Well, this was inevitable.
The weekend of June 25-26, 2011 will forever be known as the dates when we could officially start talking about the possible possibility of a “Party Down” movie. The cast and crew of the much-beloved, sadly-canceled Starz comedy joined with (a very luck bunch of) the show’s fans in Austin, TX to watch the entire series in one go. Naturally, this was held at one of the esteemed Alamo Drafthouse locations. Naturally, talk of making a feature film version of the series immediately followed the 10-hour marathon. Naturally, this probably just means that, since “Firefly” became Serenity, “Party Down” is going to join the pantheon of Prematurely Canceled TV Programs that Will Now Never Not Be Talked About Without Mentioning the Probability of Turning the Premise Into a Viable Motion Picture. It joins “Arrested Development” and “Veronica Mars” on that very difficult to climb mountain.
While fans die hard, the lesson of Joss Whedon’s space western very clearly illustrates: Just because they are passionate, that is not enough to keep the show on the air, much less make bank at the box office. Considering that both “Party Down” and “Veronica Mars” were co-/created by not-the-Matchbox-20-Rob-Thomas Rob Thomas, I would wager that the feature will never happen. That’s nothing against this Rob Thomas, but he is like Icarus and unable to stop himself from flying too close to the sun, no matter how many times his wings melt off. This is not a bad thing. The world needs more Rob Thomases (again, not necessarily the Matchbox 20 version), but it would be nice if he let his shows die gracefully. They were great, they had their shot, they didn’t make it. Make something even better the next time, like you did the first time. Instead, we’re now going to hear about the possibility of a “Party Down” movie whenever he, (co-creator) Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, or any of the cast, is interviewed.
Of course, like the shows mentioned in the opening, and the Wet Hot American Summer sequel, all of the principals are down for another party. At this point, we’ve heard variations of that theme so often, it literally means nothing more than rudderless desire. I suppose, for those fans who want to cling to hope like others cling to their handguns and their Bible, an enthusiastic cast is far better than The Beatles, post-Let It Be. But it’s really just Zeus in goose clothing, and only means that more stories just like this one will be written in the future (possibly again by me, aren’t you thrilled?). I would say there’s a time limit on this sort of thing, but the persistence of an “Arrested Development” movie possibility makes me doubt that we’ll ever escape the manipulations of these media gods and goddesses.
All that said, Thomas does have an opening scene in mind, which admittedly sounds pretty great. The A.V Club (who had writers present at the marathon) described it as “the actual ‘Are We Having Fun Yet?’ beer commercial that [in the series] becomes the bane of Adam Scott’s character’s existence.” Being a fan of the series, there is very little I wouldn’t give to see Henry Pollard utter those words with naïveté and unblemished conviction. Until that day, we can always party with the Gutte when we need to be warmed up from the cold, cruel world that constantly threatens to irreparably break us.
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, co-hosts the internet radio show/podcast We’re Not Fanboys, and he hates being right all the time. He also just realized that the “Can Your Hear Me Now” Guy is a nonfictional Henry Pollard. Poor bastard.