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For whatever reason, there is a party. Whilst a party is normally going to be a fairly festive affair in its own right, sometimes it just needs spicing up - this is where Life of the Party comes into play.
This character will don lampshades (no not necessarily that kind), dance on tables, swing from the chandelier and generally party harder and wilder than anybody else. Sometimes this is done to signify just how awesome a party is, other times it can be to show that the character is immature or is acting inappropriately - say, by drinking excessively at a fancy, upper class tuxedo party and hitting on the mayor's daughter.
Sometimes there's an episode where this character shows up, and the other characters have "grown up", while this character hasn't.
Often this can be the Bottle Fairy, but sometimes it's the quiet one who suddenly leaps out of his or her shell.
Contrast with Lampshade-Wearing, which is just someone killing the party.
Anime and Manga
- The neighbors on Maison Ikkoku.
- Bluto from Animal House
- This pic comes from the film The Carpetbaggers, where one of the main characters gets drunk at a costume party and dances around a chandelier until it comes crashing down (she lives, though).
- A nerd in Can't Hardly Wait turns into this when he drinks for the first time.
- The Mask
- Gareth in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
"I remember the first time I saw Gareth dancing. I feared lives would be lost."
- Damon Knight's short story The Handler is about an enormous charismatic man who is the Life Of A Party, but is also a puppet controlled by the despised pathetic little man crammed inside his chest.
- Lord Peter Wimsey in the novel Murder Must Advertise.
Live Action Television
- A one-shot character in Sex and the City used to be a party girl, and is now married and pregnant. She actually considers her party years her Glory Days.
- Another was the Life of the Party, somewhat gone to seed. She falls out of a skyscraper window midway through the episode...
- Once in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Odo got stuck in an elevator with Lwaxana Troi, and he talks about how he tried to fit in years before, including trying to use his shapeshifting to impress people at parties. He doesn't like parties anymore.
- Fun Bobby from Friends, who wasn't fun anymore once he sobered up.
- Also Gandalf the Party Wizard from "The One Where They're Going To Party!".
- Arthur Fonzerelli, even after he jumped the shark.
- Meredith from The Office. Until her hair gets set on fire at the Morrocan Christmas Party.
- "Twice Shy" by Flanders and Swann.
- "Big Shot" by Billy Joel is based on the darker version of this trope.
But now you just don't remember all the things you said
And you're not sure that you want to know
I'll give you one hint, honey:
You sure did put on a show
- Slurms McKenzie is the most absolutely pathetic deconstruction of this trope possible. His only escape from partying is death.
- Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic will try to be this if it's not a party she set up. If it is one she made, she will try to make it as lively as possible.
- She even has a party cannon - a cannon that shoots out instant parties.