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The Afterparty Review 2022 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
As The Afterparty begins, pop singer Xavier (Dave Franco) is found dead, splattered on the rocky beach below his extravagant cliffside home. The killer is among his guests, the high school alumni who just hours before attended their 15-year reunion and all knew the victim back when he was just another dweeb in a ska band. Nobody gets to leave the party until they’ve all been interviewed by Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish), and each episode is dedicated to one suspect telling their side of the story.
That subjectivity is illustrated through filmmaking styles that also change depending on the storyteller, with each character starring in what Danner awkwardly dubs their “mind movie,” ranging from a musical to a paranoid thriller. What this means, in short, is that The Afterparty relies heavily on the strength of its stylistic gimmicks and the actors who lead the individual stories. It’s a very tall order, and one that the admittedly impressive cast isn’t always up to.
To wit, the show’s first episode shortchanges the otherwise hilarious Sam Richardson as affable prime suspect Aniq. With moments like a chaotic meet-cute between him and Zoe (Zoë Chao), his old crush turned school administrator, Aniq’s story is meant to play like a romantic comedy. And though it has some genuinely funny sequences, like a karaoke performance where Aniq tries to insert overtly feminist lyrics into a particularly raunchy song, the episode is one of several that sags under the weight of its exposition dump. In one scene, Danner outlines the party guests’ archetypes by awkwardly calling Aniq the “adorkable loverboy.”
The Afterparty briefly finds its groove in later episodes, as Danner leans into her impatient, hard-ass side—a role that Haddish plays more comfortably than the excitable bumbler the character is initially made out to be. With the table-setting out of the way and Danner as less of a focal point, subsequent stories are much more tightly constructed: As Brett, Ike Barinholtz leverages heightened macho posturing into a hilariously credible action-comedy hero, and as Yasper, Ben Schwartz anchors a choreographed musical version of the night’s events. Along the way, Richardson at least gets the chance to make up for the mediocre first episode by engaging in a silly parallel investigation while Danner does her interviews.
Where the action and musical versions of the events leading up to Xavier’s death are fully realized and visually distinct, though, the suspense version of the story told by Chelsea (Ilana Glazer) drags both because Glazer lacks the gravitas to pull off its constant narration and because the stylistic changes only really manifest in moodier lighting and screeches on the soundtrack that go along with the jokey jump scares. Once we start seeing separate events altogether, like a high school flashback, the series struggles to retain its rapid-fire comedic rhythm and still leave space to convey plot-relevant information.
The Afterparty, then, is navigating a deceptively tricky balancing act between murder mystery and comedy. At its worst moments, the series takes some ill-advised detours into more weighty territory, like Zoe’s attempts to reconcile disparate visions of herself in the wake of a divorce. But these issues never get the space they need to develop, and the writers seem particularly squeamish about engaging with racism beyond merely alluding to it in moments like how Aniq is treated compared to Xavier in a flashback. The Afterparty operates smoothly in an overtly parodic mode, but the series feels out of its depth when it tries to go for anything else.