Episode 8: Airdate: Tuesday December 19, 1989
- Ping Pong
- The Vacation
- Ping Pong 2
- Chain Gang
- The Banker Doesn’t like Us 1 & 2
- Ping Pong 3
- Tony Comes to Dinner
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Let me sum up this episode in a few thoughts before I begin the proper review.
Mark is like a puppy.
Nobody likes us.
The episode begins with a scene familiar to many college students: two guys playing Ping Pong (Kevin and Dave) and one guy waiting his turn and offering opinions. Or you can substitute a dog for the annoying guy and be none the wiser. Mark McKinney had to be channeling a big ol’ labrador in this episode complete with shaggy hair and puppy dog eyes to the guys playing. It’s clever and a nice little piece to link sketches.
Remember Salty Ham with Gord and Fran? They’re back, and this time we get to meet Brian, their son that we only saw in bedside photographs before. Scott shows his amazing ability at playing middle-aged women and Dave plays a 16 year old so well. There are family dynamics here that should be relevant to a lot of people watching: overbearing mother, loud and annoying father, angsty teenage son.
This isn’t a horrible family though. No matter how much Gord protests and it may seem like he hates Brian, he clearly cares enough to buy his underaged son beer. We can’t know if it was to help his son fit in with his friends or if it was because he believes a kid Brian’s age needs to know how to drink. There’s no doubt that Fran loves him and dotes on him, perhaps too much but they aren’t a dysfunctional family. I would argue they are one of the most normal families represented on Kids in the Hall. From everything I’ve read, many of the Kids dealt with alcoholic fathers. Gord seems like a father of the year nominee when you consider what could be.
I’m not really a fan of Chain Gang but it has some good qualities. It starts with a great false start with the mention of St. Elmo’s. It inspires some questions: Do chain gangs still exist? Did they exist when this episode was written? Was this a Dave and Kevin sketch? It ends well too, with Mark’s character spilling the beans on the secret crush Skinny Pete (Kevin’s character) had on Dave’s character. I adore that part if only because it’s not played for laughs because it’s two male characters, it’s played because of how embarrassed he is.
From Chain Gangs to bank loans, we meet two of the few recurring characters without names. The “Nobody Likes Us” guys, as they are often known came about when Dave and Kevin were flying together and the Air Stewardess kept ignoring their requests. Dave at one point turned to Kevin and said in the same voice with a pout, “nobody likes us.” It stuck and the characters were created. Kevin mentions on a commentary on the first season box set that during the scenes where they’re strung up on the nooses he had undergone a dental procedure and was completely out of it on painkillers. I think it enhances the scene!
Buddy Cole reappears and this time tells us all about dinosaurs and the gay bar scene. I’m of two minds of this sketch mostly because I don’t know what Scott was trying to get across. Was it a purely funny and outlandish sketch or are the dinosaurs supposed to represent old people? Think about it, old people invading their clubs and heckling them “killing” their sex lives. The fact that a guy in a dinosaur costume shows up at the end just cements the fact that I have no idea what Scott was trying to say with this sketch. I won’t complain though, more Buddy Cole is always better.
Lastly, a note that this is the first episode that isn’t relatively balanced between the Kids. Bruce is only in one sketch.
This episode is a great example of linking sketches, what do you think of the Ping Pong sketch?