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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kroll Show: “Banff Is On Fire”

Illustration for article titled Kroll Show: “Banff Is On Fire”
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Kroll Show continues to be formally adventurous and uninterested in repeating the joke with any of its characters. This is what, the sixth Bobby Bottleservice sketch in the season?—and almost every one has been in an entirely different format. The tale of Armond, which was pretty staid and presented through the same lens each week last season, has veered wildly from week to week this season. The world Kroll Show has knit together is amazing. Watching “Can I Finish?” last week with Bob Ducca, Armond, Pretty Liz and others weighing in, it was wonderful to watch the show mess around so much.

But sometimes episodes are going to be lighter on the laughs, no matter how crazy they are. I liked some of the concepts being played around with here, but I didn’t find this episode particularly funny. Bobby Bottleservice, who I usually enjoy but is rarely the highlight of the week, was just outstanding here. I love his use in “Cheaters,” where he starts out seeming sincere to the wronged woman (played by Lindsay Sloane, from Bring It On and Sabrina and stuff!) because his mom taught his to respect women.

But once he and Peter confront the cheater, they’re immediately in awe of him for getting away with it and praise him for being so cool. “Everybody does this! JFK, Newt Gingrich, Shaggy,” Bobby pronounces. It makes perfect sense. Bobby is all things to all people, and seemingly very reflective of whatever situation is at hand. He’s not much of an advanced thinker, is another way to put it. Honestly, while a little Bobby usually goes a long way for me, I could have done with more of “Cheaters” this week.

We have the return of “Wheels, Ontario” for the first time in a while, and things take a predictably strange and inexplicable turn, with Toons turning into some sort of gangster who shoots Kroll’s character for some reason? “Wheels” is usually one of the more cohesive parts of this show, but this plot made very, very little sense this week. Filling the car with “pasta” (the Canadian pronunciation really sold it) was good though. Sometimes just saying words weird is funny.

I liked the fourth-wall breaking Canada stuff better though. The Canadian Idol-type show with the contortionist judge and Gene Creemers remained delightfully weird, and there was Bruce McCullough to give us a real connection to Canada again in case things got too touchy. “Magic” Nathan Fielder’s sensitivity about the contortionist taking cards with her feet was funny, but again, not too many laughs to be had this week. Strange and jarring seemed to be the order of the day.

Finally, Armond. I guess he’s living with his dad this week, who’s a taxidermist? The joke seemed to be that Armond was acting more like a teenager, which is funny because of his flat delivery, but it didn’t really work for me. Not enough jokes, see. Then it turns into a cop show with him and Bill Burr’s character trying to catch the real murderer. This should have been at the top of the episode, I think, and given more time to get fleshed out, because the transition came off really rough. Maybe more next week?


Stray observations:

  • I liked the appearance of Nick’s actual mother Lynn. And the allusion to his dad (Jules Kroll—look him up) being Armond-like.
  • “You smell amazing. Did you eat an orange before this?”
  • “I’ve never said ‘flip over, weirdo’ to anyone.”
  • Toons is missing. “Maybe she’s with your baby?” “No, I don’t talk about that,” says Coach Teacher.
  • “A gun, I feel like I’ve crossed the river into Detroit’s 8 Mile!”
  • Kathryn Hahn is Mikey’s mom in “Wheels.” “Just a gun wound? Why don’t you take that to the Just for Laughs festival at Montreal?”