The third season of the CBC's finest gift to the world, The Kids In The Hall ran from 1991 through 1992 and produced twenty episodes in total. A&E in conjunction with Broadway Video continues with the standards of excellence that they brought to the table with their complete releases of the first two seasons, and now the third (and possibly the funniest) finally hits DVD, uncut and uncensored.
Dave Foley, Mark McKinney (before he went onto Saturday Night Live), Bruce McCulluch, Scott Thompson and Kevin McDonald are all in fine form here. The writing is more refined, the satire is edgier, and some of the jabs are near brilliant. While the Kids' sense of humor won't appeal to everyone and some of the jokes definitely go over better in Canada than in the United States simply because of minor cultural differences, the humor here is clever, funny, and at times just plain odd.
In the first season, they were all over the place, trying to find their groove and having to adjust a lot of the material that they'd brought to life on stage to the small screen for home viewing. The second season proved to be a vast improvement over the first, with better acting, much better writing, and considerably improved comedic timing. The third season, however, is where it all works. Some recurring characters come back this time out – the Chicken Lady is here, as are the cops and even good old Mr. Heavyfoot – but it's the one off skits that really work. Such classic moments as Bruce McCulloch's brilliant turn as a man obsessed in The Pen or Dave Foley's performance as a man who just can't handle his booze in Girl Drink Drunk stand out as some of the finest bits in the history of a show that is consistently filled with fine bits all around.
Scott Thompson as Queen Elizabeth II addressing Canada in order to convince them to take back the monarchy is absolutely hysterical (though this is one that probably plays better to Canadian audiences), as is the random appearances of that strange red headed 'Fact Girl.' Simon and Hecubus always make for an evil good time, and they show up here a few times as they proved to be a very popular bit, and Bruce McCulluch first appears as Tammy in this season as well.
While not ever skit is gold, the fact is that most of them are and there are very few misfires in this selection of episodes. This material serves as a record of when the troupe was completely at the top of their game and it's many of the skits in this set that made so many people fans of the show in the first place. Plenty of instantly quotable lines such as 'I'm just not good at small talk, you price!' or 'I've got a spike through my head' ought to bring back plenty of fond memories of the show, and that's just barely scratching the surface of the material.
The skits on this set are contained in the following order in the appropriate episodes as they were originally broadcast and are presented here uncut with all the naughty words intact.
Plane/Body Conscious/Cabbie – Bigot/Chicken Lady Show/Cabbies – Pris/Cops – Abuse/Small C/The Pen/Cops – Movie/Touch Me There
Clothes Make The Man/Can't Sleep 2/Tiggy/I Can Live With That/ Excellent TV/Can't Sleep 3/Girl Drink Drunk
Asleep on the Job/Measure/Nervous Break(fast) Down/Raise 1/Gimmel 100/Raise 2/Tammy
Golf/Earring/Flying Pig 1/Queen's Address/Flying Pig 2/Academy Awards/Cops - Flying Pig/Chop Chop/Flying Pig 3
Presentation/Tanya's Goodbye/Open Letter 1/Tucker/Open Letter 2/ Until Proven Guilty/Underage
Cops - Night 1/Accents/Original Bat/Bingo/Drag Revolution/Cops - Night 2/Teamwork/Cops - Night 3
Mom or Dad/Evol/Same as Bruce/Mocking/Sacking All Admirals/ Waiting Room/Kidnapped
Genius/Gut/Wedding Virgin/Terrier/Wedding Toast/Freedom of Speech/Wedding Objection/Excellent Patio
Old Lady/The Gift/Babysitter/M. Piedlourde Puts His Pants On/Paris/Street Singers/M. Piedlourde - Deteste Le Film/Macaroni
Fact – Stone/After The Film/Replaced 1/Grandpa Geralds/Wages/ Replaced 2/Haggle/Fact – Uncle/Captain Calm/Fact – Strike/Replaced 3
Girls/Mr. Right/He's Hip 1/Extreme/He's Hip 2/Harassment/He's Hip 3/Stay Down
Cops – Opera/Back On The Horse/Ed/Cops – Shift/Buddy's Date/Tea Factory/Cops – Asleep/Pickle
Boxing/Pizzeria/On The Subject of Me – Cow/Bartending School/On The Subject of Me – Caricature/The Sudelmans/On The Subject of Me – Moustache/My Horrible Secret
Poem - 99 Bottles/Funeral Home/Poem - The Fall/The King/Advice/Scar/Poem - The Empress/Emergency Troupe Meeting
Cops – Potato/Serial/Gross 1/Cops – Thinking/Home Alone/Opened Up/Gross 2/Shirlers
Resemble/Treatment/Fact – Ears/Night Train/Garbage Man/Fact - Vanilla Ice/Bauer
Father Figure 1/God/Darcy & Francesca/Father Figure 2/Letters From A Sick Bed/Joint/Father Figure 3/Joint Tag
Old Yeller 1/Skeletons/Ugly Situation/Vicky/Old Yeller 2/Armada/ Horsey
What/Cattle Call/Clock Radio/Excellent Mom Frame/Cattle Call 2/ Long Story/Celebration
On The Subject Of Me – Spleen/Chicken Wedding/Whatever/Regrets/ Check-up/On The Subject of Me – Caesarian/Spy Models
Seeing as this material was all made for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and shown on television, it should surprise no one to find that the image is presented 1.33.1 fullframe, which is how it should be. The video quality is pretty good overall. There is some evidence of mild damage to the materials used for the transfer that shows up in the form of the odd speck here and there. Some mild edge enhancement is also present as are a few instances of compression artifacts but everything is quite clean and watchable throughout despite these small problems. For a TV show fast approaching fifteen years old, this set does do justice to the visuals with nice color representation and accurate looking skin tones. The odd small flaw in the presentation is easy to overlook as they don't really distract from the material much at all and each and every one of the episodes looks just as good if not better than they did on broadcast television.
The English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is pretty solid for the most part. There are minor pops here and there though when we look at the big picture we've got a clean mix that gets the job done just fine. The laugh tracks are never overpowering as they can be and have been on other comedy series DVDs, and the dialogue is always crisp and plenty easy to understand from start to finish. There's not much going on at all in the way of channel separation but the material hardly calls for it and this audio mix is perfectly sufficient for this release aside from the drop outs mentioned.
First up on disc four are two Season 3 Best-of Compilation episodes. Skits included in these two episodes are:
Girls/Mr. Right/Cabbie – Bigot/Body Conscious/Fact – Stone/Cabbies – Pris/Extreme/The Pen/Fact – Strike/Cops – Abuse/Chicken Lady Show/Cops - Old Lady/The King/Queen's Address/Cops – Asleep/Stay Down
Seeing as all these skits appear in the original episodes as presented on the first three discs in the set, why bother, right? Wrong! If you check around on the menu screens, you'll find that both of the two compilation episodes come with optional commentary from the five Kids, both of which are definitely worthwhile for fans of the show. The humor that they show in the skits carries over nicely to these tracks, and they skewer one another and their producers throughout but also manage to detail some of the history of the show and explain some of the backgrounds of the characters and where some of the strange ideas came from. Both tracks are interesting and funny, and thankfully never boring - like all good commentary tracks should be.
Aside from that, there's also 30 More Minutes of Never-Before-Seen-On-TV Performances from the Rivoli Theater. These were shot in the fall of 1988 and the early winter of 1989 just as the Kids were starting to gain a following and just as the first season was about to launch on the CBC. Some of this content is slightly raunchier than what you might be used to from the TV show, as they don't have to worry about censorship issues and can really cut lose. While the quality lacks – they're shot on a handheld camcorder from the looks of things – the content delivers and just like the live performances on the first two sets that preceded this one, the live material is a lot of fun.
Rounding out the extra features is a still gallery in slide show format, biographies for the cast members (these biographies are the only extras to appear on a disc other than the fourth one, and are on Disc One), and a handful of trailers.
Perhaps the funniest season in the history of the entire series, Kids In The Hall – The Complete Third Season comes to DVD with some cool extras and nice audio and video quality. Highly recommended!
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.