You’d have to be blind not to have noticed some of the advertising around town for TBS’ new show Search Party, but if you’re like I was a week ago, chances are you might not be entirely sure what it’s about, minus the fact that Alia Shawkat is somehow involved. So let me just start out by saying that it is amazing, and you should watch the premiere on TBS tonight (11pm EST), okay?
“But what does that even mean, Megan?”
It means that I got invited to binge-watch the entire first season at Metrograph on the Lower East Side last Wednesday, and while I was apprehensive about spending around five hours pounding back-to-back episodes of a show I knew very little about, I quickly became ultra-hooked and stayed until the end.
“What’s it ABOUT, though, Megan?!”
Oh, right! Well, the best way I can think to describe it is GIRLS meets CSI; it’s a satire on millennials and how self-absorbed we can be, but at its core it’s also a murder mystery. (Or, a missing persons mystery, anyway.)
Alia Shawkat’s character Dory is a college grad working in NYC as a personal assistant to a rich housewife (HQ is what appears to be one of those fancy Williamsburg waterfront apartments), and she’s (to put it lightly) completely lost re: true sense of purpose. However, that all changes when she comes across a missing poster for a girl she went to school with; she becomes obsessed with getting to the bottom of what happened to Chantal (of fucking course her name is Chantal) for perhaps the most millennial reason of all: would anyone care if Dory went missing? (Even the do-gooder has a me-me-me complex.)
We also meet her egocentric squad, which includes the flamboyant Elliott (played by John Early), whose MO is to tell you about how he survived cancer one time, NBD, and who now heads up an artisanal water business that donates a percentage of a percentage of profits to African villages; the very vain, slightly vapid but mostly well-meaning Portia (played by Meredith Hagner), an actress; and Dory’s boyfriend Drew (played by John Reynolds), who’s the stereotypical hipster “nice guy”: largely spineless at the best of times, and a flat-out dick at the worst.
Through Dory’s search to find Chantal, all of the characters have a chance to develop and become “better” people, though we also see that sometimes helping others for the wrong reasons (aka to make ourselves feel better under the guise of good will) can end up vilifying us. (And if you watch it to completion, you’ll see that in the case of Search Party I mean this quite literally.)
Overall, the cringe-worthy moments are a cautionary tale for those of us who can get swept up in the age of social media likes; we ought to pay closer attention to each other to promote a group well-being, even when no one is watching. (Especially post-election, amirite?)
The show is fantastically funny, so the brilliant writers (and cast) ought to give themselves a gigantic pat on the back for nailing the dark humor in this first season. In terms of a second season, I sincerely hope there’ll be one, but that depends on you tuning in to watch. (So do it, idiots, because it’s really, really good!)