Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Saturtainment: Kenan & Kel (1996)

Nickelodeon's youth-centric Saturday Night Live clone, All That!, spun some of their cast members into their own series. For example, Amanda Bynes, before she got some bad advice and Lord knows what else, was given a solo comedy series, The Amanda Show, before leaving Nick for the WB (What I Like About You). Jamie Lyn Spears (Britney's sister) moved on to the dramedy, Zoey 101, which ended way too soon in some people's minds due to Spears' personal, off-camera issues.

And, then, there was the inner-city's new generation Abbott & Costello, Kenan & Kel.

Kenan Thompson (now on Saturday Night Live, ironically) and Kel Mitchell had become fan favorites on All That! with their "Good Burger" skits, which spawned a spin-off movie of the same name. Rather than continue to trade on Good Burger by making it the spin-off series, Nick opted for Kenan & Kel, which ran for four 13-episode seasons (1996-9) as part of Nick's Saturday night Snick package, same as All That!. In a reverse on the Abbott & Costello format, Thompson, the plus-sized one, was the straight man, and tall, lanky Mitchell was the dim-witted foil.

Like All That!, Kenan & Kel came from former Head of the Class co-star Brian Robbins' production company. Robbins brought in castmate Dan Schneider as a producer and occasional writer and/or director. A 3rd Class alumnus, Dan Frischman, appeared frequently. Other former child stars, including Malcolm Jamal-Warner (ex-The Cosby Show) and Kim Fields Freeman (ex-The Facts of Life, Living Single), directed multiple episodes.

Reruns, at last check, currently air on TeenNick.

Here's the intro, with the theme song performed by Coolio.

After the first two seasons, production moved out to Hollywood, where, I think, "Good Burger" was shot.

Rating: B.

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