NBC’s Kath and Kim – A Sneak Peek

One of the things that differentiates Universal Studios in Orlando from Walt Disney World is the extraordinary number of folks wanting “just a moment” of one’s time to take a survey, watch a timeshare demonstration or just generally waste one’s time. Sometimes, just sometimes, these things are worth it.

I was grabbed on this most recent trip to Universal to watch a new television program and give my opinion on it. Heh, heh, they don’t know me very well. I had to assure them that I did not work for the media – you know, television, movies, newspapers, etc. I took note that they did not mention any form of online media, especially blogging. Like I said, they don’t know me very well.

It was the kind of thing where, just like on “The Simpsons,” you push a green button when you like what you’re seeing and a red button when you don’t like it. There was also a ‘tune out button’ to push when you reach the point where you would normally change the channel as if you’d had enough or became too bored. The program I watched was the yet-to-be-aired second episode of “Kath and Kim,” the new Molly Shannon sitcom vehicle on NBC. I hit that ‘tune out button’ before the title sequence (which I might add, at only a few seconds was one of the few things about the shows I liked).

Surprisingly this is an American version of one of Australia’s most popular sitcoms. Now, either Australian television viewers have shockingly lower IQs than Americans, or NBC butchered this adaptation. Judging from the few Aussies I know, I would have to go for the second option. Way to go, NBC, now when are you bringing back “Manimal” and “Supertrain?”

The three leads – Shannon, Selma Blair (who is shockingly bad), and John Michael Higgins (do not watch him jog…) – are at best uninteresting and at worst annoying and nerve-grating. I hated this. Shannon has a daughter and is about to marry again. The whole episode virtually revolves around two premises. One is the constant repetitive joke that Shannon’s character is old, and every bad joke and cliché you can think of is thrown into the mix, and none of it is funny. The second plot (and I shudder to even use the word in this circumstance) involves the concept of misunderstanding, a simple-minded one that is as old as sitcom television itself. Woman sees man with other woman and assumes the worst. Come on, this was ancient when “I Love Lucy” and “The Honeymooners” did it.

There are elements that are fun, but the problem is they are only background details. I liked some of the hip hop music inserted in places and the drag queens at the end were interesting characters – why not make the show about them? I hated her character, but there was no denying the charisma and presence of the unnamed actress who played Angel. She showed promise. Where’s her sitcom? Unfortunately she was barely in the thing, and the rest of the show was unfixable in my opinion.

I guess I picked the wrong day to do this survey. The next one was on the new “Knight Rider” which was being thoroughly hyped by the survey folks and had changes noted that, to me at least, did not sound promising. Val Kilmer as KITT? I had heard that a previous survey was about “My Own Worst Enemy,” Christian Slater’s take on the Jekyll/Hyde concept had received high marks. I would have liked to have seen that. As for “Kath and Kim,” avoid it at all costs when it premieres October 9th.

About Glenn Walker

Glenn Walker is a professional writer, and editor-in-chief and contributing writer at Biff Bam Pop!. A blogger, podcaster, and reviewer of pop culture in all its forms, he's done stints in radio, journalism and video retail. Ask him anything about movies, television, music, or especially comics or French fries, and you’ll be hard pressed to stump him or shut him up.

Posted on September 23, 2008, in kath and kim, knight rider, molly shannon, nbc, new season, selma blair, simpsons, television, universal, walt disney world. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. NBC absolutely butchered the remake of Kath & Kim as the characters are poor adaptions of the originals. Kath and Kim in Australia is filled with Aussie lingo and phrases that might not be understood by American audiences which is why it was drastically altered to suit the demographic it was being marketed to. Anyway, watch the original and then make up your mind!

  2. Your a fuckwit! Australians dont have lower IQ’s you moron, the wankers that rewote the series did and they were SEPTICS!!!!!!!!!

  3. Please reread what I wrote – I said NBC butchered the show. “Now, either Australian television viewers have shockingly lower IQs than Americans, or NBC butchered this adaptation. Judging from the few Aussies I know, I would have to go for the second option.”Second option, ya know. Please reread.

  4. Sorry I love both the aussie version and the US re-make. Ok maybe I am just checking out Selma Blair…so so cute.

  5. Definitely another American butchering of a national treasure – just like the American "office". Americans can't do dry British humour – its eems they also can't do subtle, quirky Australian parody. I understand that you were expressing the point that no one in their right mind could appreciate "Kath & Kim" as marketed to America, however – I think you'll find that in Australia (and in fact anywhere else in the world outside the ole U, S of A…) there is a general acceptance that it is not actually possible to have a lower IQ than Americans as a whole (and I'm talking averages here!)

  6. I was so afraid when i heard there was going to be an American version of Kath and Kim…i knew it was impossible that it could work and that it would be beyond terrible…as if the american version of the office wasn’t bad enough 😦

  7. Oh, and the reason you may have Australians jumping down your throat on this one… is that the second part of your comment “Judging from the few Australian’s I know, It would be the latter” – is left out of publication in Australian media. So it just has you stating that Australian’s must have a lower IQ -http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=642819

  8. Surprisingly this is an American version of one of Australia’s most popular sitcoms. Now, either Australian television viewers have shockingly lower IQs than Americans, or NBC butchered this adaptation. Judging from the few Aussies I know, I would have to go for the second option. Way to go, NBC, now when are you bringing back “Manimal” and “Supertrain?” You are indeed correct sir. Although the fact that you felt the need to imply such an opinion is somewhat telling. So is the fact that Australian tabloids have been saying the converse since the remake was announced.

  9. Not funny mate. Don’t even think it’s a joke to suggest we’re idiots. Clearly to suggest it says you don’t understand Australian humour, or you’d KNOW the show is a hit here, not because we laugh WITH the jokes, but AT them.America has never known how to laugh at itself. I wish America knew how much the rest of the world laughs at them. That’s why this rip has failed.It’s not all about you America!So yes, it’s a slaughterhouse of a great comedy Australian comedy. The whole concept is tailored to Australians, so it only goes without saying it could not, and SHOULD not have been remade. I think the British, if anyone, could have pulled it off.Tim Goodman got it right in saying Australia is owed an apology. Thanks Tim *thumbs up*

  10. "Surprisingly this is an American version of one of Australia’s most popular sitcoms … either Australian television viewers have shockingly lower IQs than Americans, or NBC butchered this adaptation," <– you missed one option, one that seems more plausable to an Australian.. maybe Americans I.Qs are too low to understand the brilliance that is Kath and Kim.

  11. Never says Australian viewers have lower IQs than Americans. I know it said the second option, mate, but I think it was still a bit rich.I’ve seen the preview for the U.S version, and that’s all I ever hope to see of it. Does anyone know why a remake was even made in the first place? It’s way funnier in the original version; Kath and Kim are the biggest bogans ever in that.

  12. The Aussie version was one of the funniest things I have ever seen and I only have one thing to say to NBC…. WHAT THE F#@K DID YOU DO TO IT. I can barely express how good the original is, now you think Aussies create bad comedies, at least we don’t need a studio laughter put over the top of shows to show us when to laugh. I know you weren’t insinuating we have a low IQ but the rest of America will judge us on this remake and its totally the fault of incompetent T.V. executives. Will you ever learn how to remake another countries TV shows, that being apart from all the reality shows that keep the exact same formulae.

  13. I completely agree with you on “The Office.” I quite like the original but have never been able to get through an episode of the American version. And come on, the rest of the world only has a higher IQ than -some- Americans, not -all-… 😉

  14. Wow, I’m glad I requoted the whole sentence here in comments then… Why would it be cut off like that?

  15. The humour of the Australian series of Kath and Kim, would for the most part, go over America’s heads. British and Australian humour does not compare to the low-brow, crass, slapstick humour that many American comedies boast.I would be inclined to argue that British and Australian humour is in fact more intellectual.I knew from the beginning that a US remake would destroy the original Kath and Kim and urge that interested Americans seek out the original Australian version though caveat emptor much of the humour may go right over your head.To the author of this blog: I found out about your site from Australian News Website http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=642819. Thought I’d let you know.

  16. Lucky you, you got quoted by nineMSN – http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=642819I got my back up a bit when I saw the quote but then I saw your post so it’s all good :). It’s just the stupid media twisting people’s words again.When I heard that the states were doing their own version, I knew it would be bad. A lot of country’s just can’t seem to remake a show from a different country.And then I saw the actors in costume and I knew that they had gotten it wrong.Do Americans even get the whole aussie bogan thing?

  17. Ok. I completely agree that this version is terrible! But, it could never have worked bc the reason Kath and Kim (Australian version) was such a hit is because it’s a joke! People in Australia are not really like that. It’s what we like to call sarcasm.Don’t say that we aren’t as smart as Americans, because nothing is further from the truth. You could never truly understand why the Australian version is so funny.

  18. Yes,Glenn, I too read the clipped comments on ninemsn and was ready to give you a serve. Am very glad I found your full review before doing so!Yes, Kath and Kim was butchered by the american version and we have every right to be angry at this sub-standard rendition of the original. That’s one of the thing’s that makes me so proud to be an aussie, our ability to laugh at ourselves and at a snapshot of our society. So, why did the executives at NBC feel the need to mess with a winning formula? If they didn’t feel that american audiences would “get” the subtle inflections of our humour, why do the show?I think the real shame here reflects only on the muffin-heads at NBC and has no bearing on american audiences or australian IQ’s.

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