The Odd Couple comes to reality television! People generally do not go out on Sunday nights because they have to get up to work the next day. What usually grips me for evening entertainment is tuning in to Trailer Park Boys on Showcase at 9pm EST. But I’m happy to have found a new Sunday night amusement in Kenny vs. Spenny that follows right after the Boys at 9:30pm EST.The odd couple comes to reality television! The show also makes for great “did you see…” discussions to start the week!
Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice (Spenny) are life-long friends. They star in this unique reality/comedy series revolving around the relationship – and rivalry – between them. Each week, Kenny and Spenny challenge each other to perform outrageous real-life competitions and will stop at nothing to sabotage, humiliate and one-up each other in a never-ending quest for supremacy.
I have laughed through three episodes thus far. Spenny plays the straight man, always taking the high road to win the contests. He always suspects that Kenny, the wisecracker and schemer who is always looking for a shortcut to victory, may cheat. They live together in a downtown Toronto house that is wired for camera and sound and is followed by a production crew that participates in the antics as well.
The contests are pretty far out, and resemble MTV’s Jackass. To give you an idea of what the contests are like, I’m listing them as they appeared in each episode:
- Who can drink the most beer without puking?
- Who can stay naked the longest?
- Who has the biggest balls (guts)?
I was hooked with the first contest – the drinking contest. Kenny chose the type of beer that they would drink. Spenny bought the beer and both would label their bottles with red and white to determine the beer count. What Spenny does not know is that Kenny chose that particular beer because there is a non-alcoholic version. Kenny replaces his allotted beer with non-alcoholic ones and hilarity ensues as he pretends to be drunk. He doesn’t stop there, but also uses every trick in the book. To Spenny’s credit, he never puked. Kenny had to induce vomiting on himself while Spenny was passed out, and told Spenny that he was the one that puked.
The series works because of the marked differences in personality between Kenny and Spenny. Kenny is more abrasive and plays the bully while Spenny is the quintessential play-a-long friend who gives in, and falls victim to, Kenny’s various antics. Sometimes the arguments do escalate to a very serious level. The relationship bears much resemblance to the time-tested Odd Couple formula. I guess opposites do attract, because there is no explanation as to why these two people could remain friends in real-life.
Though the two friends are the focus of the show, they also invite many odd assortments of outcasts, experts, family and friends to participate in the mayhem. For example, during the “stay naked” contest, Kenny invited 3 large gay men dressed in leather biker outfits to come prod, poke and have their way with a scared vulnerable naked Spenny. I don’t know what’s funnier: seeing the devilish Kenny frustrated when his schemes do not work, or watching Spenny struggle with his situations. Kenny’s ingenuity knows no bounds as he consistently amazes me with his tricks!
Each episode ends with the loser of the contest performing a humiliating stunt, such as eating up vomit or standing in a busy street wearing a colonial costume and declaring that they have a small “wee wee” while ringing a bell loudly to draw attention. The humiliation is tame in comparison to the ordeals of the contest. I marvel at their persistence to continue the contests, whereas I would simply cave and take the humiliation instead.
Some may criticize and say this series epitomizes childishness and is indicative of the problem of young adults not being able to get jobs. I just think it’s the greatest half-hour reality television out there. I am skeptical as to whether there is a lot of planning or co-ordination behind the scenes or if it’s really reality television, but the end result is absolutely hilarious! It’s a shame that the CBC stopped the show with only one season, but you can now catch it on Showcase and on DVD! Let’s hope there are more seasons in the works for Kenny and Spenny!
Deep Edit: JH