Pamela Anderson will guest-star as herself in the American Kath & Kim, playing a scene opposie Molly Shannon and Selma Blair’s celeb-obsessed characters.
Isn’t it polite to wait at least a couple of seasons before you start stunt-casting?
I just watched the second episode of the US Kath & Kim, and… meh.
The show is kind of weird. And not all that funny. The cast – who I all like, even the goofy Mikey Day – do their best, but the problem is with the script: it’s too broad, it tries too hard, and its foxy ladies are just stoopid.
Okay, for example: episode two has its Very Own Original Plot in which Kath uses Phil’s connections to score a stall in a beauty exhibition at the mall, where she plans to put on a hair show (in the US series she’s a hairdresser). Kim is her model, which leads to shenanigans. The episode ends (spoiler!) with Kath styling a risky hairdo to impress her rivals:
This disaster – dubbed “the Flying Wedge” – isn’t merely a bad hairdo, it’s not even a hairdo. Not even the most out-of-touch, deluded American suburbanite would consider this chic… so when Kath, Kim, Phil and everyone else in the mall react to it like it is chic, the gag falls flat. The series isn’t spoofing suburban tackiness; it becomes just another sitcom that relies on all its characters being near-retarded.
And this isn’t just the “Australian original vs American adaptation” argument all over again – even Americans aren’t taking well to the series. Au revoir, foxy ladies?
So I just watched the US Kath & Kim, and… it really isn’t that bad.
That’s not to say it’s good. The pilot’s storyline follows more or less the same path as the first Australian episode, but the US bits that directly copy the original feel stilted, while the gags unique to the American version play out in an awkward, har-har-look-at-us-we’re-being-funny-type way but aren’t actually all that funny.
It’s weird: the pilot hams up all its lamest gags (it seems especially pleased with itself when smugly namedropping tabloid celebrities) while at the same time playing down the arch suburban satire that’s at the heart of Kath & Kim‘s yoomah.
That said, it’s not completely dreadful. I will watch episode two, is what I’m saying: the series has promise (particularly its talented cast), but it seems unlikely it’ll stay on the air long enough to find its feet.
Oh, and the very worst thing about the US series? No Sharon Strzelecki equivalent. Her absence leaves a plus-sized hole in the show, pun intended.
Why oh why am I not surprised that US critics have savaged Kath & Kim? And how embarrassing for Australia that our number one comedy has been remade so badly! Now America is going to think that we’re like totally lame and stuff.
But, perspective: remember that at first no one was very kind to the US adaptation of The Office, which went on to become a genuinely funny, Emmy Award-winning critical darling. (Though admittedly the pilot of that show totally sucks. You know there’s that dreadful bit where Jim or Pam is interviewing about yogurt lids or something? Cringe.)
Unfortunately for Kath & Kim, I doubt it’ll get the same chance to grow into its own like The Office did, now that everyone at NBC hates Ben Silverman or whatever. Expect to see the foxy ladies join Do Not Disturb on the scrapheap real soon.
Another blow to the US Kath & Kim: there’ll be no devastatingly tragic Sharon Strzelecki equivalent, because Magda Szubanski has refused to sell the rights to the character. Instead, she’ll reportedly be replaced by a screaming queen.
Channel Seven bigwig Tim Worner has politely told all the people who are bashing the US Kath & Kim without having seen it to cram it. Coincidentally, the US Kath & Kim is likely to air on Worner’s network later in the year, which I’m sure has nothing to do with his request.
Speaking of K&K, Selma Blair has displayed a mean comedic streak (“mean” in every sense of the word) at the TCA tour. When a reporter at the TCA press tour asked Selma if she and Molly Shannon – who are only eight years apart – can convincingly play mother and daughter, she offered this cheeky riposte:
“Actresses play different people all the time… It’s weird. It’s this thing called acting, and so you just, like, play different characters that aren’t your age or anything. I mean, I think. I don’t know.”