Starz’s Party Down: Is the TV Show Based on Real People?

Starz’s ‘Party Down’ is a sitcom created that follows the lives of a Los Angeles catering team comprised of people with Hollywood aspirations. However, until they get their big break, the individuals are forced to experience the perils of the catering and entertainment business. The series is created by John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd and originally aired from 2009 to 2010. Although, with the workplace comedy series earning a cult status and receiving a revival, viewers must be curious to learn about its conceptualization. In that case, let us share everything we know about the true inspiration behind ‘Party Down.’

Party Down is a Fictional Story

No, ‘Party Down’ is not based on a true story. The narrative is the genius of creators John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd. Enbom is known for writing shows such as ‘Turner & Hooch‘ and ‘Reboot,’ whereas Rob Thomas is known for creating the mystery drama series ‘Veronica Mars‘ and the zombie comedy ‘iZombie.’ On the other hand, Dan Etheridge served as a writer on ‘The Carrie Diaries.’ At the same time, actor Paul Rudd is easily the most recognizable name on the list gaining stardom for his portrayal of Mike in the sitcom ‘Friends‘ and Scott Lang/Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Nevertheless, ‘Party Down’ is the collective brainchild of the quartet, loosely inspired by their experiences in Hollywood before they made a name for themselves. In an interview with Vulture, co-creator Rob Thomas spoke about the conceptualization of the series. Thomas revealed that the team was partially inspired by the British iteration of ‘The Office‘ created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The four friends would watch the show together, and the experience eventually led to the creation a workplace “sad” comedy about a group of people trying to make it in Hollywood.

“I hosted a lot of parties. The idea of being able to drop into a new party each week seemed like a funny idea to me. When you host parties in LA, you tend to get people whose life ambition is not to be waiting on people at your party,” said Thomas. “But we started writing it around the time we were turning 40, or close to 40 or whenever, and that was the time all of my friends back home were trying to decide: Do you give up the dream, or do you keep going? And that idea of how long you chase a dream was interesting to us,” he added.

HBO originally picked up the series with Rudd attached to star in the lead role. However, the actor stepped down from acting duties, and creative differences with the network led to the team finding a different home for the series. It was later pitched to FX, but the network also passed. The group came together to film a low-budget pilot episode which was used to shop the series around before being picked up by Starz. The sitcom premiered on March 20, 2009, yet was canceled after two seasons for low viewership and other reasons.

In November 2021, a six-episode revival of the series was announced by Starz, with the original creative team and most of the main cast members reprising their roles. In an interview, Enbom stated that the creative team wished to explore the characters would be like twelve years after the series finale. The revived third season is set roughly twelve years after the original series and follows the titular catering team as they still try to make it in Hollywood. Thus, it attempts to stay true to the show’s roots while expanding on the characters’ narrative arcs.

Ultimately, ‘Party Down’ is not based on a true story. The series tackles the Hollywood landscape by exploring a set of characters who must take a catering job to keep their dreams of fame floating. As a result, the series draws from the tropes of workplace sitcoms while deriving its humor from the characters’ lack of apathy. Thus, the show’s comeback several years after its cancellation perfectly sums up its central theme. It leaves its characters and viewers to ponder how far one will chase their dreams, a universally relevant question that one cannot help but relate to the show’s quirky humor.

Read More: Where is Party Down Filmed?