The quirky Kids in the Hall mini-series takes a haitus next week for the Winter Olympics. This provides a breather and a chance to review the first half of the series, with emphasis on the most recent episode. Its strengths and weaknesses are the series’s.

Cast and Crew

Writers: Bruce McCulloch and Kevin McDonald
Director: Kelly Makin

As Various Characters:

Bruce McCulloch
Dave Foley
Kevin McDonald
Mark McKinney
Scott Thompson

Full cast and crew available at the imdb.

Synopsis

Series to date: Death checks into a sleazy motel as a series of murders occurs in the nearby small town.

This episode: Tensions mount as the accused goes to trial in the mayor’s murder. Another killing takes place, and we learn that Rampop, the only witness, may be the son of Death.

High Points

The show works best when it doesn’t stray far from the Kids’ sketch-comedy roots. This episode begins with several surreal, boundary-testing, grim gags– and they’re fairly funny. Middle-aged women sing about their last eggs. A lawyer tries to keep his terminally ill cat alive. The worst undercover operation unfolds at the courthouse. A relationship blooms between a small-town oddball and the corpse of the man he loved. I wish the first episode had played more like the opening of this one.

The episode culminates with the second murder. Death and the killer are both present, but we see events through the eyes of the only witness: a disturbed boy who sees people as butterflies.

Low Points

The Python films spun insane narratives out of memorable routines. Death Comes to Town tends to sputter when it focuses on the story.

I was never a huge fan of the Kids’ drag routines, and they seem especially tired in this series. The catfighting cross-dressing commentators really don’t really work. It appears, however, that the routine has come to an end.

The Scores

Originality: 4/6. The show features moments of inspired lunacy. Much of it recalls the Kids’ previous work.

Effects: 4/6. The cartoon butterflies are a bad effect, but they’re a deliberately bad effect. They serve their purpose in this episode, but I wish the series did more with them.

Story: 4/6. The storyline exists mainly as an excuse for bizarre comic pieces, but “Death Comes to Town” manages a little more than that.

Acting: 5/6. Few comedians have the same aptitude for playing as many roles as the Kids.

Production: 4/6.

Emotional response: 4/6. It’s funny in places, and definitely not for all tastes. It’s just not consistently funny.

Overall: 4/6.

“The Butterfly is to Blame” receives 29/42.