We all have one crazy, perhaps embarrassing, totally unbelievable story that’s happened in our lifetime. MTV is compiling these stories into a fun semi-animated series with one of the longest show titles ever— Greatest Party Story Ever … And Other Epic Tales beginning Thursday, Jan. 14 at 10:30pm ET/PT. MTV is so jazzed about the new series they’ve already committed to a second season.
MTV execs introduced the series at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour by describing these stories as maybe a ”mortifying romance, unfortunate arrests, naked debauchery, car chases, James Franco, angry bears this show has something for everyone. Each story uses its own style of animation bringing epic tales from real people to life. The results are often embarrassing, sometimes heroic, and always hilarious.”
If you’ve got an insane story and you want to be on your TV, this could be your chance. The format of the show is fun because it is narrated by the actual individual whose story it is, where their story is then depicted in an animated recreation of what went down. Each story has its own unique style of animation, as producers try to match it to the storyteller.
While names may be changed to protect the innocent, the humor in this is that these stories are authentic — these things actually happened to someone. It’s kind of like America’s Funniest Home Videos that were never caught on film but are now being animated.
To create the series producers work with the story originator. “We’d sit with them and talk to them for an hour and just get them to tell us the whole story and then we’d ask questions,” says Jonnie Penn, one of the executive producers and founders of Four Peaks Media, the production company specializing in storytelling for networks. “We try not to coach them. We would have evidence for a lot of the stories to make sure that they’re true, but we wanted them to just speak for themselves and take us wherever their story went.”
So how does James Franco fit into all this? While the title of the series may imply otherwise, these stories aren’t just drunken tales of nights gone wrong.
“One of the stories involved James Franco,” tells Ben Nemtin, co-executive producer. “There was a girl that got dumped by her boyfriend in high school, and she was at home and she was super sad. And her mom said you know that James Franco is doing a photo shoot at your dad’s house. And he [sic] went over to check it out. And he, James Franco, overheard that she had just been dumped. So James went up to the girl and he was like let’s take a photo of us hugging and post it all over social media and tell your boyfriend, ex‑boyfriend to eat his heart out. And so she posted the photo and all her friends the next day were like how did this happen? Do you know James Franco? Are you dating him? And it basically erased this, like, terrible experience that she had of getting dumped in public at her high school.”
As you can imagine, the stories are endless and the casting for this has been somewhat easy for the producers thanks to social media.
“It wasn’t a traditional casting process, because of social media and this generation is so used to sharing online,” says Jordan Barrow, co-executive producer from Den of Thieves, another production company involved in the series. “It seemed like a really natural fit and the timing worked out great. Because once we started digging into it, you’d get referred by your friend who had a great story, who had a great story, and so it was a really easy process and we were inundated with an amazing group of storytellers and with some great stories to share.”