Fifteen years after their critically acclaimed, self-titled sketch series ended and 14 after their one and only movie, Brain Candy, flopped the Canadian comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall returned to the tube with the limited IFC series, Death Comes To Town." For those of us who dont have IFC on our cable lineup, the wait to DVD is over!
Heres the short review: I laughed out loud from the first scene; KITH fans should buy it.
Now for the longer one ...
Death Comes to Towns eight half-hour episodes are about exactly that: A slovenly, codpiece-wearing Death (Mark McKinney) arrives via bus to Shuckton, a small town where Mayor Bowman (Bruce McCulloch) is treated like a superstar its an honor for him to steal your burger and make out with your girlfriend and making a bid for the 2028 Olympics.
All of Shucktons disappointed when it receives word it wont be hosting any games, and then shocked when Bowman is discovered dead, having been murdered. We know Deaths to blame, because we see him literally snort up the departeds souls, but the rest of the townspeople dont have a clue. In more ways than one.
Among the other daft residents are Mrs. Bowman (Dave Foley, looking kinda cute, I have to admit), the mayors alcoholic widow; Ricky (also McCulloch), a former hockey progeny turned morbidly obese shut-in/armchair sleuth; Marnie (Kevin McDonald), Rickys brain-addled, pizza-delivering pal; Crim (Scott Thompson), suspect No. 1 and perhaps the only Native American who punctuates his sentences with eh; and Dusty Diamond (Thompson again), the coroner whos secretly hiding Bowmans body in his house, because hes in love with him.
Oh, and there are more, most played by the Kids regardless of gender, of course. The notable exception is Rampop (Landon Reynolds-Trudel), the Bowmans special child who sees humans as animated butterflies. The boy nearly steals the show from underneath their collective slips.
The Kids can be dark, offensive, nonsensical all reasons I have loved them even longer than Ive loved my wife and children. Death, for instance, has a sexual fetish for pudgy redheads. Theres an aborted musical number about a ticking biological clock, in which babies are swung around like ragdolls. A cat is kept alive by inserting quarters into a machine. En route to the electric chair, one character stops to record a radio station bumper: When Im not getting executed, I listen to 102 FM The Fox!
You get the picture. Or do you? Youre either into the Kids decidedly odd groove or youre not. Like Brain Candy, the series does attempt to tell a start-to-finish story, but its the offhanded bits thrown in that work the best. In fact, the less plot they put into it, the funnier. I think they realized this, because the final episode exudes a feeling of oh, crap, we gotta wrap this up hurriedness.
Also like Brain Candy, its not as funny as the HBO series that launched them to stardom, but its not disappointing, either. Serious cult potential awaits, but I long more for another dose.
Welcome back, guys. Dont be gone long. Rod Lott