Lizzy Caplan should be more famous. As Casey on Party Down, the doe-eyed actress—who happens to be our current favorite celebrity crush—exhibits a perfect blend of sarcasm and bitterness that belies her loving heart. In short, she’s a geek fantasy girl: at once perfectly attainable and completely unattainable. As much as we love Party Down—and believe us, the second season of the Rob Thomas/Paul Rudd–executive-produced comedy will have as much buzz associated to it as Mad Men’s sophomore turn did—the show simply wouldn’t work as well without her.
We’ve been hip to Ms. Caplan’s charms for quite a while. Her role in Mean Girls as Janis Ian (not the singer but a Lebanese alterna-chick with a biting tongue) is one of our favorite teen movie supporting characters from the last decade. It takes a clear talent to steal a movie away from the likes of Tina Fey, Lindsay Lohan (back when she was actually good) and Rachel McAdams, but Ms. Caplan managed to do so with aplomb—we’ll forever love her triumphant line reading of “suck on that!” After Mean Girls though, she sort of disappeared, only showing up occasionally on mostly bad television (The Class, Related) and in thankless movie roles—for instance, her head exploded in Cloverfield and she had the unfortunate opportunity to co-star in My Best Friend’s Girl with Dane Cook and Kate Hudson. There was also a supporting turn on True Blood, which gained Ms. Kaplan notoriety on the Internets, since screencaps of her many topless scenes from the show were plastered all over the Web.
Yet it all came together on Party Down, as Ms. Kaplan gives a truly Emmy-worthy supporting performance. If the Starz series—about a bunch of broken dreamers working in a catering company in Los Angeles—is like The Office but with an extra helping of pathos, then consider Ms. Caplan like Pam, but actually interesting. In fact, if anything, Ms. Caplan’s character on Party Down reminds us of the wonderful work Rashida Jones did during season three of The Office.
We know Ms. Jones is working on a script about a divorcing couple that tries to remain friends—the thought was that she’d also be the female lead—but that sounds like an ideal role for Ms. Caplan. Someone needs to give this girl an Apatowian-like romantic comedy pronto! No offense to flavor-of-the-moment Ms. Jones, but it’s time for another actress to get a turn.