“Are we having fun yet?” is arguably one of the best-known lines from Party Down.
Delivered several times by character Henry Pollard (played by Adam Scott) throughout the Starz show, the line has become a classic way to show how being remembered for only one thing is no fun.
Henry, along with everyone else who works at the catering company, is a struggling actor trying to make it in Los Angeles. However, unlike everyone else, he has given up on acting because of a beer commercial that is associated with him everywhere he goes.
Whenever people at the parties he caters recognize him, they immediately want him to say, “Are we having fun yet?” He tries to avoid it, but he ends up saying the line anyway.
Besides being a funny situation to watch on screen, it is also a little uncomfortable. Imagine being remembered for only one thing you did in the past and then not being allowed to control how people define you based on that. It probably feels kind of sad and hopeless if one is to stop and think about it.
For that reason, “Are we having fun yet?” serves not only as a funny recurring line in the show, but also as a depiction of the implications of masking failure as success. Although Henry does not consider himself to be successful, everyone who recognizes him does.
Party Down shows that the problem with recognition is that it chains the person being recognized to the thing for which they are being recognized. They are unable to escape it, even if the thing for which they are being recognized never really meant much to them in the first place.
It is up to the individual being remembered for something to handle that situation, which is not always easy for Henry. In the end, he is able to not be as uncomfortable whenever someone asks him to say, “Are we having fun yet?”
The show indicates that being able to move on from the one thing for which one is recognized while not dismissing it as unimportant is the key to being free from the pain of having to be associated with a successful past.
Every time Henry delivers his famous line from the beer commercial, his delivery is a little bit different. The first time he is made to say it, he hesitates and says he does not want to do that. However, to make everyone stop torturing him, he delivers, “Are we having fun yet?”
As Party Down goes on, he tries to use his famous phrase to cheer people up. The way he delivers the line throughout the series shows that it is all a matter of perspective. Being associated with the line could upset Henry, or he could try to use it productively.
It is always fun to hear Henry Pollard deliver his line, but the way he delivers and the way the inquiries for the line come about provide more context into the meaning of only being associated with a past beer commercial. Henry’s life goes on, and the commercial accompanies him wherever he goes.
The fact that the beer commercial haunts him does not stop Henry from living his life and catering to those who recognize him. He still does his job while trying to change his life around and being put in awkward situations.
That begs the question, “Are we having fun yet?”
Cult TV is a column where Mariah Schaefer explores different elements from various cult television shows from the past and present. Basically, it’s her excuse to write about one of her favorite topics. Check back at readbuzz.com every other Thursday for a new article.