The show “Search Party,” currently airing on TBS, opened last year with the mystery of the disappearance of Chantal Witherbottom, a young woman in her twenties living in New York. She is presumed dead by the police and therefore by her family and friends. Most of them, anyway.
Chantal’s former classmate Dory Sief finds out about the disappearance and resolves to find Chantal together with her friends, Elliot and Portia, and her boyfriend Drew. She also meets some other colorful characters along the way who help in the search for Chantal, like private investigator Keith and Lorraine Da Coss, who’s a little harder to pin down. No one really knows what she does. Dory, a driven but directionless twenty-something year old, puts more and more of her time and energy into the search as season one progresses and she figures out where Chantal went, while wondering whether she might be running from something sinister. Dory doggedly follows a trail of clues that leads her closer and closer to Chantal and further and further away from her own problems, even as evidence suggests she might not like what she finds.
But don’t be fooled by the dark premise. The show follows Dory and company in a story that is, well, hilarious. The dark comedy was created by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, writers and directors of the movie “Fort Tilden,” along with Michael Showalter, star of “Wet Hot American Summer.” It stars comedic actor Alia Shawkat, who played Mayby on “Arrested Development” as Dory.
Season two picks up in the exact moment where season one left off and maintains the intensity, intrigue and sense of humor — it maybe even improves, judging by the first couple of episodes released on Nov. 19. Though what season two will bring remains to be seen, it is clear that the show will be taking an even darker tone this year, as the light blue title card from season one slowly turns red at the start of the new season. The core quintet are reeling from the realization that finding a missing person had turned out to be a lot messier than any of them could ever have anticipated, and trying to live with the trauma they experienced. And even as Dory, Drew, Elliot and Portia bring Chantal back home, there are a lot more challenges to face as they try to cope with everything they’ve been through. Probably least among those challenges is the fact that Chantal turns out to be a lot less likeable than any of them remember from their days in college.
With 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, this powerful purveyor of existential dread and belly laughs will keep us on the edge of our seats, hopefully, for many seasons to come.