“Foam Party” has a solid premise but never takes it anywhere all that interesting, making for a disappointing episode.
This recap of Room 104 season 4, episode 7, “Foam Party”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Coming right after an all-time-great episode, “Foam Party” was always going to struggle in comparison. But this bizarre quasi-horror story would probably always stand out as lackluster since it squanders a promising premise and heaps of ‘90s youth culture nostalgia on a go-nowhere gimmick, and ultimately it amounts to very little, even if it has some fun visuals and an absolute bop of a theme tune.
The premise starts out simple and gets nutty quickly. A group of friends rents out Room 104 for a party – and not just any party, but a foam party. They’re all ‘90s archetypes and are clearly embracing those roles with a fair amount of enthusiasm. The episode opens with a title card like something from MTV, and that song is just perfect. Nostalgia is easy enough to mine, of course, but it’s usually fun. The same can be said here.
And the hook is a good one! Everyone gets into the idea of a foam party until the bubbles start eating their clothes and making their hair fall out. As the substance starts rising, they all have to take shelter on whatever elevated surface they can find, and the questions of what’s causing their predicament and how they’re going to get out of it are easily enough to sustain the episode. But then things get weird.
The weirdness comes without much explanation, but that isn’t really the problem. The problem is that nobody seems to react to it in a consistent way, so it’s hard to tell what tone “Foam Party” is going for. You can explain this to some extent by certain characters being higher than others, but I don’t think that’s it. Without any solid sense of whether we’re supposed to be scared or laughing or thinking about some broader concept of belonging, we tend to just question what’s happening to a degree that undermines it.
All anthologies include a couple of duds. I’d have been very interested to see a slightly different version of this episode that had a clearer sense of self, and that put the nostalgia to more effective use.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.