I’m getting myself settled to write with a strawberry cream cheese bagel next to me, and the first thing I see when I look up from my laptop is my new Hitchcock-esque “Search Party” poster framed nice and pretty on the wall in front of me.
It’s a purchase from my recent art-acquiring binge, but most importantly a token of my newly acquired love for the thankfully still-airing show.
Do you ever experience something so captivating and attention-getting only to be left with a void in your heart and sense of longing once it’s gone?
Yeah, that’s how I’d describe finishing “Search Party.”
My entertainment consumption has skyrocketed in recent months to the point where I’ve noticed I feel more sane and balanced when I have time to indulge a novel or film at least once a day. Don’t ask me where I’d be without Letterboxd or the “Court of Thorns and Roses” book series.
After calming down my movie-devouring habit — though I’ll never stop being in the mood for any neo-noir or romantic drama from the ‘80s and ‘90s — I was introduced to “Search Party.” One word: life-changing.
I say that as someone who doesn’t regularly watch TV shows. I have a hard time getting invested in the plot and characters, and I can’t bear to sit through 50-minute episodes for innumerable seasons at a time.
“Search Party” goes at the perfect pace. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I was so drawn to it from the get-go. With three seasons, each comprising 10 25-minute episodes, it only takes a few days to get through. That is, if you spend any free time in your evenings gulping down episode after episode. I credit the extra free time to a lack of commute to campus. Thanks, Zoom University.
The show — a dark comedy/thriller — follows a close-knit group of college friends in New York City. After Dory Seif (played by the wonderful Alia Shawkat, probably most recognizable as Maeby from “Arrested Development”) becomes concerningly keen on solving the disappearance of a college acquaintance, there’s no turning back for her or her best friends.
I wish I could go into the details of the plot, but I’d ramble for pages. What starts as a harmless search for Chantal (Clare McNulty) turns into more than anyone wanted to ever deal with, testing the limits of friendship and love.
The character development in the show is enough to make me love it. Dory is a strong-willed, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer gal determined to crack the case of the missing woman. Drew (John Paul Reynolds) doesn’t have much choice in aiding Dory — also his girlfriend — as he tries to keep their faltering relationship intact. John Early’s Elliott, a self-diagnosed narcissist, and Meredith Hagner’s Portia, a working actress, are over-the-top style enthusiasts dying for any attention they can get.
Each character is often portrayed extravagantly, sometimes seeming like a spoof of their personality types, making the comedic elements pure gold. On multiple occasions throughout the three seasons, Elliott would find himself screaming “PORTIA!!!!!” at the top of his lungs for whatever stupid action she took, and it had me laughing to the point of tears each time.
The comedy is the perfect embellishment to the drama at hand. Every cliffhanger gets the job done — they leave you dying for more. While some story arcs really leave you wanting more, I’m holding out hope they’ll come into play in further seasons (the fourth is projected to come out sometime in 2021).
The home decor is enough reason to add this to your watchlist — Dory and Drew’s airy apartment is filled with plants, color and books stacks piled halfway to the ceiling.
Dory recently graduated from college and is going about life with little direction. She works as an assistant to a rich woman in the city, and no job she applies for piques her curiosity enough to badly want it.
Dory might just be the most relatable character I’ve come across in recent times. Well, her essence at least — I can’t quite go into the details of her character without spoiling, as badly as I’m itching to, because I’m over here trying to get you to watch the show.
Though there’s still some time before the expiration of my formal education years hits, I can’t help but see a part of myself in her — feel the feelings she’s feeling, if you will. She craves mystery and adventure and refuses to pause for any roadblock. Though my life isn’t a metaphor for a sheet of paper going through a shredder, recent times have me clawing for things to feel normal.
Where Dory is getting her fill fixating on the mystery of finding a random person who once helped her in a school hallway, I’m fine with my weekly adventure to the laundromat and wading into Lake Michigan from my favorite entry point with my favorite people.
“Search Party” is streaming on HBO Max.