Yet another sketch comedy troupe gets a TV show
Now that it's on DVD I could plow through all 10 episodes and see what it's all about. What I found was a sketch troupe not unlike those who have come before, but a good one nonetheless. If anything makes these Kids different than the legendary Kids (in the Hall, with whom they share a producer) it's the somewhat singular vision behind the show, provided by Trevor Moore, who serves as a writer, director and actor, after having his own public access show, and an aborted series for the family-friendly Pax network. The most memorable sketches and performances star Moore, a tall, angular guy with expressive eyes and a talent for musical comedy ("Get a New Daddy" is insidiously catchy) and overplaying emotion (watch "Gallon of PCP" for a sketch acting workshop.)
That's not to say his castmates don't bring anything to the table. In fact, they bring a mix of talents that recalls some of the best aspects of previous sketch stars. Darren Trumeter and Zach Cregger both practice a brand of drag that's a blend of the KITH's real women and Monty Python's men in dresses, while Timmy William's strangely childlike persona reminds one of Brian Posehn's appearances on Mr. Show. The final Kid, the low-key Sam Brown, could be tagged as anything from Kevin McDonald's weakling oddballs to Chris Parnell's straight-laced lunatics. It may be something of a backhanded compliment to describe them as such, because outside of Moore, they feel like a group inspired by others than innovators. But at least they take that inspiration and make something interesting from it, instead of being a tribute band.
The show is more like "SNL" than the other shows mentioned, as there's no linking elements between the majority of the sketches, with the show bouncing from moment to moment, mixing quick-hit bits and long set-ups. Sketch concepts are all over the place, thought a few themes emerge, including many gross-out gags, jokes about race, music, history and homosexuality, and uncomfortable moments that last forever. Though the show dips into easy scatological humor, like a businessman who removes a turd from his pants in the middle of a meeting, there's a good deal of smart humor as well, some of which is camouflaged as stupidity, like a scene in which a group of friends beat each other up depending upon their use of grammar. But as one might expect, the most memorable bits are the most in-your-face, including a guy using a casual gesture in an extremely creepy manner, an astronaut who refuses to let gravity affect his snacking and a rap video by A. Hitler (which was actually a student film by Moore.) Impressively, they avoid the presence of recurring characters for the most part, unless they are playing themselves.
The show was successful enough to spawn a second season, just not on Fuse. Instead, the show has moved to IFC, where the show can run uncensored, which is just as it runs on this DVD set, which means you get to hear all the cursing and see the nudity, which was used as a censored punchline on Fuse. Does it affect the show? Not really. The swearing works either way, and the nudity is so pointless that only the horniest 13-year-old will get anything out of it. The bigger question is "Why the move?" Did the Kids jump ship or were they pushed? Based on these DVDs, it's hard to not think this was the best show Fuse had going for it, and they are worse off for the loss.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks that are just what you'd expect from basic cable sketch comedy, with center-channel dialogue and some strong music, but nothing that's going to impress you much. No complaints here, especially during the music sketches.
A short featurette (less than three-minutes long) introduces each of the members of the troupe, before you get to watch three sketches from Season Two, this time in anamorphic widescreen. It's more of the same of what you see in the 10 episodes, including a sketch that has the most original feminine hygiene concept I've ever heard.
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