Kids in the Hall: Season 4

If there was an Olympics of sketch comedy shows, Monty Python would represent the UK, Mr. Show should play for the U.S. and we would do well to select The Kids in the Hall for team Canada. Not only are their sketches situated firmly in Canadian culture, they are one of the only comedy shows that could hold their own against Python. Yet, should we have to pick a season to best represent their merits, it wouldn't be season four, not that this was an entirely bad season. There are many classically hilarious sketches in this set, such as the business men singing "Do-Re-Mi" to a child who lost his dog, Mark McKinney's Darill finding an "oompah" band in his head and the Chicken Lady visiting her childhood home. But this is also the season where they started to miss the mark just a bit. The best example of this is the episode-long sketch "Chalet 2000," the one where the Queen hides from the paparazzi in a log cabin with Buddy Cole and a beaver. With very few laughs, if any, this sketch is a painful memory of a low point in their career. Episodes like this, and a few failed sketches from this season, point to the Kids losing a bit of the edge they had in the earlier years. One very self-aware sketch even acknowledges this perception. In it, Kevin McDonald plays Tarzan adjusting to working in an office, wearing a suit and using modern technology. Through all the typical Saturday Night Live-esque corny jokes, Tarzan discusses the trials and tribulations of being a jungle man working in an office. Near the end of the scene, a voiceover announces that "the skit was written at the request of CBS and that they know their audience will think they've sold out. But," as the announcer says, "if you think the Kids in the Hall have lost their edge, at least know that it was for a great deal of money." Despite a few bad skits, what really makes this DVD set worth the price are the extras. An entire disc is devoted to the special features and contains two episodes worth of the fans' favourite sketches from this season. The real treat is that the boys got together to record a commentary track to accompany the "favourite sketches" reel. Even though much of the commentary is just them laughing along, and Mark and Bruce are both too far away from the microphone to be heard clearly, the little insights that they give into the making of the show are priceless. (A&E/Paradox)