First, don’t get it wrong. We absolutely loved every second of “Party Down” during it’s all too brief run on Starz. If you haven’t seen the show, you have no idea what you’re missing. Featuring an amazing ensemble of Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Megan Mullally, Ryan Hansen, Martin Starr and Lizzy Caplan, the show chronicled the travails of an L.A. based catering company made up of actors and writers hoping to make it big, including one who had already had a brief taste of the spotlight. Created and written by John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd the show was both hilarious and tender, perfectly encapsulating just how hard, surreal and sometimes outright absurd it is to be chasing your dream while working a shit job. Scott toplined the show as Henry, an actor who tasted fame thanks to a beer commercial he’d rather never talk about again. His love interest was Caplan’s Casey, a comedienne seemingly stuck in endless auditions. Led by their boss Ron, played to gung-ho perfection by Marino, each episode found the crew at a new theme party and allowed the ensemble — including the airhead pretty boy Kyle (a hilarious Hansen), the geek Roman (Starr) and the rest of the crew to build out their stories. And the while show is now gone and the cast has moved on, movie talk has begun to creep up.
In a fantastic oral history of the show published in Details earlier this year, Thomas said “We’re hoping to do a movie. We’re talking about the happy ending for this show” while more recently Caplan told Huffington Post that thanks to the DVD, “People are finding out about it now, it seems like, which is great, because I think it will have legs and hopefully become more of a cult thing, which will encourage us to make a lovely feature film.” And again, we love the show and everyone involved, but listen folks, this is never gonna happen. And here’s why:
1. You didn’t watch the show the first time around
Sorry, but that’s the hard truth. The show had small ratings during its first season and even worse ratings during the second season. And while cult recognition might be nice, using that argument to convince suits that they should give a show that nobody watched even more money to make a movie will likely get you tossed out on your ear. All you have to do is look over at “Veronica Mars” (also created by Rob Thomas) which had one more season than “Party Down” and likely many more viewers. While Warner Bros. has tossed the faithful a bone by opening an email address where fans can officially petition for a movie, producer Joel Silver said last year that any chances of a movie were pretty much dead because no one bought the DVD sets. And what chance do you think a show that did even smaller numbers has of getting a movie?
2. Cult show fan campaigns almost never work
Again, with “Veronica Mars” and more recently “Roswell,” fans of cult shows absolutely love whipping up a stir on the internet but rarely, if ever, does it actually translate into actual results. Remember that Donald Glover campaign to get him audition spot for “The Amazing Spider-Man” and remember how well that worked? (In case you don’t remember, he didn’t even get in the door). Hollywood doesn’t listen or follow stirrings on fan pages and internet forums because they simply don’t see it translating into something that will make them money.
3. No one is going to pay $13 to see Adam Scott topline a movie (at least not now)
Firstly, Adam Scott is the shit. Totally funny, a great straight man and he’s totally killing it on “Parks & Recreation” right now. But he’s the heart and soul of “Party Down,” with his character arc of making peace with his past and more touchingly, finding genuine enthusiasm again for acting, being a huge part of what made the series so much more than simply a high concept sitcom. And while the biggest star of the cast is easily Jane Lynch, her character is hardly the central focus on the show. Go to the flyover states and tell someone there’s a new Adam Scott movie coming out and then watch the puzzled expression on their face. Again, nothing against Scott (or Lizzy Caplan, Martin Starr, Megan Mullally and the rest of the team) but these guys are not going to headline their own movie. At least not now.
4. Ok, let’s say a movie does happen — where are they going to find time to make it?
Ok, let’s say that for some reason, some producers come forward with $10-15 million and tell the “Party Down” team to go and make their movie. When is this going to happen? Let’s assume this summer is a write off (unless something truly miraculous happens). Adam Scott, Jane Lynch and Ryan Hansen all have television shows that will keep them busy — “Parks & Recreation,” “Glee” and the likely to be greenlit “Friends With Benefits” respectively. Meanwhile, Ken Marino is busy around Hollywood writing major screenplays (he’s currently re-writing “I Hate You, Dad” for Adam Sandler). We’re not quite sure where everyone is going to have time not only to write the film, but to actually make it. All one has to do is look at the forever gestating “Arrested Development” that everyone keeps asking about but is nowhere closer to going in front of cameras due to a script not being finished and many of the cast members involved in other projects.
5. Can’t we just let it die?
Okay, so this isn’t a reason, but more of an opinion, but can’t we all just move on? “Party Down” was brilliant while it lasted, something special that happened that, given the landscape of TV comedy these days, is somewhat of a miracle to not only be as funny and original as it was, but last two seasons as well. There is something strange in this culture where people can’t simply enjoy what they had, instead clamoring for more with the assumption that capturing the lightning in a bottle again is simply a matter of putting all the same people together in a room again at the same time. Read that Details oral history. As the cast and filmmakers recount making the series, there was a sense they were getting away with something coupled with the excitement of knowing they were doing something truly special that undoubtedly informed the final product. But Ken Marino says it best, telling the magazine, “I would have loved to do maybe one more season. But there’s that feeling now that the show is contained in these five, six hours of story, and how much more story do you need to tell? There’s something quite nice about that. You watch it, and you’re done, and you say, ‘Oh, I like that nice piece of TV.'”