One of the best parts of Search Party is that it gives its main characters the ability to be unlikeable. Okay, they really don't have to try hard. For everyone who has seen Girls and doesn't like it, and for everyone who hasn't seen Girls and still doesn't like it (probably just as many people), just know that Search Party isn't as cringey. It's very funny.
Search Party satirizes the identity crises/struggles of a very specific type of millennial. The kind that lives in Brooklyn and thoroughly enjoys the fruits of the borough's gentrification. Brunch! Happy hour! Exposed brick walls! Search Party's premise, however, separates it from reality. So, yeah, that makes it better (?).
Dory's friends consist of a group of millennials who embody varying levels of self absorption. Elliott (John Early) is a beacon of humor in every episode. He likes to lie about stuff that makes him feel better about himself to the point where he told the very untrue story of surviving cancer as a teen. His hero complex-ness is what drives him to start a water charity that gives a percentage of a percentage of its profits to ubiquitous 'villages in Africa.' Elliott shares a (really big and really nice) apartment with Portia (Meredith Hagner), an actress with a gig on a crime show, who is kind of the least harmless of the foursome. Then there's Julian (Brandon Michael Hall), Dory's ex boyfriend, who calls everyone else out on their shit and writes an 'exposé' about Elliott in New York Magazine. Elliott takes it in stride though because at the end of the day, it's New York Magazine.
Instead of limiting itself to the narrative of a 20 something Brooklynite, Dory (Alia Shawkat), whose day to day life is kind of meaningless, it takes on the identity of being a ~ modern ~ Nancy Drew story. I think this is what people call nuance? Let's drop that in there.
When Dory finds out about the disappearance of Chantal Witherbottom, who can only accurately be described as a former acquaintance of hers, it's weird that she cares so much about it. But when you think about it more, it makes sense. Objectively, Chantal's disappearance is sad news, this girl is missing and could very well be in danger. Subjectively, it's sad news too; but more for Dory than anyone else. Why? Because she's lost too, just in a different way. Dory works as a personal assistant for a rich woman who lives in an apartment with really high ceilings. Her job isn't fulfilling, her relationship with her boyfriend Drew (John Reynolds) is stagnant, and now she has gotten news about someone the same age as her whose life might have just been cut short. So we can only imagine the thought that runs through her head, the one that motivates her search party: If she too were to go missing or to tragically die, would anyone care?
Dory's determination to find Chantal is inherently selfish. But to her it makes sense; it gives her purpose. This leads Dory to desperately look for signs to lead her to Chantal. She goes to Chantal's funeral and oversteps her boundaries to suggest to Chantal's mom that their daughter isn't actually dead. She starts a friendship with a private investigator who she thinks was hired by Chantal's family but actually wasn't. She goes to a cult meeting expecting it to lead her to more clues about Chantal's reasons for disappearing. When she says she's going to stop looking, she doesn't. And when her search leads her to Chantal, what she finds is underwhelming. When her efforts lead her to the real truth, one that is admittedly pragmatic, she's confronted with her reality. Now what?