Sadness hits when you’ve finished the first two seasons of Search Party, because there’s no more Search Party! Besides praying to the television gods for a season three – come on, come on, come on – the best way to deal with post-traumatic no Search Party disorder (PTNSPD) is to re-watch Search Party on SBS On Demand.
Two perfect seasons of television await, and knowing the outcome lets you enjoy the satirical nuance of the series even more. Discover jokes you may have missed, one liners, glances or clues. One of the joys of re-watching the series is bracing for each outrageous moment as Dory (Alia Shawkat), Drew (John Reynolds), Portia (Meredith Hagner) and Elliot’s (John Early) act of goodwill turns into a nightmare.
Here are the most outrageous moments from Search Party that make it worthy of re-watching.
One of the gang’s best worst ideas is to attend the vigil of their missing “friend”, Chantal (Clare McNulty). The vigil has its own hashtag, #IAmChantal, or as Chantal’s dad (James Young) says, “pound sign, I am Chantal”. The vigil gets progressively awkward by the minute, but the moment of maximum cringe is when Chantal’s college a cappella group, Oral Fixation (wait, what?), sings Kelly Clarkson’s "Since U Been Gone". Pound sign, awkward.
The dinner party
The pattern of terrible decision-making continues when Dory and Drew invite Chantal’s anxious boyfriend, Gavin (Griffin Newman), over for dinner. Chantal’s bae is the prime suspect, but Dory and Drew aren’t equipped to deal with crazy Gavin. When Dory gets caught stealing Gavin’s phone, he flips out and starts trashing their apartment. Dory wants Gavin to spill the beans on Chantal’s disappearance, and he does, just not how they planned when he projectile vomits everywhere.
Dory follows the clues to a store called Below & Hare, where she’s invited to a gathering of artists and customers (hello: Parker Posey). Elliot warns her the place is home to a cult: “I lost a very good friend to that place.” Dory, Elliot and Portia attend the gathering, which has an unusually high number of pregnant ladies in attendance. The evening gets weirder when the leader shows up and asks for “acute intimacy” from everyone. Soon, they’re helping to deliver a baby while the mother sits with a plank of wood in her mouth. Dinner parties are cursed in this show.
Rosie Perez attacks
Bring a complete stranger to a party, what could go wrong? Dory makes the mistake of bringing a mysterious woman (the great Rosie Perez) to a bar where she has a meltdown, destroys a plate of good quality cheese and attacks Elliot. Who ruins a perfectly good plate of cheese!? Madness.
One of the biggest WTF moments of the series. Julian (Brandon Michael Hall) discovers Elliot never had lymphoma as a kid and has built a sob story around a lie. Elliot’s reputation is ruined when Julian writes the story up as "The Millennial Who Cried Cancer".
The continuing series of bad decisions made by Dory accelerates when she cheats on Drew with a shady private investigator, Keith, played by Ron Livingston – the actor synonymous with being dodgy after he played the guy who broke up with Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) via Post-It on Sex and the City. To make matters worse, Drew is waiting for Dory like the perfect boyfriend when she gets home. Damn you, Dory.
Blackmailing Nanny Daddy
Drew and Portia work together to blackmail the creepy "Nanny Daddy" (William Ragsdale), a suspect in Chantal’s disappearance, by entrapping him in an apartment. The moment becomes hilarious and absurd when Drew and Portia start acting completely out of character and begin threatening Nanny Daddy for $5000 like gangsters in a Martin Scorsese movie. It’s so much fun to watch these sweet characters access their inner thug.
Things go horrifically bad when the gang makes it to Canada. Keith gets into a confrontation with Dory after discovering what she thinks is the truth behind his search for Chantal. The scuffle ends with Drew walloping Keith on the head with a giant obelisk to save Dory. The search party becomes a murder party.
After finding Chantal and wading through all the mystery, the gang are horrified to hear the reason behind her disappearance. Chantal got her heart broken and decided to run away to Canada… that’s it! Watch Shawkat’s face in this scene – it’s baffling why her portrayal of Dory didn’t win all the Emmys. The gut punch comes when the gang realise it’s all been a huge misunderstanding. When Dory asks Chantal who she’s hiding from, she replies, “Honestly? Myself.” Ooooofff.
The book deal
At the beginning of season two, Elliot, unafraid to fail upward, starts working on a lucrative book deal to explain why he lied about having cancer. The enthusiasm of his publishers for the idea is as hilarious as it is shocking. Elliot get writer’s block immediately, which is aggravated by the murderous secret he’s keeping, and he beings to get eaten alive by eczema and hair loss. Early proves why he’s one of the best comedic actors on TV right now with his performance in season two.
Portia endures the most awkward audition ever for a play about the Manson family murders (!!). The director asks Portia to call a friend and be honest about a bad experience she had making a short film. The phone call gets worse when Portia is pushed to tell her friend that she’s “secretly old” and her “areolas are huge”. Warning: cringing while watching this scene may cause you to pull a muscle.
Dory’s fever dreams
Dory’s paranoia begins to consume her following the death of Keith and the cover-up. She begins to have terrifying visions of her own death. The world is slowly closing in on her and is amplified by her guilt. These moments are directed beautifully and add to the extreme paranoia at play in season two.
Drew + Chantal
Drew sleeps with Chantal as part of the grand cover-up to keep her quiet about what really happened in Canada. The group is gobsmacked when they learn the pair are an item during an awards ceremony where the gang is given the key to Chantal’s hometown.
The indecent proposal
Julian and Dory begin working for a politician who’s a family friend of Chantal. Everything seems to be going great – the politician seems like an upstanding citizen, but this is Search Party, so it turns sour fast. Julian gets an indecent proposal from his boss, and it gets worse when she starts sending sexts. Julian, usually the righteous moral compass of the series, joins the gang in the pits of despair.
Stream Search Party seasons one and two now at SBS On Demand.