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Photo: ‘Search Party’
Ever since its first premiere on TBS back in 2016, ‘Search Party’ has become somewhat of a hidden gem amongst the world of television. It’s one of those shows where anyone can find something they like about it, along with being a refreshing source of dark comedy entertainment coupled with a classic yearnful mystery to be solved. I thoroughly enjoyed this show when it first came out, but found it hard to tune in all the time due to not having the time to catch it; so, I had only seen a few episodes from time to time. But, thanks to the series being moved to HBO Max in 2016 at the start of its third season, I was able to binge my heart out to this show and fully engross myself into it.
It is gratefully through this that I feel as though this movement to HBO Max was just the catalyst that ‘Search Party’ needed to get its foot in the door of being reigned amongst a truly enjoyable weird dark comedy to a wider audience. And now that we’ve finally reached this point where we must say goodbye to the series after the fantastic premiere of the last season, we learn to strangely recognize ourselves as the main character (in some aspect or another) and all the far beyond absurd ways that life surprises us; even if those ways are nearly extremely odd.
Searching For A Deeper Way Into A Weird World
Created in 2016 by Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, and Michael Showalter, ‘Search Party’ follows Dory (Alia Shawkat), who’s a twenty-something tired assistant in a tiresome relationship. However, when an old college acquaintance suddenly goes missing, Dory hyperfixates on the investigation and dives further down in hopes of solving the case. Bringing her two friends Portia (Meredith Hagner) and Elliott (John Early), along with her awkward boyfriend, Drew (John Reynolds), into the case with her, Dory and the group go on a variety of strange encounters and situations that span across the series in an ultimately entertaining way.
What once was just a simple mystery mixed in with dark comedy has now aged into something of a modern classic comedy series that deserves a spot in the world of comedic gems to watch repeatedly. The excitement I had while I was anxiously awaiting for the fourth season of ‘Search Party’ to release back in 2021 was still very prominent in the case of waiting for the new fifth season. This was mainly due to how the writers effortlessly utilized the classic “oh my gosh, what??” moment at the finale of season four; so I was rather excited to see how the fifth and final season would begin, and end, as soon as it premiered.
Now after finishing the fifth season, and now the show in its entirety, I can tell you all with the utmost certainty that ‘Search Party’ has created a track record of never losing even a tiny bit of its original comedic charm and the true oddball-ity of it all. Transforming from a classic small group of friends trying to be all there for each other during a weird time of a sudden missing acquaintance, and then into just four people who are continuing to maintain a somehow steady identity, the series ends with a bang as Dory overall attempts to uphold a static relationship with everyone as she’s transitioning into a new part of herself; wanting to keep the glue that held them all together as one kept intact despite all the changes they’ve gone through these past five seasons that would separate them otherwise.
A Party Of Oddballs
The acting in the fifth season proves that the chemistry that the actors have established with each other over the years has just gotten stronger and stronger. Alia Shawkat (Dory) continues to knock her performance out of the ballpark, and it felt as though she had changed along with the character as well. This same element also, of course, goes to the other wonderful actors playing their characters in this wild bunch.
Meredith Hagner does an incredible job maintaining the role of being out-of-touch, while also still showing that she’s become magnificently smart and someone who can hold her own. John Early is wonderful by still being someone who is rather selfish in love, but still, someone who’s found his sense of purpose in his own way. Lastly, John Reynolds interestingly shows a lot of character development throughout the series (and especially in this last season), and he’s finding his path in love and lifestyle as he navigates through everything that’s happened to him.
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With all of this said, I feel as though it’s entirely fair to mention that the performances from the actors in the fifth season showcased their talents, and revealed to us just who these characters have become and how we’ve developed a stronger love for them as we’ve seen all the growth that they’ve been through. Through all the utterly bizarre and strange encounters and things everyone has endured, the actors keep the absurdity of it all strong in a vastly entertaining way.
The Search Party Has Come To An End
Throughout all the endurance of watching these rather self-absorbed characters go into bizarre situations, it was within these five seasons that we’ve developed quite an admiration for them. Everything we’ve luckily been able to experience with this show over the years has proven to us that comedy is not quite dead and that it most likely won’t be for some time. It’s odd to say that I’ll miss a group of characters that I usually disagreed with at times, but there was something so human about being emphatic about a group of people whose morals didn’t always line up in my world. The writing in the fifth season of ‘Search Party’ emphasizes that idea of feeling human, giving the audience an utmost sense of pathos. Ultimately, it feels odd to say goodbye to them.
I’m grateful that this show never got canceled, or was something tossed into the shadows and only left to maintain niche fans. It only feels right that the talents of ‘Search Party’s creators got the opportunity to shine, and I absolutely love what they turned the show into. They’ve done something incredible; and once you reach the final episode that will have you explode into a world full of emotions as you enter the wild rollercoaster that it is, you’ll be happy that you stayed for so long on this fantastic ride.
Cinematography: Jonathan Furmanski, Pedro Gómez Millán, Kat Westergaard | Editor(s): Jon Higgins, Jon Philpot, Laura Weinberg | Director(s): Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers | Writer(s): Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers | Producers: Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, John Skidmore
By Leah Donato
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