"Watch Parties" Are Stupid, Boring, Useless, And Stupid, So Stop Having Them And Inviting Me To Them


The first watch party I attended was in D.C. in 2013. I was in town for a screening of our pilot and subsequent Q&A at Busboys and Poets. When it was over, Panama and I headed next door for a watch party for the Scandal season three premiere. Which ended up also being the last watch party I've ever attended.


Now, before I continue, let me make something clear: The party itself was put together quite well. There was a red carpet and a banner with logos and shit that people took pictures in front of. And Crossfit instructors with black-on-black suits and bluetooths in their ears (Or is it blueteeth?) ushering people around, which is the universal sign of Important Fancy Shit Happening. There was an open bar, edible food, party favors, and gift bags. It was jam packed, but the multiple TVs were situated so that no one's vision was obstructed. I think I saw like two or three famous people whose names I don't remember because they're from shows I don't watch. They even had a section roped off for people who were live blogging/tweeting the premiere. And I saw nan Kappas, which is always a plus. Basically, everything about the party was great. Except for the reason for having the party — to watch a TV show.

And I'm not saying that because I'm opposed to parties in general. Granted, I'm not particularly pro-party. If you gave me the choice between "inviting 140 of my closest friends to celebrate my birthday with me" and "allowing me to spend my entire birthday in bed with a trough of bacon by my bedside" give me a peace sign and pass me the swine. But, I don't begrudge anyone's right to a party. With all the violence and strife in the world, niggas could use more glitter.

But I particularly oppose throwing and/or attending a party to watch a scripted television show because the whole point of watching a show is to hear what the characters are saying and you just can't fucking do that in a room of 90 tipsy people. Especially if 56 of those people are still "Ooooooooooooh!!!!!"ing to what was just said five seconds ago, and the other 34 are screaming out drink orders.

Now, I get why people still throw these things and choose to attend them. While impractical, they make intuitive sense. If you know a bunch of people are going to be watching a show already, why not add some pomp and circumstance to it and make it an event? Plus, as movie theaters, sports watching, and even live tweeting consistently proves, the viewing experience can be heightened if consumed collectively. But TV shows are an entirely different dynamic. With sports, you don't really have to hear everything the commentators are saying (you can argue you don't have to hear anything); the action and the graphics (and even the internet) tells you everything you need to know. And movie theaters are specifically constructed so that people can still hear what's being said while others are talking/screaming/texting/being Black. At this Scandal watch party, however, I was able to hear maybe 50% of what was being said. Which made 21 and a half minutes of 43 minutes of show virtually useless. Now, did I need to hear every word each time Olivia convinced Jake to drive her to Ikea? No. But I'd like to be able to determine that myself and not have the option taken away from me.

Thing is, I KNOW I'M NOT ALONE! No one ever leaves a watch party thinking "I'm so glad I attended that watch party because that cramped and hot and distractingly loud show watching experience was so much better than watching at home." No, you leave and you think "I should have stayed home" or "Who invites 67 Black people to an event and thinks its cool to feed us cucumbers and garlic hummus?" No one likes watch parties. NO ONE! But people still throw them and people still attend them. At this point, attending a watch party is like inviting Alicia Keys to perform at your national convention. You think you should enjoy yourself, because all the characteristics of enjoyment are present, but you just end up annoyed and confused and thinking about toilet paper.

In summary, stop throwing and attending watch parties. They're dumb and they're stupid and they're dumb and you never have any fun at them so just admit it to yourselves and stop with this madness.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



I have this same feeling about color themed parties, ie. White parties, black parties…bleh, I want to wear what I choose dammit!