Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rack Off

Kath & KimThe great debate has started.

Forget the US vs. Iran. Forget Miliband vs. Miliband. Forget man-pants vs. mankinis.

The question that is dividing the nation at the moment (like a wire-thin mankini in fact) is what is your all time favourite sit-com?

Bizarrely two distinct contenders have stepped forth out of the smoke and rubble of snarling opinion. In the red corner we have The Office – currently flopping about in Heather’s boxing glove like a rogue horse-shoe – and in the blue corner we have Kath & Kim swishing about like an illegal nunchaku in a Japanese tea-house as toted by London City Mum.

This is the moment when I jump into the debate and, much as I love The Office, I am going to nail my boxing shorts to the blue corner. For those of you that have been reading this blog a while, this patronage should come as no surprise as I’ve previously written about my love of Kath & Kim before – right here in fact – see I was on this particular bandwagon before it was even a bandwagon! That’s how cool I am.

Now I freely admit Kath & Kim aren’t to everybody’s taste. The ‘yoomer’ is distinctly Australian and rooted (if you’re Australian, you’ll find that word funny) in the heart of Australian suburban life. It is, to quote one Australian TV presenter whose name I don’t know, Australia laughing at itself.

So to get the yoomer I guess you need to have some kind of affinity with all things Oz. This does not mean you have to like Neighbours or Home & Away. In fact if you don’t like them Kath & Kim will probably tickle your fancy even more.

For me though, the biggest selling point of Kath & Kim is the incredible dialogue. This is where the yoomer resides. Yes, occasionally they do slapstick and physical humour, but for the large part the funnies are in the language and in particular how it is (Joe) mangled. Words are misplaced, transposed, wrongly emphasized and spliced in ways that are both cringe-making and ingenious. For me it’s what makes the whole show one of the most joyously quotable on the market.

For instance when Kath Day-Knight nee Day thought she’d committed bigamy with the love of her life Kel: “you know, Kel, I think I might just ask the pope for an annulment and be damned.”

Or when Kim lays into her poor beleaguered husband Brett: “Oi’ve made your favourite tonight, Brett – rack off lamb” (think about it).

The characters are incredibly endearing too. You can’t help but love Kath even with her eighties fashion sense and her frizzy perm (“the fro is the way to go – Kel loves my frizzy hair, no matter where on my body it is” and “Kel, loves my hair, he says it’s my clowning glory”) and even though Kim is the most horribly obnoxious, high maintenance be-actch in the entire world you can’t help liking the ol’ hornbag. And as for Kim’s “second best friend” Sharon Strzelecki – there is something about her morbid obesity combined with her rabid devotion to sport that is both tragic and richly funny.

I could go on. I know humour is a personal thing but my vote goes to Kath & Kim because, if nothing else, it is a Ricky Gervais free zone.

Now that has got to be the killer argument.

If you want to join the debate then feel free to dive in! The troops are assembling. People are arming themselves. Do you really want to be the one left in no-man’s land with only a copy of It Ain't Half Hot, Mum to protect yourself?


36 comments:

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

Considering I've just had to read this post twice until I understood the word 'yoomer' I feel most of the gags may well fly over my head and into the great yonder.

However, as you say it is Ricky Gervais free, maybe I'll buy a DVD box set.

London City Mum said...

Yay Steve! Knew you were in my brigade.

Tell that Heather woman that it's ovah, burrito!

LCM x

Steve said...

Very Bored in Catalunya: I knew that would be the clincher.

LCM: that Heather doll don't know what she's talking about - she gets right up my goat. I just wish she'd give it a bone!

Heather said...

Utter tosh.

And I did no such thing with your goat. Nor anyone else come to that!

Kelloggsville said...

Maybe so, maybe so but nothing touches that 'Stapler in Jelly' moment from The Office. I've always found AlloAllo amusing - I'm shamed to admit it but there, it's said...I've come out

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: Allo Allo?! *ptooey!* (spits French bread out in disgust...) Still I suppose it could be worse. It could have been Last Of The Summer Wine.

Steve said...

Heather: anymore talk like that and I'll be taking my coat off and calling on you to step outside the pub where we can discuss it like real men.

EmmaK said...

The thing about Ricky Gervais is he's well... over hyped....he can be quite funny but not in the Office. That said I did pee my pants when he talked about gay animals having sex in his stand up show ANIMALS (TMI?)

Steve said...

Emma: to be honest I really rate The Office and loved Extras but I'm quite happy to dis the man to win this "comedy series" argument. He has crossed over from underdog that everybody likes to giggling overload that seems far too full of himself. One wonders if his head is getting a little too big to contain his burgeoning ego. But maybe that's just sour grapes on my part and I'm just falling into that very English trap of slagging someone off just because they're very successful...?

Fran said...

Does it show my age if I say 'Porridge'? I obviously am VERY old, as a student asked me today whether there were trampolines in my day. What? Yeah ... they invented those just after the wheel.

Steve said...

Fran: Porridge is fine. I'd even be tempted to throw Rising Damp into the ring. As for trampolenes... weren't they invented by that Da Vinci fella?

libby said...

Oh remember when Kath wanted to be rich and said 'I want to be effluent'......and yes she is a beeatch...a funny one though. I also loved rising damp, good life, porridge, dads army ... shows how old I am!

Nickie @ Typecast said...

I adore Kath and Kim and laugh myself stupid at their show.

On the other hand, The Office was GENIUS but that is where Ricky Gervais should have stopped. The success of that programme went to his head and he is still riding on that "fame" (although not in this house - I've just sold my Office box set on eBay).

Being Me said...

What's all this? RJ full of himself? Garn! No, really, it is one thing that is off-putting and that's disappointing. It actually wrecks the appeal of The Office now if I watch it, for he has been stroked a little too long or lovingly (sorry for THAT visual) by Americans. Shame, really. I DO love K&K, it's not that I don't.... but hmmmm maybe it's too close to home for me to love as a favourite outright winner?? They were EVERYWHERE here, they'd do their guest spots on radio (in character) and while it was funny, it was also a bit 'oh come on' at the same time. I think it's called milking it for what it's worth?? (not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with that, I s'pose)

The Sagittarian said...

Ah Steve, those gals were a treat for sure. Did you know that Sharon has become the Ozzie face of Jenny Craig and has lost most of herself?

Great yoomer it is indeed.

Alienne said...

I am in your corner too - I never really like the office and there is something about Ricky Gervais that makes me cringe. But K&K are brilliant! My daughters still only have to say 'effluent' and I crack up.

Vicky said...

Give me "Only Fools and Horses" any time......argh Kath and Kim I can only stand it in small doses and that is the parts with Kim's husband in them, maybe it has something to do with me living in Australia and having to put up with all the hype.

Steve said...

Libby: the "effluent" line seems to be the one that sticks in most people's minds - plus the one where Kim calls her dad an "entremanure"!

Nickie: wow - that's a massive vote for the K&k corner, thank you!

Being Me: I guess they suffer from over exposure in Australia just as Ricky G suffers from it here in the UK. It's the wise performer who knows when to disappear for a bit!

Amanda: I did indeed - it was on the internet a while back. She's looking pretty hot. I wonder how they'll work her hornbaggery into series 5?

Alienne: yay - another vote for K&K. The Office is brilliant but maybe RG is beginning to work against himself?

Vicky: can't argue with Only Fools - it is a classic: the scene with the chandelier still cracks me up no matter how often I see it.

Selina Kingston said...

No I have to side with Ricky Gervais. He won't be happy with that as he nearly had to take a restraining order out against me a few years ago when I kept stalking him but I think he is a VERY funny man. I'm sorry but I do.
However, even though I know most of the Fawlty Tower episodes off by heart, yesterday my daughter found The Kipper And The Corpse which I think I have only seen once before and it was very very funny and reminded me just how brilliant John Cleese is !!

Steve said...

Selina: you've let me down and I don't think I will ever recover. I hae to say - and this may surprise most people - I have only ever seen the occasional episode of Fawlty Towers; I never watched either of the two series in full. I think they're very funny but I feel very ambivalent towards John Cleese.

alliecat said...

I have to say, I loved The Office first, it had such understated and dry humour, so cringeworthy at times. And I loved the interplay between Gareth and David.

But then K&K came along, and I loved them too, for the reasons you mentioned. The play on words. My 2 outright faves: when Sharon announces she has been on 'broad spectrum placebos' and when Kath opens her towel to the neighbours to flash them and says "Yes, I am woman, see me raw"

Too funny. K&K will always hold a special place in my heart. Winners for me.

TimeWarden said...

"Steptoe and Son" is my all-time favourite sitcom and favourite episode is "A Star is Born". It's the one where Harold impersonates Brando's "Charlie, Charlie, I coulda bin a contender, Charlie", from "On the Waterfront". He proceeds to invite the local Am-Dram to rehearse at the scrap yard only to be upstaged by his old Dad.

Steve said...

Alliecat: Sharon is great but I love Kel too - especially when he sprays Brett at Coolum in the holiday episode (series 4) for getting annoyed with Kath - "you're out of control, mate!"

TimeWarden: like Fawlty Towers this is another widely acknowledged classic series that I have only ever watched a couple of. I really ought to check out some boxed sets and fill in the gaps in my TV viewing!

Curry Queen said...

Sorry but you can't beat an episode of Father Ted or possibly Frasier as a strong second!

Steve said...

Curry Queen: will yer have a cup of tea, Father? Ah go on, go on, go on, go on...

Definitely a strong contender!

Suzanne said...

I am with the "Father Ted" brigade, but also love "The IT Crowd", "have you tried turning it off and on again". Love It!

Old Cheeser said...

I'm SO glad you like Kath and Kim, Stevenage! I had no idea. I too was a fan and have the first series on DVD - I remember when it started it was something of an "underground" hit and me and a mate were really into it, then during the 2nd series I kind of fell away from watching....a shame really. I heard about Kylie's cameo as Kim's daughter Epponae Rae (?) with a Charlene perm and would still love to see that episode some time. In fact maybe I should invest in a few more eps. You're right about it being an aquired taste. It wasn't big budget but actually quite low key, therein lies the humour - lots of domestic observations etc.

I agree with what you say about the language in K&K - "look at moiiii, Kimmy, look at moiiii!" Actually that's not the best example, your quotes are better, but there were those oft-repeated lines such as "That's nooice, that's different, that's unusuuuual."

I think my favourite scenes were in the episode when Kath goes on her hen night (consisting of just daughter Kim and mate Sharon) and they go to a trashy club...the barman slips something into their drinks and they stand in the toilet gazing at their own reflections in the mirror: "I'm soooo beautiful!!" Then the next day Kim is acting all "nice" and giving flowers to everyone, before having a horrendous come down and reverting to her be-atch (as you rightly put it) self. And Kath has a guilty "morning after" flashback to when she snogged a taxi driver the night before, then passed out on the front lawn...classic!

You see what you've started?

Oh, I'd add "Absolutely Fabulous" and "Gimme Gimme Gimme" to the great comedy list. The first did get kind of tired and Jennifer Saunders milked the formula something chronic (they never should have made that 5th series) but there was some excellent humour in there. "Gimme" works largely because of the inspired pairing of James Dreyfuss and Kathy Burke as the two housemates from hell - a self-obsessed, gay, jobbing actor and an erm, large, ginger-haired Chavvy girl with a loud mouth. Some great dialogue in there too.

And I shall now shut up!

Steve said...

Suzanne: we're big fans of The IT Crowd in my house too. My favourite episode is the one where Moss ends up working behind a bar and Roy gets carted home in a bus full of wheelchair users.

OC: glad to have you on board! Definitely invest in some more K&K. Karen and I have the first 4 series and are considering getting hold of the film they made - Da Kath & Kim Code. Apparently they're making a series 5 too! Series 3 is brilliant... most people feel that series 4 went off the boil but Karen and I are currently rewatching it and revising our opinion: there are some quality moments! AbFab was brilliant but, alas, I didn't watch enough of Gimme Gimme Gimme to comment but what I have seen has made me laugh out loud.

lunarossa said...

Is it really very bad if I don't have the foggiest about Kath&Kim? I have already my problems to come to terms with English humour so imagine a sit-com from Australia!!! I watched a bit of Extras but I hated Gervais' character. Don't mind Gavin&Stacy but cannot stand that dimwit Stacy, so irritating! But give me all the old Brit comedy (Fools&Horses, Fawlty Towers, even Dad's Army) and I can watch TV for hours...Ciao, Stevlar!

Steve said...

Lunarossa: you can't go far with the ol' hardy standbys of Only Fools & Horses and Dad's Army. I'm rather fond of a bit of Mr Mainwaring myself!

LöstJimmy said...

On The Buses...when men were men and women were clippies...apparently

Steve said...

LöstJimmy: and women were invariably double decked like the buses...

Clippy Mat said...

Did somebody say Clippy's on the buses? Oh, clippies on the buses.. I see.
Watched K and K on Youtube today thanks for the recommendation. Great stuff.
;-)

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: glad to hear we have another convert!

LöstJimmy said...

Time Warden mentioned his favourite Steptoe and Son episode as being A Star Is Born....I concur. From what I recall it had the delightful Margaret Nolan in a leather skirt...there I've said it, now I will go and get my coat

Steve said...

LöstJimmy: no, a leather skirt would do it for me too. It's what great... er... comedy is built on. Kath & Kim take note. You too Gervais.