Rob Thomas (not the singer from Matchbox 20) created Veronica Mars back in 2o04 when its home was on the now-defunct network The UPN. When The UPN merged with The WB in 2007 to create The CW Network, certain programs like Veronica Mars received the short end of the stick with a poor time slot and ultimately getting canceled.
In 2009. Rob Thomas moved on from Veronica Mars to focus on his project Party Down with co-creators Paul Rudd, Dan Ethridge, and John Enbom. Party Down features several of the same actors from Veronica Mars— here are thirteen crossovers from these two cult classics.
13 Ken Marino
Before he played the half-assed private investigator Vinnie Van Lowe in Veronica Mars, Ken Marino was known for his role as Victor in Wet Hot American Summer (2001), and also starred in a ten-episode arc in the popular teen drama Dawson’s Creek as Professor David Wilder.
He played the part of Veronica Mars‘ nemesis perfectly and returned as one of the main stars in Party Down, playing Ron Ronald, the uptight manager of the catering company with the same name as the show’s title. The focal point of each episode incorporates a new job setting for the catering company and its enervated employees, as Ken Marino’s character Ron acts like a chicken with its head cut off.
12 Joey Lauren Adams
Joey Lauren Adams, known for her roles in Chasing Amy (1997) and Big Daddy (1999), plays the two-episode character Diandra Stiltskin in Party Down, the wife of J.K. Simmon’s character, and mother of the bratty teenage daughter whose sweet sixteen goes awry in the episode “Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen.”
Adams also plays a small role in Veronica Mars, guest-starring in the popular episode “Weapons of Class Destruction” as Geena Stafford, the Pep Squad Coach who substitutes for the journalism teacher and allows Veronica to publish some hard-hitting pieces in the school’s newspaper.
11 J.K. Simmons
J.K. Simmons played Leonard Stiltskin on Party Down, featured in two episodes with Joey Lauren Adams. Simmons returned for the revival of Veronica Mars on Hulu in 2019 as the fourth season’s antagonist, Clyde Pickett.
He complimented both series incredibly well, adding an intriguing element to Veronica Mars which helped boost the praise its revival received.
10 Ed Begley Jr.
Popular actor Ed Begley Jr. joined the cast of Veronica Mars in season three as Veronica’s new college dean, Cyrus O’Dell. His character plays an integral role in one of the main mysteries strewn throughout the season, adored by the Mars family.
Ed Begley Jr. returned for a small part in the Party Down episode “Pepper McMasters Singles Seminar” as Jane Lynch’s love interest.
9 Darran Norris
Darran Norris plays the Cliff McCormack in Veronica Mars, the endearing defense attorney who periodically does favors for Veronica and sometimes works alongside Keith. He returned for Party Down to play Tony Carolla, the hotshot investor Ron tries impressing in the season one episode, “Investors Dinner.”
Norris is best known for his voice acting in cartoons like The Fairly OddParents and Team America: World Police (2004).
8 Alona Tal
The Israeli-American actress Alona Tal had her breakout role in Veronica Mars as Meg Manning, the ever-so pure Christian cheerleader who has a special friendship with Veronica that gets frazzled from the love triangle between Veronica, Meg, and Veronica’s ex-boyfriend Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn). Meg dates Duncan in season one, and Veronica bites her tongue even though she’s secretly stung.
Season two opens with a breakup between Meg and Duncan, and Veronica ultimately starts dating Duncan again, much to Meg’s chagrin since the promised-virgin is hiding her pregnancy! Alona Tal returned for a guest role in Party Down in the first season’s episode, “California College Conservative Union Caucus” as Heather.
7 Steve Guttenberg
Steve Guttenberg, known for his roles in Cocoon (1984) and Police Academy (1984), plays the mayor of Neptune, Woody Goodman, introduced in season two of Veronica Mars. Woody, who develops a relationship with Keith Mars while his daughter Gia (Krysten Ritter) becomes friends with Veronica, winds up being the centrifugal force behind the school bus bombings after molesting members of the little league team he coached.
His vile and unforgiving attacks caused multiple team members to speak out, but one of them, Cassidy Casablancas, made sure this information would never be released by placing a bomb on the school bus holding the outspoken team members, which went off a cliff and killed eight passengers. Guttenberg plays himself in the Party Down episode “Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday.”
6 Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch guest-starred in the Veronica Mars episode “Return of the Kane” as Mrs. Donaldson, the teacher in cahoots with getting an 09er to win student council president.
She played the recurring role of Constance Carmell on Party Down, featured in the show’s first nine episodes. Lynch grew in popularity after starring in Ryan Murphy’s Glee as the torturous cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester.
5 Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell made Veronica Mars into the cult classic and incredible TV show it is with her portrayal of the title character, Veronica Mars– the over-equipped 17-year-old who works alongside her P.I. father, Keith, while solving pedestrian cases for her high school classmates. Bell was in two episodes of Party Down as the rivaling catering company’s manager, Uda Bengt, who has a brief relationship with Henry.
Fun fact: Kristen Bell was the first of one hundred women to audition for the role of Veronica Mars. During an in-depth interview last year regarding the show’s revival, Rob Thomas told Vanity Fair: “Casting director Deedee Bradley sent me a Lifetime movie where Kristen played the daughter of a drug addict. I thought it showed she had this innate toughness and smarts, things I wanted for Veronica.”
4 Enrico Colantoni
Enrico Colantoni starred as Keith Mars, Veronica’s overprotective, overly-awesome father in Veronica Mars, one of three actors to appear in every episode (Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring are the other two).
He returned for Party Down‘s pilot episode, “Willow Canyon Homeowners Annual Party,” where he jumps in the pool naked during a fancy party hosted at his house.
3 Jason Dohring
Jason Dohring originally auditioned for the role of Duncan Kane, but Rob Thomas and company believed Dohring brought too dark of an element to Duncan’s character and asked him to audition for the part of Duncan’s best friend, Logan Echolls.
Veronica Mars wouldn’t be where it is today if Jason Dohring ended up playing Duncan, considering how pivotal of a role Logan ends up playing throughout the entire series! Dohring portrays frat-douche politician Greg in the Party Down season one episode, “California College Conservative Union Caucus.”
2 Ryan Hansen
Ryan Hansen was originally chosen for the role of Dick Casablancas because he had nice hair, and Dick Casablancas was originally intended to be a background character with one line. Rob Thomas and the team of writers on Veronica Mars liked Ryan Hansen so much, they developed Dick Casablancas into a three-dimensional character spanning the entire series.
Ryan Hansen returned to star in Party Down as Kyle Bradway, the foil to his co-worker Roman (Martin Starr). In an interview with Vanity Fair, Kristen Bell commented on her co-star, who’s also her real-life best friend, saying: “He’s a human ball of charisma. He’s an Alka-Seltzer and the world’s water. He just fizzles everyone around him wherever he goes.”
1 Adam Scott
Before landing the part as lead protagonist Henry Pollard in Party Down, Adam Scott played a small yet impactful role as Veronica’s favorite high school teacher, Mr. Rooks, who gets accused of statutory rape by Carrie Bishop (Leighton Meester) during Veronica’s first period in the classic first season episode, “Mars vs. Mars.” While Veronica promises to help her teacher, her father Keith is hired by Carrie’s parents to investigate Mr. Rooks further, driving a wedge between the tight father-daughter duo.
Veronica isn’t a fan of Carrie and proves she has no relationship with Mr. Rooks, but father always knows best: Mr. Rooks ends up being guilty and almost preys on Veronica in the same way he lured Susan Knight, Carrie’s best friend who she emulated to seek justice since Susan was, in fact, pregnant– and Mr. Rooks left her high and dry!
NEXT: 11 Actor Crossovers Between Freaks And Geeks And Undeclared