The mentally challenged are funny! Or so NBC has recently decided with their new sitcom Kath and Kim. This is the same network running and WINNING AWARD’S for 30 Rock and the Office. They must feel like they owe Molly Shannon since she’s a Saturday Night Live alumni. But HOW DID THIS SHOW GET ON THE AIR? As best I can tell, the show is about a slightly stupid mother, Shannon, and a REALLY stupid and emotionally underdeveloped daughter-played by Selma Blair! Selma Blair? What corner is she so backed into that THIS seemed like a good idea?
I guess the whole sort of “core” of the show is that these 2 women, and their age and developmentally appropriate male partners, are supposed to be “mall people.” You get the feeling some writer said, “man I ran into such an airhead at the mall, those kind of people just spend their LIVES there. God, I bet they’re just stupid 24 hours a day. Oh My God! I should write a TV show about it, and all those stupid people will be FANS and then the really smart people like ME can watch with a cool and aloof condescending eye!” Not realizing that she herself has to be an idiot to invest all that energy and FUTURE energies into spending time immersed in such a vapid and shallow venture. Some comedy shows are broad, like 3rd Rock from the Sun, where the characters are space aliens and that makes sense. But what happens when the characters are supposed to be normal but ACT like aliens? The show is horrible. I predict it will not be back next year.
Meanwhile NBC also premiered My Own Worst Enemy a few days ago starring Christian Slater. The show had pretty bad ratings, but I think it was pretty good. That’s because the premise is a Sci-Fi staple. Guy has a “spy” personality he doesn’t know about. Phillip K. Dick’s story about this theme was used for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone in Total Recall. I can’t remember the name of the book but another book that I thought was by Stasheff or Heinlein also had that type of story. Not to mention the John Woo movie Paycheck with Ben Affleck.
So this idea of an agent who voluntarily erases his memory is just an interesting premise. That Gondry film explores the idea too, but the motivation for the memory erase in that case is love and emotions in general. But these other works take the concept of job and lifestyle being removed from the conscious mind to a new level. Who are “you” really? Is it your collection of memories that make you “you?” Or would you be the same if you didn’t recall any of that at all? A totally separate person in the same body.
And let’s here it for Slater. His acting has never been in question, but in this show he gives believable performances as both “characters.” There’s a comic co-worker in the show who has a similar split personality. But Slater is beginning to get a nice middle-aged gut, and those features of his face, that were unique as a youngster, are beginning to look positively satanic now. And that’s actually GOOD. We’ve had enough Johnny Depp and Ryan Seacrest to last us a lifetime, where is all the character in the face of male actors these days? The entire WB (now called CW) network is just littered with these plain faced bastards.