The most iconic moment in Starz‘ beloved cult comedy Party Down never actually happened. But with the long-awaited arrival of Party Down season 3 on Friday, Feb. 24, it just might. Allow us to explain.
In Party Down‘s 2009 pilot, it finally became clear to struggling actor Henry Pollard (Adam Scott) that fame and fortune probably just wasn’t in the cards for him. So Henry resigned himself to a life of “slinging ‘doeuvres” with the rest of the Party Down crew, themselves all failed entertainers as well.
Unlike his Party Down peers, however, Henry did enjoy one fleeting moment of success. It came in the form of a beer commercial that went viral for Henry’s enthusiastic delivery of the line “Are we having fun yet?” The fabled “Are we having fun yet” commercial is referenced in Party Down‘s very first episode when a reveler at the Willow Canyon Homeowners Annual Party recognizes Henry from his 15 minutes of fame.
Throughout the rest of the show’s two seasons (before it would be renewed for a third season 12 years later, of course) Henry would be clocked as the “Are we having fun yet?” guy several more times. In “Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen,” film producer Leonard Stiltskin (J.K. Simmons) encourages Henry to do the line for his 16-year-old daughter to humiliating results. In “Celebrate Ricky Sargulesh,” one of Ricky Sargulesh’s vaguely Eastern European associates gets Henry out of a jam by remembering the commercial.
What started as a simple running gag eventually took on a life of its own. “Are we having fun yet” became the preferred catchphrase for Party Down everywhere. Adam Scott, bless him, now has to field the question of “are we having fun yet?” at events for the rest of his life. But all throughout the phrase’s ascension as the semi-official Party Down meme, fans have never gotten to see an important element of it: the actual commercial itself.
Through two seasons and 20 episodes of Party Down, the show has never actually revealed the full “Are we having fun yet?” beer commercial. Viewers have only relived the experience second-hand through other characters perception of it. With Party Down now coming back for a third season and the potential for more, could the time finally be right to actually unveil the commercial? According to Adam Scott (who also serves as a producer), the braintrust behind Party Down has certainly given thought to shooting it before.
“I mean that’s always been an option,” Scott says. “That’s always been something we’ve talked about doing but the right context hasn’t revealed itself yet for needing it story-wise.”
Scott’s fellow Party Down producer and season 3 showrunner John Enbom would also like to see the “Are we having fun yet” commercial one day become a reality.
“We absolutely have talked about it,” Enbom says. “There have been a couple of times where we have toyed with the idea and tried to figure out how we would incorporate it into the show. But I don’t think we’ve ever actually gotten to that point.”
According to Enbom, the real reason the commercial hasn’t been filmed thus far comes down to logistics.
“The way the show is set up, we would literally have to request a whole extra day of shooting just to shoot this commercial. It always goes out with the wash when you actually have a schedule.”
Ultimately, however, letting the the “Are we having fun yet” commercial reside exclusively in its viewers’ imaginations has proven successful. Like any good horror movie (and make no mistake: Party Down can be a horrifying exploration of broken dreams), it’s what you don’t see that’s scariest.
“Someday, hopefully, it’s something that we can address,” Enbom says. “But at this point it remains tantalizing off-screen.”
Party Down season 3 premieres Friday, Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET on Starz in the U.S.