Nineteen years after it was produced, this episode finally sees the light of day on DVD. The most startling thing about this pilot episode is how golden these guys were right out of the gate. Lorne Michaels, producer of Saturday Night Live, gave this one the green light, and the show was the anti-SNL. Dark, vulgar, nonsensical and extremely funny, The Kids in the Hall is one of the best comic troupes to ever occupy the television screen.
It's surprising how many running characters--starring in sketches that ran throughout the show's five seasons--appeared in this episode. There's the Crushing Your Head guy, where Mark McKinney visually destroyed people from a distance by crushing their heads--or, rather, the visual of their heads--with his thumb and index finger. There's Cabbage Head, Bruce McCulloch's cantankerous cigar-smoking persona who guilt-trips women into sex due to his leafy cranial deformation. And, of course, there's Buddy Cole, Scott Thompson's sarcastic, groundbreaking gay character who delivered many monologues during the series' run. Thompson actually admits that Buddy is an impersonation of a guy who broke his heart.
The sketches are about 75 percent successful. Michaels actually told the Kids their show was in jeopardy during taping due to a lack of audience laughter. Obviously, the boys got it together, and they are keeping the door open for future collaborations.
Special Features: The Kids (minus McCulloch) sit down for an episode commentary. You can actually watch them talking in the studio, which is both boring and special at the same time. There's also a Q&A, where the Kids recollect about fighting, laughter and applesauce. They talk about how hot they were when they played women--and it should be noted that each of the players depicted pretty convincing girls when the sketches called for it. McCulloch, who participates in none of the features, is depicted getting his head crushed on the DVD cover.
Laura Dern stars as an actress who gets a part in a movie, has an affair with her co-star (Justin Theroux) and winds up morphing into different people throughout this film's nearly three-hour running time. Directed by David Lynch, the film is ambiguous, trippy, frustrating and, of course, brilliant in many ways.
Lynch distributed the film himself, so it didn't have much of a run in theaters. He also shot the movie with commercial-grade video cameras rather than film, so the look of the movie is lacking the grandiose, overstylized appearance of some of his best films (Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart). Still, you have to hand it to the guy: He makes a great puzzle movie. As Dern's character basically disappears into the role to which she has been assigned, some of the movie appears superfluous and unimportant. The final act works to tie much of the film up, but not completely. You'll probably be scratching your head when it's over.
Fans of Mulholland Dr. will more than likely love this picture. Lynch haters will continue to hate, because this is definitely the most confounding of all his films (minus Dune, which was just plain bad). Be prepared for multiple viewings.
Special Features: Plenty of deleted scenes are woven together and well worth watching. There's a fantastic 30-minute segment made up of behind-the-scenes Lynch footage. The auteur is seen bossing assistants around and scolding performers for being late to the set. He's also seen building props and cleaning up after the shoot. The guy is a glorious nut.
Not surprisingly, the movie journey of Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad plays a little better on the small screen. The film is best watched with occasional breaks for coffee, marshmallows and whatnot. Taken in one big gulp, it gets a little monotonous, but with some intermittent breaks, it's quite funny.
The movie is an origin story of sorts, but it's really just an excuse for the likes of the Moonites, MC Pee Pants and Carl to make appearances and participate in bizarre humor. The film actually peaks in its first five minutes, where the happy singing theater snacks are countered by the punk singing theater snacks. The Moonites get plenty of laughs, but Carl the grouchy neighbor needed more screen time.
Special Features: There's an entire 80-minute deleted movie, which shares some of the same plot points as the theatrical film but boasts entirely different subplots. It's a mixture of unfinished animation, sketches and even live footage, and it's rather fascinating. In fact, due to the extra Carl footage, this version would've been better than the actual film. The deleted scenes are great, including a funny one with musician Cameo that didn't make the cut. There's also a crew commentary and a section of silly music videos.