Kath & Kim: articles

US Kath and Kim nothing like our hornbags

IT'S not on until October and already the American version of Kath & Kim is getting bad buzz. Is anybody surprised? Well, I am.

I've only seen what anyone else has, a handful of NBC promos that were released on the internet this week, but they're pretty funny.

Oh sure, the pair of them look nothing like our Kath & Kim. Younger, for a start. More stylish. Better hair. Nicer speaking voices. And Kim could be just plain wrong. She's not slovenly, she's not even that whiney. Her clothes appear to be about the right size, instead of two sizes too small. And even though she dresses like a hot teenager, Selma Blair also looks like one, so that joke's pretty much gone.

Kel's called Phil now. He's still fond of a silky bathrobe of inappropriate length though, and that's disgusting/hilarious in any language. So much of what people liked about Kath & Kim was wardrobe based. Take away the costumes, what are you left with? Those accents? The only thing I can remember about Kylie Minogue's appearance that time was the way she said "sleeves".

But who's going to play Sharon? I hear fat actress, I think Kirstie Alley. Unfortunately, Kirstie's 57 now, which won't cut it in a show where her best friend is in her 20s. Her name's not Sharon any more either. Apparently Sharon is pronounced Heather in American. And I can't see her playing netball. More likely something involving a stick, or a discus.

And her Shane Warne/unrequited love interest? Who's the American equivalent of Shane Warne? I mean, there just isn't one. There is only one Shane Warne in captivity. And it's also hard to see this NBC version making their Sharon/Heather such a target of derision, the punchline to every one of Kim's life's mean jokes.

Kath & Kim has always had a cruel streak. Like The Castle, which I found a bit of a malicious one-note film that laughed at people who liked rissoles. Key words here: laughed at.

A lot of Kath & Kim's humour - silent "h" - came at the expense of women who perm their hair, frisky women who live in the suburbs with their second husband, a bloke who can't see the harm in buying a tracksuit that looks just like his hornbag wife's. It's a simple life of Spray & Wipe and shopping centres and new appliances.

The central idea - a washed-up delusional childish adult daughter moves back in with her mother - still has currency. The squirm-making idea of living in a house where your mother has enthusiastically embraced her middle-aged sexuality is universal. As is the sight of a grown woman wearing jeans that makes her look like a souffle.

But you know what they say about souffles - they only rise once. NBC should've just saved themselves the money, had a look at Kath & Kim and made their own mother-daughter sitcom starring good-looking Americans, called it Me and My Girl or something. Of course, that would've meant they'd have to come up with a new script ... and from what I've seen, the dialogue on the US Kath & Kim is line for line. Except they say nachos more often.

Another American TV network is doing its own Stupid Stupid Man, a series that ran here first on Foxtel then on the ABC about a magazine called Coq.

They're desperate for ideas over there in Hollywood. Nobody has picked up the rights to show the US Kath & Kim here yet, and why would they? It'd be weird.

The ads in America are pitching it as Australia's No. 1 show. So the blame's on us if it tanks.

Dianne Butler
July 12, 2008
The Courier-Mail