NEW YORK The scene at Cartoon Network's Adult Swim party at Nokia Theater last night was reminiscent of Upfronts past. Drunken twentysomethings? Check. Inappropriate dancing among colleagues? Check. Open bar? Check. The debauchery ran so high, one might have thought it was 2004.
Following the afternoon's more sedate CBS party at Terminal 5, Adult Swim opened its free-flowing bars at 9 p.m. amid a circus-like atmosphere chock-full of interactive high jinks, from a pop-a-balloon contest that gave away DVDs of Cartoon Network shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force to photo booths and an arcade-style crane game that offered up branded fuzzy toys. The food front was also carnival-esque, with vintage-style booths hawking corn dogs, pizzas, peanuts, and hot dogs.
By the time T-Pain took the stage around 11 p.m.—rapping his own and others' songs (last time we checked, “Whatever You Like” isn't his hit)—the crowd of media buyers and their clients was good and ready for the evening's headliner. We polled a dozen of them after the surprisingly long 90-minute show, to see how the event stacked up midway through Upfront Week. Here are the grades they think the network earned:
Presentation Snooze Factor: 0 out of 4 Zs (“The quickie video presentation they rolled on a big screen before T-Pain came on was a little confusing, but that might have been because I've been drinking since the CBS party at 5 p.m. Regardless, it was two minutes long, which is a must at this hour.")
Food: B+ (“It wasn't a three-course meal, but that's not what we are here for. It was bar food, which was exactly what I wanted.")
Environment: A- (“All these games, the prizes, the vats of candy, the photo booth—it's just super creative and surprisingly fun. At least I'm having fun. Are you?")
Entertainment/Talent: A (“T-Pain's a pretty big deal right now, so its cool to be seeing him in a tiny theater that isn't even full.” “He was awesome, making lots of jokes and making fun of us...which we deserved. He tried to push some ballads on us when he played the piano; that was a buzz kill.” “Next year, Cartoon Network might want to get a rapper who actually headlines a song, and doesn't just sing the chorus.” “I kept thinking the whole time, how much would one have to pay T-Pain to perform in a half-empty theater to a bunch of drunk white kids?")
Overall: A- (“This is the only real late-night party of the week, and the fact that they're passing around Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys is epic.")