Comedy Central can clearly identify its target audience: Drunken and possibly stoned young frat guys and teens, who still get a major charge out of farts, belching and other scatological humor. Yet with a few welcome exceptions, the net’s programming has become a completely self-fulfilling prophecy, aiming so low that nobody outside that narrow demographic will have the patience to watch. Against that backdrop enter “Kenny vs. Spenny,” a competition series –whose count-’em nine exec producers include the creators of “South Park” — between two jerkoff friends that makes “Jackass” look like PBS’ “Nova.”
Coming across like a live-action Beavis and Butt-head, Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice challenge each other to various absurd contests, with an act of “humiliation” awaiting the loser. Proving there’s occasional truth in labeling, “Who Can Blow the Biggest Fart?” and “Who Can Eat the Most Meat?” neatly summarizes the first two episodes.
If the latter sounds less objectionable, you’ll think again when Kenny consumes something that doesn’t agree with him, with grotesque results. Then again, in the other show, he leaves his mark, as it were, in his zeal to surpass Spenny on the methane meter, as the two wolf down chili and beans.
“With men,” Kenny burbles, “passing gas is almost a point of pride.” Dude, not a whole half-hour’s worth, it isn’t.
A thoroughly juvenile goofball, Hotz is annoying, venal and completely at ease with his doughy body. Rice is, well, the guy who competes with Hotz.
Comedy Central has ordered 10 installments in addition to the same number of what the channel has the chutzpah to call previously produced “classic episodes” (the program aired in Canada, representing a rather foul blast across the border). The series will play in latenight Sundays after this midweek, post-midnight preview, and given what’s on display, the mind boggles at the promised “Too Hot for TV” downloads.
Like “Jackass,” there’s a certain grossout shock value in the duo’s shenanigans, but at least that series dealt in ridiculous and visual stunts, as opposed to a parade of bodily excretions and moronic pranks, like Kenny dumping a bucket of meat entrails on his sleeping buddy. And while crass humor has its place (think “The Sarah Silverman Program” or “South Park,” the aforementioned Comedy Central exceptions), “Kenny vs. Spenny” exhibits virtually no interest in exercising the slightest sense of ingenuity as it goes about tapping the cesspool.
Granted, they’re hardly the first comedy team to produce crap for TV, but few have reduced the term to such a level of literacy. And if the writers strike drags on long enough, God help us, this might just be the future of television.