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When i first sat down to watch Kath and Kim on BBC2, i thought that it was set in the 80s. Then i saw the mobile phone, computer and other gadgets surrounding the two main character's dated hair and house décor and realised no - this is actually supposed to be set in the modern day!
Kath and Kim follows in the footsteps of Muriels Wedding, ironically taking the mickey out of the people who live in australian suburbs - shopping in Fountain Gate shopping mall, eating tickety-bicks, chicken feet and sugared almonds.
The first episode opens with Kath (kims daughter) coming in through the front door with bags, to move back in, because her and Brett (her husband who she recently married) have broken up 'for good this time'. Kath touches her perm and says that she can't, but she just walks in - shes a spoilt brat.
Then Kath and Kel (kaths boyfriend) propose and stuff, and the whole series is about them getting married.
One of the gems is Sharon - a short sporty ginger girl, who seems to have a different injury every episode - ranging from an eyepatch to hives.
Anyway the whole series is really hilarious - especially the episode when they get married, all ruined thanks to Trude and Prude, and Kath and Kel live happily ever after, while Kim decides to move back into the marital unit.
The girls also decide to go for a chemical peel and get a photo taken after (with bits of skin hanging off) - they get it in the post "ooh,, thats Noice, thats unusual, lovely thats Different!"
Classic! Anyone would enjoy Kath&Kim, and it is a very good christmas present, especially for any 80s fans like myself....
OH and there are also some good extras - hilarious out-takes and some extra scenes, also a video of Kim's marriage to brett (where they make a little roof of keyboards - brett's a computer salesman!) and a gallery, interviews with the characters, behind the scenes.
If you love Australian TV you will love this.
Kath and Kim are mother and daughter, who supposedly live separately, with Kath living on her own in the family home and married Kim living with her husband, Brett. Unfortunately, Kim is having marital problems, despite only having been married for a couple of months, and returns home to live with Kath. Kath is not impressed. She has just started a potentially long-term relationship with Kel and is set on having sex in as many different parts of the house as possible. Then again, she is Kim's mum, and eventually accepts her back home, hoping that it won't be for long. Kim's best friend, Sharon, frequently drops round too, so there is little privacy for Kath and Kel. Will Kim get back together with Brett? Will Kath marry Kel? Will Sharon ever find a man?
This is the first Australian sitcom that I've seen, but if it is a reflection of Australian sitcoms in general, I really hope to see more. Kath is played by Jane Turner (also one of the creators) and is truly superb as a fit, healthy middle-aged woman who wants a bit of fun now her only daughter has been married off. She is generally the practical one (out of Kath and Kim anyway), but does have her moments of complete madness, especially now that she has finally met the man she wants to marry. Jane Turner is so funny, her comic timing is great and she has some fantastic expressions. "You big hunk of spunk!" when referring to Kel is probably my favourite, but she's also funny when trying to chastise her daughter: "Look at moy (me in an Australian accent)! Look at moy! Kim, look at moy!"
Kim is a spoiled selfish brat who thinks she should be the centre of everyone's world, even though her mother is trying to move on. She is played by the other creator of the series, Gina Riley, and although annoying and childish, she is also hilarious. She really does expect the world to revolve around her and has a heightened view of her own beauty - thinking she is far slimmer and more gorgeous than she really is. In most episodes, she goes off on a rant at either Kath or Sharon or Brett, or sometimes all of them and it is always brilliantly done. She has a way of showing the whites of her eyes when being chastised by Kath or Sharon that makes her look completely loopy, but is also very funny. Some of the best lines in the show are spoken by Kim, usually a play on words. I particularly liked "I want to be effluent, mum, effluent!!" and "She (Kath) knows my weight is the bain (pronounced bane) marie of my life!"
The other three main actors also bring a great deal to the show. I love Sharon, played by Magda Szubanski. She is a bit of a doormat, especially around Kim, is overweight and doesn't get much action with men, who tend to look at her as a mate rather than a lover. However, again, her comic timing is brilliant and she brings a touch of innocence to the show that Kath and Kim just don't have. Kel, played by Glenn Robbins is hilariously tacky and old-fashioned, while still thinking he's cool, and suits Kath right down to the ground. His forward-brushed comb-over suits his character perfectly and makes him as much a part of the show as the three women. Brett, played by Peter Rowsthorne, is probably the character that stands out the least, but then his screen-time is much briefer than the others. He's still great, anyway, putting up with Kim's mad rants like a trooper.
I really enjoyed the way that the show is presented, as a fly on the wall documentary. It gives Kath and Kim in particular the opportunity to explain what is going on and make comments. It's almost like a mixture of The Office and The Royle Family - the latter because of the incredibly crass comments and off-the-wall vocabulary. I think it's actually much cleverer though - there has obviously been a great deal of effort put into coming up with some of the phrases and mispronounced words and yet the way they are performed, is so natural, it is brilliant. Yet although the script is hilarious and I laughed my socks off numerous times, the action and the way that the characters perform is also amazingly funny. All in all, I don't think I have laughed so much at a sitcom for a long time - and I watch an awful lot of them.
I don't really have anything to criticise about the sitcom at all. There are those that may be offended by the talk of sex, the bad language and the outrageous behaviour - if you think that will offend, then stay away. There is a rating of 15 on the DVD and if I remember rightly, when it was televised on BBC2, it was after the 9 o'clock watershed. Another thing that may offend some is the portrayal of Kath, Kim et al as an unnecessary mickey-take of a certain class of Australians - if they were British, they would certainly be referred to as 'chavs' with their dodgy tastes in fashion, uneducated vocabulary and Kim's 'muffin top'. However, most sitcoms are based around a certain type of person, and I see no reason to do other than accept it for what it is - a comedy. If you are likely to be offended, now you know to stay away.
The DVD set is made up of 8 episodes of 22 minutes each over two discs. Most sitcoms have one or two brilliant episodes, a couple of weaker ones, with the majority being average. This one is very even - I think that each of them is memorable and very strong in the comedy stakes. If there is one that I have to criticise, it is the last episode, which is based around Kath's wedding (but does she actually get married?!). This is simply because it is more based on slapstick than the clever dialogue. It is still head and shoulders above many other sitcom epiosdes though, so I'm not really complaining. I also really appreciated the fact that the episdes were 22 minutes long - they felt exactly the right length, although are perhaps shorter than most sitcom episodes.
There are a few extras on both discs. However, none of them are particularly long and I did feel as though an awful lot more effort could have been put into them. There is an attempt to make the purchaser think they are getting value for money, but a lot of the clips shown in the extras are merely clips from the episodes and don't really add anything extra. Some of the bloopers are funny - it is amazing that any of the actors eventually managed to say their lines with straight faces and they clearly struggled enormously at times! I'm glad there were extras - I just think that interviews with the cast members would have been more interesting than what we have.
Apart from some minor criticisms, this really is an excellent sitcom as far as I am concerned. I laughed throughout and I love the fact that because some of the lines are so clever, I didn't always catch them until viewing for the second time. I also have series two to watch, and as there are four seasons up to now, I'm glad I have a fair few episodes to go. If you haven't yet seen this sitcom and don't mind your comedy being a bit rude at times, then I highly recommend that you give this a go.
The DVD is available from play.com for £5.97.
Running time: 216 minutes