Search Party is a dark comedy that channels the nostalgic memory of Nancy Drew, and it does so very effortlessly. The first two episodes of the show make you feel like you’re in a modern-day mystery novel, and you get invested before you even realize it.
We’re introduced to a varied collection of characters, all of whom have something different to bring to the table but who we don’t see ourselves connecting with. They all seem selfish in an unforgivable way yet it reminds us so much of ourselves.
Dory (Alia Shawkat) is someone who just wants to find meaning in her life, something she doesn’t even realize that she’s struggling with until Chantal’s disappearance. Once Dory sees that a girl she met in college one time is gone, she starts to look more into herself, wondering if anyone would care about her if she was in the same position. This turns into her looking for Chantal because she just can’t shake the feeling that this girl is alive and needs her help.
Dory is an instant favorite because of her need to find Chantal is deep rooted in the search for herself. She doesn’t see much success in her future because the people around her don’t exactly believe in her. And as much as she might try not to, Dory looks for confidence through other people’s view of her.
Watching her struggle to prove that she’s on to something is inspiring in the way that Dory truly doesn’t give up. She may want to but the more clues she finds, from the book to the handwriting, the more she pushes herself to find even more. She’s the new Nancy Drew, the more fleshed out version who is relatable and who you can’t help but cheer for.
Dory’s boyfriend Drew (John Reynolds) comes off as someone useless but he quickly becomes at least an amazing comedic addition to this messed up group. Drew seems like he’s simply around, but then you realize that there’s substance there. Dory wants him to go check out what’s going on with their neighbors, something he avoids until the next time when the noise worries him too much. Even though their neighbor isn’t exactly friendly, that scene was a good introduction to another side of this unknown boyfriend. And his constant conversations about food made sure to win me over even more.
For now, Drew is still more of an observer, the one who warns Dory to be careful. But something tells me that he won’t stay silent for long and that he might actually help Dory on this investigation. Or at least I hope so because their relationship could not get any better than her yelling at him in public to shut the fuck up, but it can definitely try.
Now Elliot (John Early) and Portia (Meredith Hagner) are still only shifting into helping Dory with this, for now, they are still a bit wrapped up in themselves. Elliot has some relationship problems that he needs to take care of and Portia is trying to at get some appreciation for her work.
Elliot’s cutthroat honesty is a refreshing take on a character, one that might share some parallels with Dory’s ex-boyfriend. Meanwhile, Portia’s search for appreciation is interesting because she puts a lot of herself into the acting that she does, only to see that she’s the only one who notices that. It’s as self-absorbed as it can get yet you can’t help falling in love with Portia and wanting her to get even a small amount of recognition.
Julian (Brandon Micheal Hall) is the last part of the puzzle, someone who isn’t involved and yet is around enough to be a part of something. Dory goes for him for advice about herself and his truthfully interpretation abut her lacks any and all emotion. Their dynamic is one we don’t see much of but he shares with Dory the honesty that she may not be ready to hear. Julian doesn’t sugarcoat how self-involved Dory’s search for Chantal is, and that might be something that she needs to hear going forward.
Overall, Search Party had two very successful premiere episodes because they managed to sell the story and the characters all in one. You become invested in the circumstances of Chantal’s disappearance and the path that the group has to go on to find her. There’s nothing that was off-putting or lacking in these two episodes, Search Party managed to accomplish plenty in their introduction and I can’t wait to see what will happen next!
Search Party will premiere November 21st on TBS, with new episodes continuing to air every night. To watch all episodes of Search Party now, go online to TBS.