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Adam Scott Loves To Play the Sad Guys

Adam Scott as Henry Pollard at a bar in Party Down season 3

It’s no secret that I love Adam Scott. My cat is named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. His characters have a draw to them that brings you back time and time again. It is why we’re all so excited to come back to Party Down after the last (almost) 13 years with the series’ new third season—because we connect with Scott’s Henry despite his inherent sadness and the failure that he puts upon himself.

Now that the release of season 3 of Party Down is almost here, I got to talk with the cast and creatives about the series as a whole as they return after all this time. Yes, I somehow kept my cool while talking to the creative team behind Party Down, a show I’ve loved for over a decade.

Adam Scott is, as I said in the roundtable for Party Down, my favorite television actor. He’s constantly brought to life characters I love and connect with, and now that Henry Pollard is back in my life, it feels like one of the best sad characters is back on television. To be clear, these characters’ sadness is of their own making. They’re characters who get in their own way and fail because they feel like they’re failures.

Self-made failures

This type of character is a constant in Scott’s career, and so, when I spoke with him for the press junket for Party Down (at a virtual roundtable), I wanted to know about his draw to them. With Ben Wyatt in Parks and Recreation, Mark in Severance, and of course Henry in Party Down, Scott tends to play these men who ruin their own lives. So, I asked what draws him to this type of character in the first place.

“I think that the credit really goes to the people who wrote these characters. To Mike Schur, and John Enbom, and Dan Erickson, who created these characters. And they just happen to be the ones that, I guess, I connect with,” Scott replied. “I’ve played other things, but these are the ones that tend to resonate more, and I think that’s probably because I connect with them more. It must be because there’s a certain sort of constant regret that we all kind of carry around with us. Not, like, big, heavy things, but regret on just the little things, like, ‘Why did I wear these shoes today? What an idiot.’ I think that growing up and loving someone like Albert Brooks, why I connected with Albert Brooks or Charles Grodin, might be because those are guys that were really interested in finding the nooks and crannies of why simple things are hard.”

The appeal of Bens, Marks, and Henrys

It’s easy to love an Adam Scott character, even when he’s ruining his own life. When we first meet Henry, he’s a failed actor who has given up trying. He doesn’t want to even try anymore, but then why stay in Los Angeles unless there’s a part of him that thinks he can still do it? When we meet Ben Wyatt, he’s the former failed mayor of Partridge, Minnesota (Benji Wyatt) and thinks that failure is going to lead him through the rest of his life. With Mark, it’s losing his wife, and he lets that lead to his own demise and failure outside of work.

The point is, all of these characters are appealing because of what Scott brings to the role. The minute he brought up Albert Brooks, I knew exactly what he was talking about, because it is, in a way, the same appeal that a Brooks character has. You can see where they’re making these mistakes and watch them get lost in their own faults instead of pushing back against them, and it’s why we want to root for them.

And it’s why, after all this time, we’re still so excited to see Henry Pollard back at Party Down catering.


Also, sadly, I couldn’t film it, but Adam Scott has met Benji (my cat), and the minute we entered the Zoom room, he asked, “Is that Ben Wyatt the cat?” and Benji instantly ran. So Ben met Ben, and my life was made.

Party Down season 3 premieres on STARZ on February 24.

(featured image: STARZ)

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She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.