Kath and Kim

From Academic Kids

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Jane Turner and Gina Riley as "Kath & Kim"

Kath and Kim is a satirical Australian television series shown on the ABC network. The series began in 2002, and is has so far aired three seasons. The show was created and written by Jane Turner and Gina Riley, who play the title roles.

The main characters are: Kath, an 'empty nester' divorcee who wants to enjoy time with her "hunk of spunk" Kel, a local butcher, but whose lifestyle is often cramped by the presence of her self-indulgent twenty-something daughter Kim. Kim's husband Brett and Kim's second best friend Sharon add chaos. Kim and Brett had a baby in the final episode of the second series which they named Epponnee-Raelene Kathleen Darlene Charlene Craig, shortened to Epponnee-Rae.

The characters of Kath, Kim and Sharon were originally developed in the early 1990s in a recurring skit in the highly successful Big Girl's Blouse comedy sketch show. These skits, a send-up of a fly-on-the-wall type reality TV series following a mother and daughter planning the daughter's wedding, continued to evolve in the short-lived comedy series Something Stupid. The original skits rarely featured any characters other than Kath, Kim or Sharon (in one skit Brett was played by Jane Turner) and were the basis for the plots of the first two series.

Kath and Kim added the characters of Kath's fiance Kel and Kim's husband Brett (Peter Rowsthorn), and expanded on the characters that had originated in the original skits. In the tradition of Barry Humphries and his famous satirical creation Dame Edna Everage, Kath & Kim satirises the habits and values of modern suburban Australians, and emphasises the kitsch and superficial elements of contemporary society, particularly the traditional working class which has progressed to a level of affluence (or "effluence" as quoted by Kath) which previous generations had been unable to achieve. The strong script, crass and embarrassing behaviour of the characters, and their gaudy fashion sense are popular features of the show. The highly developed alternative vocabulary and mis-pronunciation of words by the two main characters is much-repeated by the show's fans:

"It's ny-oice, it's diff'rent, it's un-ewes-yewl!"

Much of the humour is character-based, derived from viewers recognising themselves, their families or their friends in the characters. In this way it is similar to UK comedy The Royle Family which had also aired in Australia on the ABC. Kath and Kim does not always stick to the understated naturalistic style of The Royle Family, however it is generally presented in the form of a 'fly on the wall' documentary.

This parodying of the reality TV genre, including occasional character voice-overs, derives in part from 'real-life' series such as Sylvania Waters, and in American comedy series such as The Larry Sanders Show. Like The Larry Sanders Show, The Office, and Reno 911! it does not feature an overdubbed laughter track.

The outrageous fashions worn by Kath and Kim, and Kath, Kim and Kel's constant pursuit of ridiculous fads and their preoccupation with appearing trendy and "with-it" recalls Absolutely Fabulous; both this popular British series, and the sketch comedy series that spawned it, French & Saunders, are also likely influences on Kath & Kim.

Despite the fact that it was initially rejected by the ABC during the regime of controversial ABC General Manager Jonathan Shier, Kath and Kim became an instant hit with audiences and is now the most successful comedy series ever developed and produced by the ABC. Nevertheless, some people were offended, with critics arguing that the show could never appeal directly to the very people who were being satirised, as they would likely not recognise the elements of comedy being conveyed. Its success was largely the result of an ever increasing "word of mouth" with the show's admirers and detractors each taking the time to discuss and publicise the show.

The theme song is Anthony Newley's "The Joker", which is performed by Gina Riley.



Main cast

  • Jane Turner plays Kathleen Darlene Day-Knight -- An empty nester who is proud of her home and how she looks. She likes to keep herself trim.
  • Gina Riley plays Kim Day-Craig -- A self-absorbed, ever-complaining woman who, despite her "people skills", her call centre employer can somehow do without her.
  • Magda Szubanski plays Sharon Strzlecki -- unlucky in love, but a fine netball player.
  • Glenn Robbins plays Kel Knight -- Kath's better half and a gourmet butcher.
  • Peter Rowsthorn plays Brett Craig -- Kim's husband who works in the electronics department of a department store.

In series three, Cujo - Brett's dog - and Epponnee Rae - Brett and Kim's newborn baby girl - were added to the credits.

All of the cast were regulars on the sketch comedy shows of the late '80s and early '90s that led to the creation of Kath & Kim, and all are veterans of Melbourne's thriving live comedy scene. Riley, and Turner first came to prominence as cast members of the popular TV sketch comedy series Fast Forward; their co-star Magda Szubanski (Sharon) had first gained fame on the earlier The D-Generation, which had also featured Kath and Kim recurring guest Marg Downey. Riley later co-starred with humourists John Clarke and Bryan Dawe in the acclaimed Olympic Games satire, The Games. Szubanski has also gained international recognition with a leading role in the popular children's film Babe.

Glenn Robbins (Kel) also stars as Russell Coight in the popular comedy series, All Aussie Adventures, which parodies outback adventure shows such as The Crocodile Hunter. Peter Rowsthorn appeared on the non-related Comedy Company sketch show (which also featured Glenn Robbins). Many of the occasional characters in Kath & Kim are played by comedians who have worked with Riley, Turner and Szubanski in previous series, although its growing popularity has also seen several leading Australian dramatic actors -- including Geoffrey Rush -- featured in cameo roles.

Main cast in other roles

Riley and Turner also play the recurring characters of Prue and Trude: two shop assistants at a pricey gift store, in episodes 1x08, 2x02, 3x02, 3x07 and 3x08.

Riley played Robyn Nevenish, the "dragon lady" and director of the Fountain Lakes Players, in 3x04

Turner played Damian, a jockey and brief love interest of Sharon, in 3x02

Szubanski played Lorraine, Brett's mother and self-confessed bitch, in 3x03.

Major guest cast

A significant number of Australian actors and comedians have had guest roles on the show.

  • Marg Downey has a recurring role as Marion, an inept marriage/love counsellor with somewhat unusual methods, appearing in episodes 1x04, 1x08, 2x01, 3x01, 3x07 and 3x08. Downey starred with the cast in sketch shows like Fast Forward and Something Stupid.
  • Young Zara Harrington played Epponnee Rae, Kim and Brett's baby, in season 3. Her full name is Epponnee Raeleen Kathleen Darleen Sharleen Craig.
  • Tony Martin played Mark, Sharon's on-again/off-again boyfriend in 1x02, 1x08, 2x04 and 2x05.
  • Peta Brady played Kelly, Brett's demanding boss, in 1x06, 2x04, 3x01 and 3x02.
  • Comedian Mark Trevorrow guest starred as Kel's tailor, in 1x07 and 2x08.
  • Sibylla Budd guest starred as Lisa-Marie, Sharon's new best friend, in episode 2x03.
  • Judith Lucy guest starred as Bettina, a birthing-class teacher, in 2x06.
  • William McInnes guest starred as Sandy Freckle, Kel's best mate and worst enemy, in 2x07 and 2x08.
  • Mick Molloy played Gary Poole, Kath's vile first husband, in 2x08 and 3x01.
  • Rachel Griffiths guest starred as herself, at the races with a very drunk Kath, in 3x02.
  • Mark Holden guest starred as himself, when Kim enters her baby daughter Epponee Rae into a baby competition called Bub's Idol (as Mark is a judge on Australian Idol), in 3x02.
  • Geoffrey Rush guest starred in 3x03 as a neighbour of Kath and Kel.
  • John Clarke guest starred in 3x06 as a real estate agent.
  • Colin Lane guests starred in 3x06 as a spa salesman.
  • Kylie Minogue guest starred as Epponnee Rae, in the future, on her wedding day, in 3x08. She also had a brief, uncredited role at the end of 3x07 as herself.


Series 1

  • Episode 1 -- "Sex" -- Kim demands Sharon's help to stalk Brett, while Kath and Kel go at it like rabbits.
  • Episode 2 -- "Gay" -- Kath is concerned that there may be a dark secret at the heart of Brett and Kim's separation.
  • Episode 3 -- "Sport" -- Kel designs a commemorative sausage to celebrate the big day of his and Kath's connubials. Kim is enlisted to play in Sharon's netball team.
  • Episode 4 -- "Fat" -- Kim has stacked on the weight and can't fit into her bridesmaids dress.
  • Episode 5 -- "Old" -- Kath is worried that Kel is losing interest and decides to move on without him. We are introduced to the unique dancing styles of Kath and Kel in this episode.
  • Episode 6 -- "Money" -- Kath organises a lingerie party to raise money for the hire of the pumpkin coach.
  • Episode 7 -- "Party" -- Kim organises a hen's night for Kath.
  • Episide 8 -- "The Wedding" -- Chaos again on the day of Kath and Kel's wedding, as a pair of shoes, a bowl of punch, and Kim's horsehair fake hair extension cause unexpected results.

Series 2

    • Episode 1 -- "The Announcement" -- Kim's marriage is still up the proverbial and newlywed Kath's libido has gone awol.
    • Episode 2 -- "Inside Out" -- Brett's finally popped the "R" word (Renovation!). Kath and Kel engage in some "horizontal Irish dancing" - literally.
    • Episode 3 -- "The Moon" -- Sharon has a new best friend and will Kim go to the school reunion?
    • Episode 4 -- "Obsession" -- Unlucky in love Sharon decides to take positive steps. Meanwhile Kim is helping Brett on his career projectory and decides to "work the room".
    • Episode 5 -- "My Boyfriend" -- Sharon has a boyfriend and pash rash 24-7.
    • Episode 6 -- "Another Announcement": Kim becomes gropable when Brett won't talk about his privates, and Kath decides that it's time for her and Kel to increase the size of their family.
    • Episode 7 -- "The Shower" -- Kel's mate Sandy Freckle causes Kath to briefly lose control, while Kim's baby shower has a surprise result.
    • Episode 8 -- "The Hideous Truth" -- In the aftermath of Kim going into labour, everyone's past catches up with them, which ends with a big shock for Kath.

Series 3

    • Episode 1 -- "Cactus Hour" -- Kim and Brett deal, in different ways, with their life as new parents; and Kath and Kel have to come to terms with the fact that Kath may still be married to Gary Poole, her odious first husband, and Kim's father.
    • Episode 2 -- "The Mango Espadrille" -- Kath, Kim and Sharon head to the races, while Brett babysits Epponnee Rae; and Kel cooks up a storm.
    • Episode 3 -- "Sitting on a Pile" -- Brett and Epponnee head to the Gold Coast to visit Brett's mother, leaving Kim taking time off; while Kath and Kel decide to spend time apart but learn they have little to do without each other.
    • Episode 4 -- "Kicking up a Stink" -- Kim and Sharon head to Boot Camp; and Kel and Kath deal with space issues.
    • Episode 5 -- "Hello Nails!" -- Sharon has a date, and turns to Kim for a makeover; while Kath and Kel attempt to update their home theatre system, hindered by Brett who gets Kath obsessed with television.
    • Episode 6 -- "High and Dry" -- Kath starts a new career, while Brett brings the biggest news of all to Kim - an apartment.
    • Episode 7 -- "Foxy on the Run" -- Sharon anxiously fights for godmother status of Epponnee Rae; and Kath plans a big event for Kel's birthday - the big 50.
    • Episode 8 - "99% Fat Free" -- Kath and Kel go fat free, while Brett and Kim fight over Epponnee Rae's career path.

Future Projects

  • Riley and Turner have currently taken time off from television, but have commented that they would be interested in doing another project in the near future, likely in 2006. Whether this will be a fourth series of Kath & Kim is unknown.

See also

External links


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