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Episode 16: Airdate: Tuesday April 17, 1990

The Sketches

Recurring Characters

Thirty Helens!

Thirty Helens!

Review!

First of all, I want to say thanks to everyone who has been liking and commenting and reblogging thus far. You’ve all been a huge boost to my writer’s ego and helping me keep up this project even when I’ve not wanted to update or even look at a computer. Good news! Tomorrow I get to see Kids in the Hall live AND thanks to some quick ticket buying I snagged VIP tickets and get to meet the Kids after the show! Yes, I will try to get pictures.

Now on with your regularly scheduled review…

This is a fantastic episode and one that brings together Rivoli-esque sketches staged with minimalistic backgrounds (Is He? and Manny Coon) with more beat poetry Bruce or maybe Mark sketches like Bass Player. We still haven’t seen a full length film piece, and with the Thirty Helens the Kids are starting to play with film, format, and the cameras.

“How did this happen?” is a great reveal gag, letting your mind ponder the possibilities of what might have happened long before you actually get to see the end result. Mark, one of the best character actors emotes well and I would love to see the reason behind this. To be fair the title of the sketch is the same question that the audience should be asking themselves when they see his predicament.

“The mother, the father, the serpent, the priest. The foreman, the woman, the widow, the beast…”

The Secretaries are in my top 5 ensembles that the troupe plays. Seeing Bruce and Scott play off each other, something that doesn’t happen nearly enough, is always a treat but then you add in Mark as the annoying Tanya and Kevin as another secretary to round off the group. At this point Dave isn’t playing his boss figure like he was in the earlier sketch but steps in as Howard, the new to the office guy whom all the girls are talking about. This is a sketch that was done bigger and better on the stage, it’s featured in the documentary “Same Guys, New Dresses”, that shows the troupe behind-the-scenes. They continue asking if Dave’s character is gay or not, making up more and more outrageous and foolish names for heterosexual and homosexual. This brings us to a question: is this sketch offensive? I’ll admit some of the names they come up with for the stage show were risque but this seems like G-rating material comparatively. Both Cathy and Kathie seem to know that it doesn’t matter if Howard is gay and even make a point of acknowledging that fact. It’s human nature to want people and to hope that they are compatible with you if you find them desirable, demanding or expecting them to change is not. I think this sketch does a great job of showing both sides of that.

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From Cathy to Manny Coon, Scott flips a switch and goes from a female secretary to a lecherous old painter man. The whole sketch is a monologue, the focus is on Scott but it’s interesting to watch the subtle reactions of the older people sitting behind him throughout. I like to think they aren’t actors, that they’ve just hijacked some university’s graduation ceremony and run with it.

Now my favourite sketch of this episode: “Bass Player.” If we set aside the fact that bass players aren’t the least favourite member of a band; drummers are, we have a catchy little sketch that has Kevin doing a great bit of beat poetry and Bruce playing what I can only assume is the three chords he knows how to play on a bass. It’s interesting they had Bruce playing given Dave is the only one of the troupe that can properly play guitar. Bruce mentions in his book that he picked up a few chords playing his father’s Beatle Bass. If you’re wondering yes, that’s Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the house band that played during their performances, playing in the background at the beginning and end.

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If you too are a bass player and suffer from the pangs of loneliness, someone has graciously taken the time to write down the bass tab for the sketch: here

I’ve talked a lot about wigs in the past fifteen episodes and this one will be no different. The Goddess of Compensation wig that Kevin wears in this episode is fantastic! The actual idea for this sketch I believe is Bruce’s and he uses it again in his Young Drunk Punk series on another construction site. I’m sure Kids in the Hall weren’t the first or last to use that idea for a sketch, the very system screams to be exploited. I can’t speak to the differences between worker’s compensation now and then but it doesn’t seem like much has changed except for the amount of paperwork and the size of the televisions. Scott also gets a big shout-out playing what I think will become Idiot Boy or at least is a character like Idiot Boy. The line Mark’s character shouts: “Not the hook end, you moron!!” gets me every time.

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Last but not least we have a weird, strange, odd sketch called “Power of my Cock”. Features Bruce in the bathroom (you don’t actually see him) and Kevin as a housewife trying to get him out of the bathroom. That’s where my understanding of the whole thing ends. It’s hilarious to watch Kevin’s performance and it’s the first sketch to be censored that I’ve found. Additional comments on this sketch is more than welcome.

Pulled together with Thirty Helens Agree, this is a fine episode with a nice diversity of types of sketches and pairings. We’re on the home stretch of season one!


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

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