Search Party kicked off its fourth season with a flash of polyamory.
In the premiere, which debuted Thursday on HBO Max, characters Drew (John Reynolds), Elliott (John Early), and Portia (Meredith Hagner) are drinking together while coping with the aftermath of last season's trial, in which Drew and Dory (Alia Shawkat) had been accused of murder.
Unbeknownst to her comrades, Dory has been kidnapped by an obsessive fan, Chip (Cole Escola). However, the others, believing she had abandoned them for European travels, get drunk, resulting in a brief three-way kissing session.
The moment is played as a gag; after making out, the three pretend the encounter never happened. And it almost never did happen, according to Early.
The gay actor, when asked at the Wednesday digital premiere about his favorite moment from filming the season, revealed that the spit-swapping was "not in the script."
In the scene, in which the actors are clustered together in a kitchen, "there was clearly something going on physically between us," Early said. "Our faces were getting close together. All three of us knew it would be funny if it suddenly got sloppy and like sexy and confusing."
The tension was also detected by series co-creators Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, who asked the actors if they would be open to a "triple kiss," Early recounted. They consented.
"It was such a funny experience ... and I can't believe we did it," he reflected.
Shawkat was not present in the scene; her character had her own drama to contend with, trying to survive in the basement of her crazed captor. However, the actress was captivated when she first saw a video of it. "I watched it over and over," she said during the Zoom panel.
The moment presented an unusual dynamic for the friend group. Drew was presumed to be straight, having dated Dory and romantically liaised with only other women in the series. Likewise, Elliott identifies as gay (although he is also a serial liar).
But hey, welcome to 2021. Watch the first three episodes of Search Party season 4 on HBO Max and the trailer below.