Season 1, Episode 3
Airdate: Tuesday November 7th, 1989
Watch along on youtube: HERE.
So, first let me start by saying I’m sorry for not getting these out on time. A new position at work and a Supernatural convention kept me from getting the drafts together before now. The last thing I want to do is just throw something out there for the sake of it.
Okay, onto the funny.
I love a short, succinct little skit before the opening titles. Dave’s Gunslinger character is witty but with a dry British sense of humor. We only see him once more in the Running Faggot sketch in a few episodes, so I haven’t bothered to put him as a recurring character. Every time I watch it amazes me that he doesn’t fall off that bike/cart thing, especially as he goes down over the curb. That is probably an apt description of where this episode leaves me, wondering why I don’t love it but glad I don’t hate it. I want to like it but it leaves a strange taste in my mouth worse than the salty ham McCulloch’s character complains about.
Gorilla is a strange sketch, strange even by Kids in the Hall standards. I like the Stooges and Groucho Marx style of comedy, grandiose and over-enunciated but the obvious homage to comedians past seems too put on and unnatural for Foley and Thompson. Am I right in thinking it’s bad Italian or New York accents? Nevertheless, it’s too parody and I think the sketch is flattened even more by the monologue by Kevin at the end. I’m not sure who wrote this, I’m thinking Dave and Kevin but it seems so out in left field that I wonder.
The “Hey Man” sketches; the group heckling Dave’s straight man character, interspersed between the bigger sketches are cute and interesting in black and white. I get the premise but it’s not something that makes me laugh, if you love them tell me why I should, too! One aspect I will admit I love is the costumes for that sketch, seeing them all decked out in rock and punk regalia makes me happy.
Mark’s Contact Lenses monologue is again a little flat but it’s funny. I’m not a huge fan of monologues unless they really pop. I’ve always thought that out of any of the Kids, even moreso than Scott with his Buddy character, Mark does extremely good monologue bits (after all the Headcrusher is almost entirely a monologue with the very occasional “what are you doing?” from passersby) but this character just was a bit one note.
It’s not all lackluster this episode though we have Salty Ham & Citizen Kane.
The first features Bruce and Scott as Gordon and Fran (their son played by Dave will come in later sketches, his picture is by the bed) and the latter is Kevin and Dave. These two sketches seem to cement their writing partnerships in my head. I don’t like to make comparisons between groups but with a set-up like this I can’t help but think of Monty Python. Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin writing together, John Cleese and Graham Chapman writing together and Eric Idle on his own. Just an idle thought though, as unlike Python KITH wrote with different pairings and groups quite often. Many interviews say Kevin wrote with everyone and everyone wanted to write with Kevin, unlike the more staunch set pairings in Python. It had less to do with friendships, although Kevin and Dave were friends, as it did with who made the best writing group for the idea at hand.
Looking at the two sketches we can see how alike they are. One is more character driven but but based on overreacting (Gordon and his ham) versus a narrative driven but overreacting (Citizen Kane). We know almost nothing about Dave and Kevin’s characters other than they’re friends, apparently, and one knows more than the other about movies. The rest is based on the discussion and the stubbornness Dave’s character exhibits. Although we will come to learn more about Gordon and Fran in later episodes, for now we know they are married and Gordon is stubborn. The sheer persistence of their arguments is what makes it funny. I love the repetitive nature of each of the skits, it makes them memorable and quotable. The greatest comedy sketches are simple ones that anyone can replicate like the Python’s Dead Parrot sketches.
Those two are not enough to save the episode, however, and it’s the first of the first part of season 1 that isn’t a home-run.
Gorilla? Hey Man? Citizen Kane? Is this episode lackluster to you or perhaps studded with gems? Leave a comment.