Canadian Comedic Royalty, The Kids in the Hall, brought a painful 15-year drought to a most gruesome end this year with the debut of their eight part miniseries, Death Comes to Town.
This delightfully different offering from the daring darlings of sketch comedy focuses on the curiosity cabinet that is Shuckton, a small (fictional*) town with a big dream to one day host the Olympics. All the usual cross-dressing, gender-bending, and dark, dark humour that KITH fans have come to expect from the 5-man troupe is mixed liberally with... brutal murder!!! Yes, that's right -- it's a good, old-fashioned whodunnit, KITH-style!
Star hockey player turned 600 lb. shut-in, Ricky Jarvis (Bruce McCulloch) is determined to catch the killer, before Death comes for him, too! For such a seemingly quiet little town, the people of Shuckton sure have an awful lot of skeletons stashed away in their closets. The murderer could be any one of a handful of people, and with Death literally nipping at his heels, Ricky must act quickly to solve the mystery. Marnie (Kevin McDonald), the "fuzzy" pizza delivery lady, is Ricky's sleuthing partner. She acts as his "eyes and ears" until he is able to lose enough weight to leave his house for the first time in years.
The murder investigation centers around a number of shady characters. Petty criminal and germ gel addict Crim Hollingsworth (Scott Thompson**), who happens to be 1/16 Native, is arrested after he is found covered in the victim's blood -- but he has no memory of committing the crime. Dusty Diamond, the town coroner (Thompson), seems to have an obsessive homoerotic fixation with the recently deceased, which is definitely suspicious. Heather Weather (Thompson), Shuckton's aging barometric bombshell, was having an affair with the victim, and is known to have a viciously vengeful streak. And then there's the victim's wife, Marilyn (Dave Foley), a closet drinker, who stood to gain a great deal in the event of her husband's demise...
As the citizens of Shuckton struggle to sort out amongst themselves who is responsible for the grisly, bludgeoning death of one of their own, the viewer is privy to information about who the real culprit is... Death Himself (played by Mark McKinney). Death carries a bitter hatred for the brainless, bumbling citizens of Shuckton, and would savour nothing more than to see every last one of them laid six feet beneath the Earth. Scythe in hand, he is ready to kick some serious ass.
While the work The Kids in the Hall did in their long-running (1988-1995) eponymous television series is virtually untouchable in terms of groundbreaking comedic genius, Death Comes to Town was greatly successful in providing an alternate venue for the showcasing of the Kids' unbeatable chemistry, without detracting in any way from the legacy of the original show. Hardcore fans will be happy to see some classic characters (such as the dumbass OPP Cops, The Chicken Lady, and towel-clad Bellini), while undoubtedly forming lasting relationships with the new ones created exclusively for Death Comes to Town.
Sadly, there are no plans to extend the series beyond the original 8 episodes. The Kids in the Hall have individually noted that they have no plans to return to the studio to reprise the roles which made them famous. Death Comes to Town aired it's final episode on CBC March 16, 2010.
5/5 Kitty Skulls..... Pick of the litter!
* Death Comes to Town was largely shot in North Bay, Ontario (CA). Kitty has relatives there, but doubts they woke up at the crack of dawn to chase the guys for autographs, as she almost certainly would have.
** While I thought he looked fantastic in Death Comes to Town, it is worth noting that Scott Thompson (Dusty Diamond, Crim Hollingsworth, Heather Weather) was diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer in early 2009. To the credit of one of the funniest men in Canada, Thompson reports that he is cancer free after undergoing four months of radiation therapy and six rounds of chemo. Cheers to a happy, healthy, productive (more stuff with the troupe -- pleeeease!) future for the irreplaceable "Buddy Cole"!
(stick-slappin' fun game to play online)