving this new Frannie rival house IKI (stupid and hilarious) and Rebecca as the mole.

Plus I can't believe how much I miss The Beaver (the adorable Aaron Hill) and I love that Heath (Zach Lively) is still prominently featured as a glorified extra, if only to remind us that gays do exist in the greek system. (Though Heath's reaction to Beaver's girl callout was freaking funny and a nice way to slip in a gay shout out).

I'm also glad Max is back (Michael Rady) and I like the subtle meta-joke when some of the Zeta Beta girls declare their love to the hot greek guy in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

The United States of Tara - Revolution, Transition, Alterations, Abundance, Possibility, Betrayal - Eps. 105-110

I still haven't finished watching the final 2 episodes of the terrific first season but while I initially had some reservations for the show, I grew to really love the first 4 episodes, but since then, I found it's only gotten better and richer and deeper, especially with Tara's sister character Charmaine (a terrific Rosemarie DeWitt) and Tara's husband Max (John Corbett who is finally really growing on me with this show).

Obviously I was loving Marshall (Keir Gilchrist who is WAY beyond his actual years in maturity and understanding his character) and his gay storyline with religious Jason (Andrew Lawrence). I like that Max is cool with it, and that Charmaine has this strange relationship with Marshall. Plus, kissing the hot religious boy-next-door story is always hot.

Brie Larsen has also made Kate so much more than just the pretty misunderstood blonde teenager, and her hilarious outburst, reactions and actions against Tara, her job, and the creepy boss Gene (Nathan Corddry, so good at the geek creep thing).

And Tara/T/Buck/Alice. It's already a role made for awards. Still, you have to give Toni Collette credit for making you forget it's a role and making you believe that this Tara really does exists. It's simply fabulous but she doesn't overplay it either (which could have been so easy here) and she doesn't take over the whole show. It's to her credit (and writer Diablo Cody) that she's just part of the marvelous ensemble that bounces off this odd situation the family is put in.

And while the show may have started like some kind of cable gimmick with the multiple personalities, it's really turned into a compelling family drama.

Oh, and yeah, Ken Marino was hilarious as the creepy guy at the convention, who with his friend (Ryan Eggold! Teach! from 90210) were trying to pick up Tara and daughter Kate. Also, bonus points for the show for having Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille)!

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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