The Kids in the Hall: The Complete Third Season

That flannel-lovin' decade known as the '90s was witness to a whole plethora of cultural and social change. From the breaking down of countless taboos surrounding sexuality and gay culture, the rise of cynicism and indifference, and a much-needed backlash against commerciality and consumerism (hence the second-hand flannel), the '90s were a time of passive rebellion. No one working then in comedy embraced, absorbed and, ultimately, transcended these social climates, neuroses and controversies as cleverly or absurdly as Toronto's five Kids in the Hall. To break down and attempt to decipher exactly what the Kids meant to convey with many of their characters and sketches would be like trying to interpret the meaning behind a feverish dream, since their truly bizarre and often creepy and offensive humour seemed to work on a surreal logic all its own. One that to this day still packs the same potential to befuddle and confound viewers into a state of hilarity that leaves you feeling like you don't know what the hell just hit you. This 20-episode third season, which aired in 1991 to 1992, captures the Kids in full stride, moving with sharp wit through a wide variety of skits featuring already established characters (Chicken Lady, the bitter Cabbie, Flying Pig, Buddy Love, the Head Crusher and Mississippi Gary), as well as one-offs of highly memorable situational insanity, from Kevin McDonald repeatedly choking on chicken kabobs to Bruce McCulloch as a pen-obsessed office stooge going haywire to McDonald's stone-faced king of empty promises, with his constant utterances of "Will do." Their knack for satire was as on point as ever too, from Dave Foley's send-up of French slapstick character M. Hulot putting on his pants to McCulloch's mockery of middle-age yuppies in "He's Hip, He's Cool, He's 45" to Scott Thompson's portrayal of an Italian film star in the unruly Francesca Fiora, the Kids always aimed to bite through the bullshit and expose the confounding truth behind it. Compiled on three individually packaged discs, this boxed set includes a fourth bonus disc featuring 30 minutes of rare footage from the Kids' early performances at Toronto's Rivoli Theatre, cast biographies, trailers, a slide show and audio commentary. As a glimpse or introduction into the Kids in the Hall's neurotic world of absurdity and humour, this package really couldn't do you better. With over eight hours of top-notch footage at your disposal, there's enough to keep you laughing for years to come. (A&E/Paradox)