The Best Weird Parties in the History of TV

Mark and Milchick dance around the office in Severance
Apple TV+/Screenshot

We might not all agree about what makes for a good party in real life. Is it the music? The food and drink? The fun party people in attendance? Or, it’s probably some mix of all of those, if we’re honest. And if you’re me, you might frankly prefer a mellow gathering of friends engaged in meaningful discussion to any kind of raucous affair. But when it comes to TV, I like my parties weird.

We might disagree about that, too, but in my mind the best TV parties are the ones that feel a bit bizarre, getting towards something like the essence of the idea of the carnival, while more mundane gatherings portrayed on our favorite medium can have a way of feeling, well… mundane and hardly worth noting.

So I’ve compiled a list of my top five most favorite parties on TV. They’re weird, but I’ve explained that. Come at me if you want. What should be on the list?

The Masked Ball, Twin Peaks

Let’s start with something of a classic entry, though it comes from the stretch of episodes of Twin Peaks that many in the world seem to want to look down their noses at. There is no bad Twin Peaks; there is only good Twin Peaks! But, I digress…

Twin Peaks Episode 18 (aka S2E11 aka “Masked Ball”) provides the first appearance on the show of the inimitable Denise Bryson (David Duchovny), and if you’d like a more in-depth analysis of the episode, I’ve written one. But to focus here on the party at its heart, let’s note how weird it is.

Dougie Milford has married Lana, and there are a ton of comments about how he’s gotten married tons of times. What happened to his previous wives? No idea! It’s all just played as a bit of a joke to Dale Cooper, who’s in the role of an outsider who doesn’t know the score. Neither do we, and we never will.

In the midst of this, Andy dances adorably with Denise, and Lucy is just not there for some reason. Also, Coop and Denise catch up over drinks at the bar, and she explains her transition in a way that’s really pretty progressive for an episode that aired in 1990.

Dougie and Lana Milford arm in arm

The Party in Russian Doll

Russian Doll Season 1 begins at a party. Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) is in the bathroom, and “Gotta Get Up” by Harry Nilsson is playing. Thankfully, that song is a banger, because we’re going to hear it over and over and over again over the course of the season. It’s important that I, at least, enjoyed it each and every time.

The party serves as the anchor to Russian Doll’s reprise of Groundhog Day in its first season, as Nadia keeps finding herself right back here and slowly people and things begin disappearing from the apartment.

This one probably has a special place in my heart in part because I have been to this particular party, or at least very similar parties. One of the best things about Russian Doll Season 1 is how it represents the Lower East Side of Manhattan (or East Village, if you prefer). Having lived there, everything feels right.

And actually I almost want to put the parade at the end of Season 1 on this list instead. Tompkins Square Park for the win!

Nadia with a group of masked figures in Russian Doll

The Party Boat in The Leftovers, “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World”

Everyone’s favorite Episcopal priest finds himself on a boat full of devotees to Frasier the lion. This is a real thing! Frasier is a sex icon.

Of course, Matt wants nothing to do with it, and is just using this boat as a way to get to Melbourne. He’s caught up in things, and runs into David Burton.

The man claims to be God, and he’s reading Louis L’Amour when Matt finds him and confronts him.

It’s all delightfully absurd, and I guess I have no way of explaining why it’s so great if you haven’t seen The Leftovers.

Matt looks incredulous

Doomcoming, Yellowjackets

Our teenage friends are stranded in the wilderness, and they haven’t starting eating people… yet. But realizing that they’re coming up on when they would have had a Homecoming dance if they were still back in high school in New Jersey, the Yellowjackets decide to have a celebration in the woods. And they decide to call it Doomcoming.

Misty planned to dose just Ben with some mushrooms, but when Mari mixes her stash in with the food for everyone, she just rolls with it. Like you do.

Tai and Van arrive in masks and everyone cheers their openly gay romance. The group sings Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” because of course that probably would have been their Homecoming song.

And then they get into some wild sexually infused hunting that comes pretty close to murder.

Good times!

Yellowjackets hold glasses at Doomcoming

The Waffle Party, Severance

Early on in Severance, we’re told that Lumon rewards its best employees with a waffle party, and I don’t know what came to mind for you when you first heard this, but I would bet a million dollars it wasn’t anything like what we ultimately see.

When Dylan gets a waffle party, he’s in the midst of trying to play his part in a collective plan, so we might almost lose sight of the fact that he’s gotten one before, and loved it.

It’s easy to see why! After eating what looks like a delicious waffle, he’s treated to a properly bizarre erotic dance, and it’s not entirely clear if this is supposed to culminate in some kind of orgy or not, because he wants to duck out of there for reasons.

Either way, the waffle party seems like a terrific time. I want one and will not be taking questions.

Costumed figures dance at the waffle party in Severance
Apple TV+/Screenshot

So, those are my favorite parties in the history of TV! What are yours? Let us know in the comments.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

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