Let’s Remember Kath & Kim

Let’s Remember is an opportunity for those who watched relatively recent short-lived TV shows, as well as those who didn’t, to share their thoughts and memories, to help ensure that these shows aren’t forgotten. This month’s column examines Kath & Kim (NBC, 2008-2009).

The Basics

Title: Kath & Kim
Network: NBC
Cast: Molly Shannon as Kathleen “Kath” Day; Selma Blair as Kimberly “Kim” Day Baker; John Michael Higgins as Phil Lesley Knight; Mikey Day as Craig Baker
Air dates: October 9th, 2008 – March 12th, 2009
Time slot: Thursdays at 8:30PM ET
Episodes: 17 episodes

Official Synopsis

From the official NBC website for Kath & Kim (via the Wayback Machine):

The American adaptation of the Australian hit comedy series, “Kath & Kim” stars Molly Shannon (NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”) and Selma Blair (“Hellboy 2”) as the hilarious and iconoclastic mother-daughter duo.

“Kath & Kim” focuses on Kath (Shannon), a cheerful, foxy, forty-something and her self-absorbed daughter, Kim (Blair), who have the love/hate, push/pull dysfunctional relationship that only a mother and daughter could share.

Kath has finally found love in the form of a sandwich shop owner named Phil Knight, played by John Michael Higgins (“Best in Show”). Kim is a self-absorbed princess newly separated from her husband of six weeks, Craig (Mikey Day, MTV’s “Short Circuitz”). Kim decides to move back home, putting a damper on Kath’s new romance.

Michael Nader (“King of Queens”) is executive producer and writer of the series. Original series creators and stars Gina Riley and Jane Turner serve as executive producers of the new series along with Rick McKenna and Nader. The series is a production from Reveille for Universal Media Studios.

Program Notes

-NBC picked up Kath & Kim for a full 22-episode season in October 2008. But in January 2009, the network reduced the order to 17 episodes due to low ratings.

-In Australia, NBC’s version of Kath & Kim initially aired on the Seven Network, starting only a few days after the sitcom premiered in the United States. According to Wikipedia, the Seven Network pulled the series after the first two episodes but all 17 did eventually air in Australia.

TV Guide’s Take

My copy of TV Guide‘s 2008 Fall Preview issue is missing from my collection, so I can’t share how the magazine reviewed Kath & Kim.

Reviews

Variety – Brian Lowry (10/3/2008)
SFGate – Tim Goodman (10/6/2008)
USA Today – Robert Bianco (10/8/2008)
IGN – Brian Zoromski (10/8/2008)
Chicago Tribune – Maureen Ryan (10/8/2008)
Washington Post – Tom Shales (10/9/2008)

Opening Credits

Unavailable.

My Thoughts

Support Television Obscurities

I have to confess two things right away. First, I haven’t seen the original Australian sitcom, so I can’t compare it to NBC’s version. Second, although I watched all 17 episodes, I remember almost nothing about the series. I do know I enjoying watching it. I may have been one of the only viewers who did.

Most of the reviews I found were incredibly negative, with the notable exception of Tom Shales (writing for The Washington Post). He apparently enjoyed watching Kath & Kim as much as I did. Unfortunately, because I don’t remember any details about the show, I can’t explain exactly why I enjoyed it so much.

I didn’t discover until I’d finished the bulk of this column that Kath & Kim is available on DVD. Because I don’t own the DVD set, I wasn’t able to rewatch any episodes. I did pull out my VHS tape with the “NBC Primetime Preview” special from 2008 on it. To be honest, watching the preview of Kath & Kim didn’t jog my memory much. I recall Kim being hilariously bratty and self-absorbed but that’s about it.

The show only went off the air eight years ago and already my memories of the show are practically nonexistent.

Still from 2008 "NBC Primetime Preview" special.

Molly Shannon as Kath and Selma Blair as Kim, from the 2008 “NBC Primetime Preview” special.
Copyright © 2008 NBC/The NBC Agency

If I’d known the series is available on DVD before I finished putting the bulk of this column together, I may have decided to write about a different show. The simple fact that Kath & Kim can be purchased on DVD today hopefully means it won’t be as forgotten in 20 or 30 years as similiar shows that were never released commercially. Even if few people own it on DVD, there will hopefully still be sets floating around for decades to come.

Where to Watch

Universal released Kath & Kim on DVD in July 2009. The 2-disc set includes deleted scenes, a gag reel, and multiple commentaries. In the past, the series could also purchased through iTunes and Amazon Video. It is not streaming anywhere.


Hit the comments with your thoughts and memories to ensure Kath & Kim doesn’t slip into total obscurity.


3 Comments

  • PB says:

    Maybe you should change the name of this article to :
    “Let’s TRY to Remember Kath & Kim”

  • David says:

    I never saw it, but I do remember ads for it all over NYC, on billboards, buses, in the subways, etc.

  • Andrew says:

    We Australians were so proud to see Kath & Kim being adapted for the US market. But as you’ve stated the end result did not fare well in Australia at all, and neither did it in the US.

    Sadly there is not a great track record for top rating Australian shows being re-made for the US. Kath & Kim joins Number 96, Prisoner (remade as Dangerous Women) and Thank God You’re Here as Aussie hits that became American obscurities.

    And all were on NBC?

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