I'm the kind of person that doesn't like anything too dark. Of course, I watch true crime shows, but they don't layer on extra pathos or sadness - they're straightforward and matter of fact. But navel-gazing, overwrought dramas with uneasy or unhappy endings, I just don't like. I struggled with anxiety and mild depression off and on in my life, and now after feeling really in control of my issues, I just like what I like and avoid anything too depressing.
So I thought I'd have issues with Search Party, as the marketing pitched it as hipsters finding themselves, colored with lots of stares into the uncertain future and pretentious bon mots - I had to watch it though as of course it was about an investigation, how could I not? And I'm so glad I did - I LOVE IT. It's now become a twisted Thanksgiving tradition (it premieres around mid or late Nov). I'm sure you've heard of it (and have watched it since the headline boldly proclaims SPOILERS), but if you haven't, it's about a group of hipsters, who indulge their friend Dory's obsession with finding a missing acquaintance from her college days. They all fit a hipster stereotype - the flitty actress (Meredith Hagner), the normcore boyfriend (John Reynolds), the man-about-town but how-does-he-pay-rent-does-he-have-a-job? fabulous fabulist (John Early playing Elliot, who is one of the funniest fucking people alive). Leading them all is Dory, the millennial leading a meh life who craves authority and excitement. She is played by the magnetic Alia Shawkat who I want to see in everything now as I can't take my eyes off her when she's on screen.
What makes the show so great is that tonally it nails both dark humor, intense drama (someone gets killed in the first season, and the second season is about thwarting the authorities), and hipster satire. The actors do play stereotypes, but they fill them in with so many shades of quirks, humor, desperation, everything - and do it so well. And I have to say it again - John Early is a freakin genius. That's saying a lot because the other actors are also brilliant. PS Early's outfits are amazing, and I found the designer who makes Elliot's style come to life on Instagram, give her a follow: Heidi Lee.
There's a really amazing alignment with the show and the sexual harassment reckoning happening now, where it calls to question legitimately a woman's claim of abuse, and female-on-male harassment. Totally in the zeitgeist and mind blowing considering the episodes were, I imagine, shot before the Harvey Weinstein scandal started the tsunami of allegations. So well done and it flips on its head the whole issue. Search Party is about truth and how we try to hide behind it, and while it seems this season may not lead to many more plot twists, I'm hoping it becomes a Thanksgiving tradition for at least a few more years.