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Episode 7: Airdate: Tuesday December 12, 1989

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Bobby's Father

Bobby’s Father

Bobby

Bobby

Laura

Nina Spudkneeyak

Danny Husk (minus mustache)

Review!
I will be saying this a lot but I want you to know that when I first saw this episode, one thought went through my head before all others: “this is a really strange episode.” It’s strange because of how normal it seems on the outset.


It begins like a movie, and let’s be fair that’s what makes this so strange. We are seven episodes in and we have certain expectations from our cold opens. If you take away the fact that the cast is all played by men we would have a B movie level story. As interesting as the individual sketches are the Kids have created something bigger and broken it into three parts. Hotel la Rut 1, 2 & 3. It’s the first episode to really use the potential of the camera and to tie sketches and bits together into a cohesive, running gag revolving around Tony. Wondering where he could be, who he is with, what is he thinking, is he thinking of me, and whether he’ll ever return someday.

Plummet has some good lines even if the story is on the weak side. It gives us the quotable line of: “See you crapburgers on the ground!” We learn just how unlucky luck can be and get some interesting statistics; if you’re into that kind of thing. This sketch continues the cast introducing themselves. In the sketch Gorilla we get an introduction from Kevin McDonald and now it’s Mark McKinney’s turn. I try to keep my fangirling opinions to myself in this blog posts but he does strike a fine image in the aviators.

He tries but the little monologue that talks about divorce is a weak ending to a less than stellar sketch. The sketch does a great job of helping to break up the Hotel la Rut pieces with something different both in style and tone, but it can’t compare to the wit of Christian Fletcher or the fun that Joymakers brings.

Christian Fletcher is a cute little solo piece starring Dave. It really reminds me of some of the sketches done in A Bit of Fry and Laurie where the idea is simple (his name) but a tiny twist brings it off-the-wall. Dave does an excellent job portraying this character who clearly at some point was asked if he was that Fletcher Christian. You know, the one that died in 1793. That Fletcher Christian.

First Poem is the first appearance of Bobby, his parents and his girlfriend Laura. The Kids are talented when it comes to creating families and we’ve already met another family (minus son played by Dave) with Gord and Fran in the Salty Ham sketch. We met Bobby’s father last episode, he and his wife own a trucking company and now we meet their son who clearly has benefited from their success and is acting out. Bobby is a guitar playing, poem creating, rocker that just doesn’t care. There are big things in his future. I’m torn between calling him a punk or a rebel because at this point all we are sure of is that he’s an angsty teenager.

After reading Bruce McCulloch’s memoirs “Let’s Start a Riot” (highly recommended), I think quite a bit of Bobby was based off Bruce himself as a teenager. He mentions that one of his first relationships with a girl involved holding the cuff of the other person’s jean jacket. If you watch Laura and Bobby they do the same kind of cuff holding jacket stuff, plus the teenage need to make-out all the time. The spinning newspaper headlines were a nice touch, although I did wonder when the newspaper gag would spin into “Spinning Newspaper Kills Thirteen!”

Joymakers is a refreshing contrast and a return to what we’ve seen the Kids do in all the episodes prior. It’s more traditional, introducing Nina from Joymakers and a mustache-less Danny Husk. Like the Hotel sketches it features the entire troupe. We are starting to see some trends, with Mark playing the annoying woman (he’s exceptionally good at playing annoying women), Dave playing shy and Kevin playing… well Kevin plays strange amazingly well. Scott is also playing a straight up businessman. Yes, there is a joke there and no, I’m not going to make it. The troupe is exploring their roles and beginning to fit into categories. There is a great part when Mark (as Nina) grabs one of the other kids and slams them into the wall. No dainty throw. It reinforces that they weren’t playing men in drag, they were playing proper women characters. Sometimes women are insane. Nina is insane and strong.

Now, Hotel La Rut is the great example of repetition being the highest form of comedy. Repeating things is funny. We have the same five lines repeated and each time I find myself start to chuckle just before Scott gets to the second line. We know what they’re going to say and in the second and third sketch so do the other characters. They find ways to spin those words into a different connotation.

Even Dave’s surly and aggressive french character that keeps coming back to “borrow” wine gets in on the repetition. We haven’t really seen Dave as an aggressive character yet, not to the extent that Bruce, Mark and Scott have had the opportunity to play. Just like Kevin so rarely plays a sexy character at this point Dave seems to be relegated to innocent or naive characters that make use of his boyish charm. I won’t argue with that.

This episode, although strange, makes very good use of the Kids’ writing abilities and their ability to play certain types of characters extremely well. So this post’s question is:
The Kids all have types of characters they play better than others. Which of their characters do you think best describes their style of comedy?


tally107

Watch on youtube? Please purchase the boxset when you are able. (amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk [NTSC])

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