Monday, September 22, 2008
NBC’s Kath and Kim – A Sneak Peek
One of the things that differentiates Universal Studios in Orlando from Walt Disney World is the extraordinary number of folks wanting “just a moment” of one’s time to take a survey, watch a timeshare demonstration or just generally waste one’s time. Sometimes, just sometimes, these things are worth it.
I was grabbed on this most recent trip to Universal to watch a new television program and give my opinion on it. Heh, heh, they don’t know me very well. I had to assure them that I did not work for the media – you know, television, movies, newspapers, etc. I took note that they did not mention any form of online media, especially blogging. Like I said, they don’t know me very well.
It was the kind of thing where, just like on “The Simpsons,” you push a green button when you like what you’re seeing and a red button when you don’t like it. There was also a ‘tune out button’ to push when you reach the point where you would normally change the channel as if you’d had enough or became too bored. The program I watched was the yet-to-be-aired second episode of “Kath and Kim,” the new Molly Shannon sitcom vehicle on NBC. I hit that ‘tune out button’ before the title sequence (which I might add, at only a few seconds was one of the few things about the shows I liked).
Surprisingly this is an American version of one of Australia’s most popular sitcoms. Now, either Australian television viewers have shockingly lower IQs than Americans, or NBC butchered this adaptation. Judging from the few Aussies I know, I would have to go for the second option. Way to go, NBC, now when are you bringing back “Manimal” and “Supertrain?”
The three leads – Shannon, Selma Blair (who is shockingly bad), and John Michael Higgins (do not watch him jog…) – are at best uninteresting and at worst annoying and nerve-grating. I hated this. Shannon has a daughter and is about to marry again. The whole episode virtually revolves around two premises. One is the constant repetitive joke that Shannon’s character is old, and every bad joke and cliché you can think of is thrown into the mix, and none of it is funny. The second plot (and I shudder to even use the word in this circumstance) involves the concept of misunderstanding, a simple-minded one that is as old as sitcom television itself. Woman sees man with other woman and assumes the worst. Come on, this was ancient when “I Love Lucy” and “The Honeymooners” did it.
There are elements that are fun, but the problem is they are only background details. I liked some of the hip hop music inserted in places and the drag queens at the end were interesting characters – why not make the show about them? I hated her character, but there was no denying the charisma and presence of the unnamed actress who played Angel. She showed promise. Where’s her sitcom? Unfortunately she was barely in the thing, and the rest of the show was unfixable in my opinion.
I guess I picked the wrong day to do this survey. The next one was on the new “Knight Rider” which was being thoroughly hyped by the survey folks and had changes noted that, to me at least, did not sound promising. Val Kilmer as KITT? I had heard that a previous survey was about “My Own Worst Enemy,” Christian Slater’s take on the Jekyll/Hyde concept had received high marks. I would have liked to have seen that. As for “Kath and Kim,” avoid it at all costs when it premieres October 9th.