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October 1, 2014

Kath & Kim: Pilot (series premiere)

by Richard Keller, posted Oct 10th 2008 2:09AM

(S01E01) We're friends here, aren't we? So, I can be honest with you. I mean, some of you have been utterly, brutally honest with me to the point I cry into my pillow at nights. The least you can let me do is allow some truthiness spill over to you. Okay? Okay.

I went in blind to the premiere of Kath & Kim. Not blind in the sense that I didn't know who the stars were. My late 20s and early 30s were spent watching Molly Shannon on Saturday Night Live and I had knowledge of Selma Blair's work over the last few years. What I'm talking about is that I knew nothing about this NBC comedy or the Australian hit it was based on. The upside to this was that I was coming into the show like any other viewer. The downside was that I was coming into the show like any other viewer.

I probably should have come in a little more knowledgeable.

Reviewing a series premiere can be a crapshoot because it doesn't always point the way the show is going to go. This may be the case with Kath & Kim. Even though there were some funny moments in the show I found it a bit, um, annoying. To be more specific, I found Selma Blair's character of Kim to be annoying. The rest of the cast was just living in a world all of their own.

For those who may never watch the show, Kath & Kim is a mother-daughter comedy. Kath is the forty-something mother who seems to have never updated the clothes that she bought in the 1980s. Kim is her twenty-something, high-maintenance daughter. Strike that. Kim is actually her twenty-something, highest-maintenance-of-all-high-maintenance daughter. Together, they have a dysfunctional relationship that goes so quickly from hate to love to hate again that it can give you whiplash.

(Insert Note About Age Here: Interesting fact -- Shannon and Blair are only about 8 years apart in real life (1964 for Shannon as opposed to 1972 for Blair. So, it looks like age was increased on one side and decreased on the other.)

Molly Shannon fits into her role as Kath. This is due to the many times she played a role just like her during her days on Saturday Night Live. She was ditsy at times, but for the most part she seemed to have genuine heart for her daughter and her husband. You could also say that she played the straight man to her daughter. If not straight man, then at least she was the stabilizing agent to keep her daughter in check.

Kim, as said before, was annoying. And dim. And whiny...I can't forget whiny. There were some points during the show that I wanted to reach into the screen and throttle her (not that I would do that, of course) because she was just so grating. She was the typical slacker child, just a decade too late. That actually fit well into the show since her mom's fashions were a few decades behind.

Needless to say, it was a show that you needed to get used to. Once the awkwardness of the first scenes passed and the inner dialogs faded away (and I hope they stay away) the show looked to have some promise. I found the quick jumps from down-and-out fighting to compliments about each other's outfits interesting to watch and I may have chuckled at a few of them. Also, despite her annoying whines, Kim had some good one-liners, particularly with her soon-to-be ex-husband who seemed to be as light in the head as she was.

Maybe because I'm a guy I enjoyed the male characters more than I did Kath and Kim. Michael Higgins (great in Best in Show and A Mighty Wind), who played Kath's new beau Phil, and Mikey Day, who played Kim's husband Craig, were actually the opposites of Kath and Kim. It seemed that both of the female characters were strong, a bit needy, and manipulative -- especially Kim -- while the men were genuine, loving and sensitive. This is the total opposite of comedy formulas designed during the last 50 years.

I feel that Kath & Kim will be an acquired taste. Despite her humor, I see males tuning the show out because of Kim's whining. On the other hand, the show may gain an audience of older viewers who can relate to trials and tribulations of having an adult-sized child returning to the nest. As for me, I'll give the show a few more weeks to work out the kinks before I make my decision. Whether NBC keeps it on the air for that long is anyone's guess.

What was your opinion on Kath & Kim
Very funny. A nice change of pace for male-dominated NBC comedies.81 (14.8%)
Okay. Some kinks need to be worked out before I make judgement196 (35.9%)
Crap. Not even worth airing.190 (34.8%)
Couldn't tell.Kim's whining caused my head to explode.79 (14.5%)

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19 Comments

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Ali

I love Kath & Kim it embraces the idiocy of America, general craziness, and is great at presenting it and adding some heart... The AU version is funny, but personally I think the US version is better because there is character development. This show deserves at least 1 season, and show be seen as based on, not the "same" Kath and Kim as the AU. Its a bright light that allows you to laugh and let your mind wander... And it has gotten better with time, the 4th episode is the best yet...

November 15 2008 at 8:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brin

This show was awful. I had to fight not to change the channel on several occasions. I nearly cracked a smile at one line towards the end, but I won't be putting myself through that again. And adding insult to injury? You guys gave up reviewing GOOD shows (such a Project Runway) to spend time on this piece of televised garbage.

October 10 2008 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cdawg

i didn't hate it per se. went in with VERY low expectations of course though. And it wasn't annoying until the end. I'll watch it again if I'm near a tv, but prob wont get a season pass or anything.

October 10 2008 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chip Douglas

Ever watch the first episode of "Friends"? I think the show has to find its stride. I don't think it will be a hit for ten years, but it has potential. I will give it two more airings, if it is not canceled before that. Heather Graham in "Emily's Reasons Why Not" lasted exactly one episode.

October 10 2008 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Albert Banks

Terrible show

October 10 2008 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

I haven't seen the original either, but I have seen some Australian TV, including some of Gina Riley (the Australian Kim)'s other work, and the premiere seemed very Australian to me. We'll see if future episodes adjust more for the American market, which I think they'll have to in order to succeed, as did the Office, instead of staying too true to their roots and too alien to this audience, as did Coupling.

also, it's John Michael Higgins, not Michael Higgins, innit?

October 10 2008 at 10:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Thomas

It was free on iTunes, but they really should have paid me.

October 10 2008 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
derek

I haven't watched this yet and will catch up with it next week but this seems like a modern day Married with Children. Married with Children isn't something I would watch.

October 10 2008 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bryan

Uh. That was terrible. My wife and I stared at the screen for 25 minutes waiting to just crack a smile. Many scenes/lines were cringe inducing.

October 10 2008 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

I mean what do you guys expect? There's Molly Shannon in this. I don't like the way she does comedy and that's why I don't particularly like this show.

But if you ask me, for what the writers aimed at, the cast fits perfectly.

This is by far better than "Worst Week" and less good as "Gary unmarried" but that might be just because I'm a guy and find Gary annoying because he behaves irrational - but Kath & Kim could easily be understood better by women in the age of the two women on this show. I didn't like Sex & the City that much either at first but it grew an me.

This show isn't nearly as horrible as "Do not disturb" or "Cavemen" and doesn't feel as off as "Worst week". There was an audience for "Miss / Guided" so there must be somebody who will like this.

I mean even "The Class" in its Pilot felt more off than this show. You might not like it, but I think they did a good job with the material they got. The actors do a nice job, the script is "perfect" in the way that it "gets the point across". Of course you can criticize this for being not that good but that's the same case with the Next Bus on MTV... at least this isn't a reality show. Because if you take a close look at this, this is a perfectly scripted reality series in a white trash environment if you ask me...

October 10 2008 at 7:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to StillBash's comment
Carissa

Worst Week is one of the funniest shows I've seen in years; since Sons & Daughters. What the Hades are you talking about?

October 11 2008 at 1:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

Piss jokes. Diaper jokes.

I guess I am too "sophisticated" to not laugh about this nonsense.

October 11 2008 at 4:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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