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Published: 2004/07/29
by Benjy Eisen

Puppets Who Kill The Complete First Season

How do I say this without being offensive to our Canadian friends? I guess it starts with the disclaimer that I was born on Canadian soil. I'm down with the Canucks. I'm a fan of Ontario Place, the Maple Leafs, and Leonard Cohen. But for the life of me, I can't recall a single television show from the northern country. I always just assumed that Canadian television sucked. I assumed wrong.

Puppets Who Kill is a mildly wacky, moderately twisted television show from Canada’s Comedy Network. It rivals much of the programming on America’s Comedy Central counterpart, and although the idea may be better than the pull-off, the program seems tailor made for a bong-hits-after-dinner audience. Vancouver must love this show.

The two-disc DVD set of the first season comes loaded with 13 episodes and obligatory extras such as writer/director commentary, outtake reel, and bios. There’s also a "Day in the Life of Puppets Who Kill" featurette and a "Character Likes and Dislikes" extra.

The show’s premise is promising. When prison fails to rehabilitate them, four bad-boy puppets are placed in a halfway house with a human social worker. There’s a ventriloquist doll who can’t stop killing his ventriloquists (Bill), a sexually deviant mascot bear (Buttons), a sharp-tongued comfort doll (Cuddles), and a chain-smoking con-artist plush puppy (Rocco). Comedian Dan Redican plays the social worker whose job it is to chaperone, mentor, and restore the puppets to respectable citizenship.

The puppets are treated as if they were English-speaking living beings.

The premise of Puppets Who Kill is just weird enough to be novel, but the show needs better writers to actually make you laugh out loud. For the first season there are a few genuinely funny moments in each episode, scattered amongst a much larger number of near-hits. These first 13 episodes are charming enough that you’ll want to continue watching, but at the start of each new episode you can’t help but to think, "Maybe this one will be the breakthrough." Everything is in place. The puppets kill. Now the show just needs to as well.

In the meantime, this DVD set should introduce American cult-and-camp audiences to a television show that would fit right in on Comedy Central if they adopted a late-night Adult Swim package.

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