A&E // 1991 // 525 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Corupe (Retired) // November 22nd, 2006
I darn near puked!
A&E finishes up another TV series on DVD with the release of The Kids in the Hall: The Complete Fifth Season. This set offers the final 21 episodes of classic sketches, characters, and moments written and performed by Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson.
* Episode 1: Idiot Boy at Work; Police Department -- Did you kill that guy?; You've Gained Weight; Police Department -- Did you kill that guy?; Feelyat!; Brian's Been Arrested; Police Department -- Did you kill that guy?; The Beard
* Episode 2: Police Department -- Did you kill that guy?; Disgusting Old Man; The Chosen One Thinker; Chance Meeting; Police Department -- Did you kill that guy?; Firing Documentary; Police Department -- Did you kill that guy?; Grizzly; Police Department -- Did you kill that guy?
* Episode 3: Whores; Meet Your New Male Slave; Someone Doesn't Like You; Whores; Poreef; The Tattoo; The Hit
* Episode 4: God is Dead; New Boots; Accelerated-Time Breakup; Whores; Buddy's Bar-Montreal; Whores; Dipping Areas
* Episode 5: Steps; Stump Hand Waiter; Butt Freak Film Buff; Gavin at the Police Department; Steps; Guy Who Consoles People in Hospital; Steps; Evan the Stereo Salesman
* Episode 6:
Weston & Virgil in 1972; Power-Mad after Promotion; Sick about Crime; Laundromat Business Opportunities; Fight-Picking Guy; Post-Apocalypse Poets; Fight-Picking Guy; Coal-Shoveler with Angst
* Episode 7: Slow Motion Trick; Ex-Girlfriend Relocation; Whores; Love; Breast-Obsessed Businessman; Whores; Naive Duck Hunting; Whores; They Love Me in France
* Episode 8: 555-SLUT; Chicken Lady at the Mall; Old People; Office Joker Revenge; 555-SLUT; Exercise Class Instructors; 555-SLUT; Embarrassing Dinner
* Episode 9: Steps; Crab Shampoo; Obfuscator Boyfriend; Mr. Tisane's Tea Problem; Boiled Potatoes; Steps
* Episode 10: Lick Town Clean; Agents in the Bar; The Lovers; Noisy Kid; Dave/Elk; Humpback Gays; The Lovers; My Training
* Episode 11: The Test-Tube Baby; Kathie & Dry Cleaner; Whores; Starving Street Singers; Communist Threat; Whores; Man's Girlfriend's Jobs
* Episode 12: Shoe Shine; The Monkeys; You Scuzzy Piece of Filth!; Raj and Christine: Temporary Roommates; Husk Musk
* Episode 13: Clothes-Talker; Sid & Sharisse Wedding; Whores; Darn Near Puked; Whores; Scott's Vision; Again! Again!
* Episode 14: Police Department; Bleeding Ear; Bikini Inspector; Wedding at Buddy's; This Scene Was Written in Haste; Hi-Tech Car Alarm
* Episode 15: Cyclops; The Convenience Store Worker; Hillbilly's Problem; Fran the Italian
* Episode 16: Wrote the Report Naked; Don't Shut off My Cable!; My Gazebo!; Scott on Los Angeles; Carlo the Scientist
* Episode 17: Greater Possibilities; Steps Guys at Home; "Living Proof" Press Conference; Big Bucks
* Episode 18: Band Killer; Brown Stuff; I'm Late; Steps; Bye Stan; Bellini Day
* Episode 19: Francesca, Bruno, & the Voiceover Guy; Sperm Bank; The Queen at Tea; Sperm Bank; Man of Destiny; Sperm Bank; Heart Channel; Sperm Bank
* Episode 20 Noisy Roommates; Memoirs; Journey to the Top of the Stairs
* Episode 21: End of the Beginning; Armada Grows Old; The Sixth Kid; Buddy's Bar -- Closure; On Censorship; A.T.&Love Buyout; Burial
* Episode 22:(Best Of): God is Dead; Chicken Lady at the Mall; Hillbilly's Problem; The Convenience Store Worker; Meet Your New Male Slave; Disgusting Old Man
After four long seasons weaving their anarchic brand of sketch comedy, the Kids had achieved all they wanted to with the smash hit show, and were more eager than ever to focus on their own individual talents. They decided, as a troupe, that the time was right to throw in Paul Bellini's towel.
While there are still many laughs to be had here, this bittersweet conclusion to the Kid's legacy just isn't as funny as some of their earlier work. In keeping with the shift from previous seasons, even more emphasis is laid on individual monologues and filmed location work, while studio pieces, as well as skits based on their recurring characters, become far less frequent. Sure, gay monologist Buddy Cole, secretaries Cathie and Kathy, the annoyingly inquisitive Gavin, the Chicken Lady, and the Cherry Beach cops do pop up here and there, but for the most part, the troupe is more interested in developing wholly new ideas for the final season of their show that didn't specifically rely on knowledge of earlier characters.
Unfortunately, this freedom occasionally made the final season a tad self-indulgent. The apparent decision to stretch the final skit in each show to almost five minutes in length fails more than it succeeds, which is disappointing, since it usually means the show ends on a forgettable note "Journey to the Top of the Stairs," for example, is an overlong Broadway parody that has McDonald and Thompson singing about ascending a staircase, "My Training" is a oddball skit about a man who leaves his wife because she doesn't support his dream of winning a competitive bathtub soaking contest. "Husk Musk" stars off funny when it's discovered that Thompson's B.O. is the most pleasant scent in the universe, but it eventually meanders in desperate search of some laughs as his bottled sweat puts every corporation in the world out of business, forcing his boss to cement his armpits shut. Curiously, many of these final sketches feel almost experimental in the way they push the boundaries of the medium, rather than sticking with the troupe's well-established formulas. Perhaps they simply indicate the a restlessness with the limitations of the show, but that still doesn't make them particularly entertaining or funny.
That said, there are still many classic moments from the fifth season that every true Kids in the Hall fan definitely wants to have in their collection. "Hillbilly's Problem" is one of the best sketches the Kids ever wrote, as hayseed Foley gets his brains scrambled after he's kicked in the head by a cow. McDonald and McKinney, playing his grotesque inbred kin, are priceless as they try to get him back on track. Similarly, "The Convenience Store Worker" is another great piece that has some execs studying security camera footage of McCulloch acting snotty to customers and trying to stay awake during the graveyard shift. Other highlights include, "Crab Shampoo," which stars McKinney as an arrogant American tourist that tries to pick up the drug store cashier who is ringing up his STD cure, and the hilarious "Wrote the Report Naked," where McDonald can't help giggling at everyone during a meeting when they read his report.
One of the most interesting aspects of this season is that the Kids actually planned a farewell episode to say goodbye to some of their fondest characters-something we often see on sitcoms, but rarely with sketch comedy. After virtually ignoring their characters all year long, audiences are invited to bid adieu to their favorites as Scott Thompson's mincing Buddy Cole burns down his bar, teen garage band Armada discover that they really aren't going to make it, and the entire staff at the Kids' joke corporation, AT & Love, are fired, including temp-hating typists Cathie and Kathy. It's a fascinating episode that ends first with the troupe breaking the fourth wall and removing their wigs at the end of the "AT & Love" sketch, followed by a closing credits sequence set over footage of the Kids being buried alive while smoking a joint.
Like A&E's first four season box sets of The Kids in the Hall, there's very little to complain about here at all. Although the shows have the tendency to come off slightly soft, the transfers look quite excellent; better than you've ever seen them on TV. Audio is a typical Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Everything sounds nice and clean, and you should have no trouble with any of the dialogue. As usual, the set's extras are housed on the fourth disc-commentaries for their "farewell" and "best of" shows. As always, these are great listens even if these are a little sparser than on earlier seasons-excellent, if chaotic, tracks that have them joking, laughing and sharing production stories and outright lies. Unfortunately, both the "Oral History" documentary and the "vintage" camcorder performance footage on the earlier releases has been entirely dropped this time around.
The Kids in the Hall: The Complete Fifth Season is a fitting tribute to one of the most interesting and consistently exciting sketch comedy troupes of the last two decades. Despite skimping out on the extras, this final release in A&E's ongoing collection of the landmark show won't disappoint fans.
Not guilty! Now bring on the whores!
Review content copyright © 2006 Paul Corupe; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 525 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary by the Kids
* The Kids in the Hall: The Complete First Season
* The Kids in the Hall: The Complete Second Season
* The Kids in the Hall: The Complete Fourth Season
* Official Site