February 13, 2006 12:00 PM

UPN (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET)


The premiere of this new series, which every week throws a big blowout to lift someone’s spirits, owes a huge thank-you to the Jones sisters. Arin and Alexis, the episode’s partyers-to-be, are college students who grew up in New Orleans but, post-Katrina, call a Baton Rouge hotel home. Their upbeat energy and the pleasure they take in each other’s company—even as Arin secretly arranges a surprise party for Alexis’s 21st birthday—give the show a real, smiley-face boost.

Party is hosted by Kristin Cavallari and Ethan Erickson, both good-looking and personable in a gleaming, artificial way. I just don’t trust their friendliness. They seem to belong to a weird underworld of concierges. They constantly slip in and out of the scene while assisting Arin and a team of planners. They’re also there to make sure viewers absorb valuable tips. Ethan urgently asks a party planner, “How important is a gift bag?” You’d think he was at a White House press conference. Well, the bag isn’t as important as the Joneses. The guests make the party, not the gifts. And isn’t that a wonderful lesson?

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