Disposable Fun: Birthday Party Culture

Does anyone watch the show Parenthood? It follows the lives of four grown siblings and their kids in Berkeley, California. The youngest brother, Crosby, recently found out that he has a five-year-old son. Eager to make up for all those lost years, he volunteers to help the mom throw a big birthday celebration with both of their families.

Jabbar and Crosby in Parenthood

So what do they do? They go to the store, argue about a theme for a few minutes (“We did Sponge Bob last year!”), then proceed to buy stacks of theme-appropriate paper plates and decorations. The weirdest part was, there didn’t appear to be many kids (aside from cousins) at the party. So what was the point of all that disposable party gear—in Berkeley no less, a progressive, eco-friendly community?