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Kids in the Hall: The Complete Season 2
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Populating their realm with such uniquely bizarre creations as the Chicken Lady, Cabbage Head, and Mr. Heaveyfoot, The Kids in the Hall took aim at everything from corporate culture to drug culture and sexism to suburban angst, crafting one of sketch comedy's most innovative and influential shows.
Smartly twisting the conventions of mainstream comedy, the complete, acclaimed second season of The Kids in the Hall crackles with farcical brilliance-collected here on DVD for overwhelming demand.
All your favorite characters are back for the second season of The Kids in the Hall--but the stakes have been raised. Bobby (Bruce McCulloch) is still rockin', but now he's battling more than just his parents in "Bobby vs. Satan." (Shades of the Charlie Daniels Band!) Meanwhile, the increasingly outrageous Buddy (Scott Thompson) steps off his bar stool to manage the Sappho Sluggers in "Buddy Plays Softball," does time in "Buddy Cole in Jail," and is freed by a batty judge (Dave Foley) in "Justice."
Then there are the other familiar faces. Cathy (Thompson) and Kathie (McCulloch) are still dieting, Fran (Thompson) and Gordon (McKinney) are still bickering, Cabbage Head (McCulloch) is still trying--in vain--to score and, after a potentially debilitating injury, Mr. Tyzik (McKinney) is still crushing heads. (Alas, the 30 Helens and the "Nobody Likes Us Guys" appear to have gone missing.)
This four-DVD boxed set of the Canadian sketch comedy includes all 20 uncensored episodes from 1990-1991 (Comedy Central censored the occasionally-foulmouthed series). Along with the old favorites, the one-offs, and the black-and-white movie spoofs (Kevin MacDonald and Foley did once work in an art-house movie theater after all), there are several new characters. They include the Cops (McCulloch and McKinney), the Sizzler Sisters (MacDonald and Foley), Simon (MacDonald) and Hecubus (Foley), Mr. Heavyfoot (Foley), Chicken Lady (McKinney), and incredibly annoying know-it-all Gavin (McCulloch), who only eats onions. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Season Two Episode List:
Spring/ Comfortable/ Trucker #2/ Hard Day/ Off Swingin'/ The Doctor/ Bobby and The Devil
Episode: 2 Cops - O Canada/ Trapper/ Cabbage Head - Old Friends/ Not Working Out - 1/ The Loner/ Not Working Out - 2/ Simon and Hecubus/ Not Working Out - 3/ Girls of Summer
Mark's Newscast - Paper Airplanes/ Sizzler & Sizzler/ Pageant/ Tony and Nick/ Mark's Newscast - Meech Lake/ A Little Something/ Phone
Nutty Bunnies/ Opening/ Queer Nation/ Cops - Uniform/ Excellent Dinner/ Cops - Stanze/ The Parrot/ Cops - Running Naked/ Customer/ On the Run
The Jury/ Cops- ShootOut/ Prisoner/ Sizzler And The Bank/ Cops 17- 211 In Progress/ Chicken Lady/ Drugs Are Bad/ Cops- Prisoner/ Clean Sheets/ Justice
Second Novel/ Baboon/ Hair Loss/ Conversation/ Buddy - Wood Nymph/ Anecdote/ Groovy Teacher
Lady is a Tramp/ Opening/ Meet the Geralds/ I'm English/ Bumper 1/ Lady is a Tramp Part II/ Bumper 2/ Painting a Chair/ The Lack O Trust Blues/ Bumper 3/ Lady is a Tramp Part III/ End Credits
I Can't Play the Piano/ Opening/ Democracy/ Tampa Bay/ Cops-Goose/ Freak/ Bumper 1/ Cops-Tony Baldwin/ Seminar/ Bumper 2/ Celebrity/ Bumper 3/ Liposuction/ End Credits
Cops - Dream/ Crushing Hospital/ Cops - Dad/ Daddy Drank/ The Leash/ Cops - Shelley Long/ Knocked Out/ The Leash - Shelley Long/ The Last Straw/ Parenting/ Dead Dad
Guess Your Weight/ Go For Guilt/ Hustlers - Math Teachers/ Fag Basher/ Friendly Rivals/ Show Within A Show/ Mr. Hugula/ Housework Hustlers/ Chocolate
Fact #2/ That's America/ Prisoner's Jam/ Fact #3/ Cuttin' It Close 1/ Secret of Broadway/ Cuttin' It Close 2/ Hustlers- Richard Nixon/ Mispronouncer/ Fact #3A/ Dead Fish
Cops - Bubble Bath/ How I Sleep/ Old Friends/ Standing/ Vegas/ Carpenter/ Cops - Daughter/ Encounter
Cops - Good Cop, Bad Cop/ Brad & The Phone/ Fact - Uncle Tony/ Book, Bottle, Blonde/ Cops - Money/ Shoes/ Evil T/ Fact - Bigfoot/ Heckler/ Fact - 45 Years of Love/ The Long Note
Report/ Gandar 1/ M. Piedlourde Court un Marathon/ Jazz Music/ Gandar 2/ Touch Bellini #1/ The Affair/ M. Piedlourde Essait l'Auto/ Queen to Queen
M. Piedlourde Donne Un Coup De Pied Au Ballon/ Scott's Not Gay/ First Time/ Bad News/ Poo Guy/ M. Piedlourde A Une Rendez-Vous/ Victim/ Night of the Cow/ M. Piedlourde Sur La Lune
One of These Five Men/ Cincinnati Kid/ Career Ending 2/ 30 Second Stories - Joe/ No Words/ 30 Second Stories - Dump/ Career Ending 1/ The Trip/ Wild Weekend
Thousand Dollars/ Thousand Dollars/ Cops - Towing/ Decorator 1/ Headcrusher - Rival/ Shortest/ Bellini Finale/ Cops - Graveyard/ Governor/ Ham of Truth/ Decorator 2
Clandestine Meeting 1/ The Letter/ Plungers/ Clandestine Meeting 2/ Fact - Aliens Are Super Intelligent/ Mr. Pin/ Liza's Party/ Clandestine Meeting 3
The Cure/ Secretaries- Logey/ 30 Second Stories- Tess/ Directions/ Excellent Guy- Big Brother/ 30 Second Stories- Office Party/ Taxpayer/ 30 Second Stories- Fries/ Into The Doors
Lively Party/ Butcher Shop/ Cops - Sexism/ Who's To Blame/ Cops - Clouds/ Having Tea/ Faux Pas/ Cops - Partners/ Messages/ Tube Top Justice/ Hazy Movie
Fact - Uncle Tony/ Headcrusher - Rival/ Swingin'/ Daddy Drank/ The Affair/ Fact #3/ The Doctor/ A Little Something/ Fact - 45 Years of Love/ First Time/ Girls of Summer
Cops - Prisoner/ Comfortable/ Trapper/ Painting A Chair/ Cops - Shootout/ Chicken Lady/ Simon and Hecubus/ Cops - Dad/ Hazy Movie
First off, the praise and glory. The complete skits of the CBC-HBO versions of the KITH's second season are on the first three DVDs. For those of us who had to suffer through the edited/censored KITH on CBS/Comedy Central at the time, this restoration freshens up a lot of sketches considerably by adding in previously nipped/edited out bits and sometimes whole sketches that were minced up either because of "standards", or for running time. The "Groovy Teacher" skit, for instance, has the scene where Dave, as the Groovy Teacher Theo, lead the class in a chant of a vulgarity, which is repeated by Kevin's character Stephen ("I'm Not Gay!") at the end as a punchline. If you saw this on CBS or Comedy Central, the first part would have been omitted altogether and the punchline bleeped, and the sketch wasn't nearly as funny. For the first season DVDs, all in all there were enough "extra" sketches to make the equivalent of a whole extra episode. In season two, it's not quite as many whole sketches, but a lot more tidbits added back in to partial sketches, and a number of extended transitions which are mildly amusing here and there. The Kids, as they note in the commentary, started writing for comedy on TV this season, as opposed to stagey sketches, and overall this is really when the series was hitting its prime.
Now the nitpicking over the DVD packaging. The first three discs have no extras at all -- just the episodes, no commentary (not counting one-page bios of the Kids that are the same as in the first set of DVDs). The fourth disk is the "bonus disk". As a diehard fan, I'm happy to have it, but it's a bit of a disappontment as far as quantity of extras.
We get a very short 15-minute documentary of sorts about the second season, featuring amusing and lightly illuminating interview snippets with all five Kids, Lorne Michaels, and Bellini, but just as its warming up, it's over.
The next two "extras" are just two "greatest hits" episodes from season two -- all of the sketches are on the first three discs, so you really have to ask what the point was. There is an audio commentary option for both of these clip shows, though, featuring (unlike the first season, where there were commentaries for entire episodes, but featuring Dave and Kevin on one and Mark, Bruce, and a late-arriving Scott on the other), all five Kids commenting at the same time. Did I say at the same time? I mean that literally -- half the time they're talking over one another so you can't figure out what's going on. A good portion of the commentary is also private nostalgia or inside jokes among the kids. There is a bit of interesting backstory on some of the sketches -- such as the original Sir Simon and Hecubus combo, changed right before taping, or the origins of the Chicken Lady (and the disgusting way Scott got Dave to have a genuinely disgusted look on his face during taping of the sketch -- that alone, I will admit, made us laugh so hard as to be worth the price of the set). And even though there's too little of that, just listening to the Kids banter among themselves is pretty amusing. I still left feeling a little short-changed at only 45 minutes of commentary for a whole season, though.
Be advised that there's a fair amount of R-rated explicit talk in the commentary (if you peg the unedited episodes at about a strong PG-13 for comparison.) I doubt it will offend any KITH fan but you probably don't want to give this to your 11-year old niece unless you're trying hard to be like The Groovy Teacher.
Speaking of The Groovy Teacher again, an early Rivoli Theater version of this sketch is included in the next extras section, along with a half dozen other video stage snippets. They definitely used all the good Rivoli clips up on the first season DVD; the ones here are mostly out of focus, often inaudible, and members of the troupe are blocked out half the time. It's interesting as pre-history, but not essential or too-funny-to-miss.
The other extras are throwaways -- a short still gallery of KITH performance posters not on the first season DVD gallery, and trailers for some non-KITH DVD sets.
All in all, if you're setting out to own all five seasons, press on and keep buying; just temper your expectations for the extras used to justify the fourth DVD and thus the four-DVD list price. One cannot help but think that if this is the best they can do for season two, it won't be getting any better for 3, 4, and 5.
Like my review of the first volume, I'm writing this one without fully seeing all of the season in question. But I've seen enough in the past few days (having bought it on Sunday) to know one thing: if you liked season one, you'll wet yourself on season two. There are just so many great characters introduced this season (Mr. Leadfoot, the Sizzler sisters, Simon and Hecubus) and the continuation of others (Buddy Cole, Bobby). The style of comedy has gotten more subversive, more innovative, and the Kids come into their own as television actors.
Overall, this set documents one of the greatest comedy teams at the summit upon which they achieve true greatness. More assured in their own voices and confident in their acting, the Kids In The Hall show that they are a force to be reckoned with. Comedy hasn't been the same since the Kids started, and this set shows why.
The Kids In The Hall took full bloom in the late-1980s/early-1990s when the success of Saturday Night Live made sketch comedy a hot commodity. In this atmosphere, new series like In Living Color, MADtv, and The Kids In The Hall, were ripe for breakout success. Sporting a small regular cast of five (with extensive experience working together), The Kids In The Hall quickly gained a loyal and devoted audience. Cast members Dave Foley (later of Newsradio), Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson, for the most part, wrote their own material and performed their own sketches, providing the show with edge in creativity in regard to its contemporaries. This synergy between cast members and writers earned three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program (whew! that's a long award title) and garnered The Kids In The Hall the credit and respect it deserves as one of the premiere sketch comedy shows in television history...
The Kids In The Hall (Season 2) DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the season premiere in which the cast perform a number of skits such as Spring, Comfortable, Trucker, Hard Day, and The Doctor... Other notable episodes from Season 2 include "#209" with such skits as Cops - Dream, Crushing Hospital, Daddy Drank, and The Leash, and "#218" with such skits as Clandstein Meeting, The Letter, Plungers, and Mr. Pin...
The DVD Report
This second season is intriguing and also hillarious. Alot of people have said this show and this particular season is pretty much hit-and-miss, and all I have to them is you better get your eyes and ears examined because this season is brilliant and has so much more depth than the first.
Another reviewer mentioned how this season box set doesn't have much in the way of special features. There is a whole disc dedicated to bonus material! You will find that this has more bonus features on it than most season 2 box sets of any television show combined.
In terms of comedy, it's bizarre, awkward, and even uncomfortable. It's a challenging watch, but the payoff is well worth the journey. The Kids in the Hall isn't for everyone I realize that, but at the same time, for those of you who look for an alternative to the mundane humor of Saturday Night Live and Mad TV, this show will have you in stitches with it's uncompromising and unusual dialouge and situations.
Another thing that I love about Kids in the Hall is that it's so out of touch with pop culture and is more focused on characterizations, which is something I feel that so many comedy sketch shows lack.
The Kids in the Hall was one of the greatest sketch comedy shows of all time.
Everyone needs to buy every set that comes out, because you're owning some of comedy's greatest performers doing what they do the best...make us laugh!