The All-Pilot Project

The All-Pilot Project: The Ex-List & Kath and Kim (Oct 22)

Kath and Kim
Thursday 8:30, NBC

The Premise: Based on an Australian sitcom, Kim moves back in with her mother after a divorce. Mother-daughter hijinx purportedly ensue.

The Personnel: Molly Shannon, best know for SNL and also for humping two guys to death (A thousand spunky-points to the person who identifies the reference!), plays Kath. Selma Blair, who is eight years younger than Shannon, plays her daughter. I assume most people know Blair for something else, but I know her as Liz Sherman from the Hellboy movies. John Michael Higgins (The Christopher Guest movies, Arrested Development, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law) appears as Kath’s fiancée.

The Poop: Do you guys remember the 90’s? NBC would put their power shows on at 8 and 9 on Thursday, and then there’d be a crap show at 8:30. The technical term for this 8:30 slot is “The Friends / Seinfeld Taint”. The Single Guy, Suddenly Susan, Veronica’s Closet, Drexel’s Class, Inside Schwartz – the horror of the FST is too much to really understand at a single sitting. For the last two seasons or so, the NBC Thursday night block has been pretty consistently enjoyable, and it seemed like the FST was gone for good

Sadly, if Kath and Kim aired ten years ago, it would have fit perfectly into the Taint. It’s poorly executed and not funny. We’re supposed to laugh at how dumb and tacky the main characters are, which in and of itself, is not hilarious. Especially immediately following My Name is Earl, which gives us dumb and/or tacky characters and then gets us to care about them, and then has them do things that are funny. Kath and Kim, you are no Joy Hickey-Turner.

They’re trying for a Gilmore Girls meets The Office vibe, I think. You have the mother and daughter talking pop culture and there’s the deadpan style. Or so they think. Selma Blair spends the whole episode pouting, which is not the same thing at all. Pouting is just annoying and immediately unsympathetic.

Molly Shannon is fairly funny, at least. She has a good, spunky delivery. And Higgins is always funny no matter what he does. His unabashed squareness and deeply-felt enthusiasm provide the pilot’s only real laughs. But even though he’s funny, it makes me sad that he’s spending his time desperately trying to prop up this disappointment. (Honestly, any of Higgins’ commentary tracks for Harvey Birdman is exponentially funnier than an episode of Kath and Kim.)

It’s dour and depressing, and it’s a sad example of writers believing that malapropisms and references to pop culture are automatically funny. Shannon’s energy and Higgins’ natural hilariousness don’t save this mess.

The Prognosis: Sadly, given the timeslot, it’s at least going to remain on in the background, serving as a speed bump on Thursday night’s Highway of Hilarity. I mean, I guess we can always talk between Earl and The Office, right?

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