Last years hit from a newly revamped, and new audience focused TBS was the millennial mystery Search Party. It may have seemed like a quirky, thrillier version of other millennial focused shows think Girls, but it proved to much more biting and intriguing. Of course another boon to the show is the fabulous cast that is not afraid to show the worst versions of themselves and shove it back in their viewers faces, and Alia Shawkat is no Lena Dunham (and that is such! a good thing).
Search Party centered on the life of Dory (Shawkat), her narcissistic friends Elliot (John Early) and Portia (Meredith Hagnar), her endearing, if slightly goofy boyfriend Drew (John Reynolds), her blunt, intellectual ex-boyfriend Julian (Mayor’s star Brandon Michael Hall) and of course the elusive, missing person Chantal.
Dory is riveted by the case of Chantal, a girl she really had no friendship with, a mere passing acquaintance in college. She becomes quickly obsessed because as Julian tells her, “This matters to you because you have nothing else.” This is frank but true as the all too true reality of a stagnant millennial with nothing going on in their life is literally depressingly accurate. The moment in her interview for a job she doesn’t really want, but desperately needs when Dory says “Everybody can tell me what I can’t do, but nobody can tell me what I can do.” is a very familiar feeling for a lot of twenty-somethings.
Of course, not every twenty-something becomes obsessed with a missing person case, and as shown in Search Party that won’t turn out well. The show is bitingly satirical, and a black comedy that exploits the self-absorbed mindset that permeates modern society, and especially millennial society. Take for instant the moment that Elliot goes on a journey of “self-discovery” to Africa to provide water bottles of villages, he very clearly promoting his own generosity as a pat on his own back, not because he genuinely cares about helping people. That scathing commentary on life is one of the strongest elements of Search Party, and it is one of the reasons that it stands out as a comedy, even in the time of so many good televisions shows. Search Party found it’s niche in parody of the very life that so many young people want, pretty friends to have brunch with, a studio loft with books stacked loose-leaf just so against the wall with ironic Boroque-esqe paintings hanging above it, and clothes that are thrift-shop like, but probably came from an Urban Outfitters. It is very ~Brooklyn~ and wants you to know it.
The creators and producers of Search Party gave us an interesting ending last season that both shocked us, and left us with a feeling of let-down (the let-down was a stroke of genius and very on brand for the series). But don’t take my word for it, the entire first season is available to stream, commercial free on TBS in a very Netflix inspired move before Season 2 returns tonight at 10/9c.