The Chaotic, Hilarious & Genius of ‘Kenny vs. Spenny’

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‘Kenny vs. Spenny’ is a Canadian reality show which aired from 2002-2010. Photo Cred: stcatharinesstandard.ca

Fans of cult favorite TV series comedies ‘South Park‘ and ‘Jackass‘ might enjoy the similar purposely offensive, satirical, and outrageous humor of Canadian competition reality show ‘Kenny vs. Spenny’. In ‘Who can drink more beer?’, Spencer ‘Spenny’ Rice eventually passes out after consuming 47 beers barely over 48 hours—unaware that Kenneth ‘Kenny’ Hotz was cheating by drinking non-alcoholic beer the whole time.

Spenny—the rule-abiding, straight collared, ‘vanilla’ best friend—to Kenny—the always cheating, devious, manipulative, crude jokester of the duo—is often the butt of no ‘off-limit’ bullying since the show aired from 2002-2010 when gay, sexist, disgusting, and racist jokes were standard in the MTV ‘frat-skater-boys-who-kick-each-other-in-the-nuts-gone-wild’ era. Creators of South Park, pioneers of over the top ‘fart punchline’ humor dubbed Kenny vs. Spenny as, “…the most accurate examination of male friendships that we’ve ever seen.”

From their shared house in Toronto, Canada, each episode showed the lifelong total opposite best mates face off in endurance and random challenges, like who can stand the longest, who do gay guys like more, who can kiss more women(which was sabotaged by Spenny’s own paranoia that a girl who flirted with him was a set-up by Kenny), and even who can commit the most crime. The loser was punished at the end of every episode which actually forced the television network CBC into cancelling the show since viewers waiting 5 minutes early to watch the news would be horrified by the distasteful, stomach-turning humiliations.

Kenny and Spenny’s ‘ying and yang’ personality types baffled watchers as to how they could share any mutual interests. When one challenge was to reward the best imitation of each other, Kenny’s theatrical impersonation of Spenny as a homosexual, suicidal, alcoholic, depressed, victim of molestation with a massive hooked nose forced Spenny out of character multiple times to aggressively insist that Kenny was not portraying him correctly. Even when trying really hard to win the competition Spenny couldn’t suppress his love for order by wiping a spilled drink from the floor, defending himself with “…Look! I HAVE to do this. If I don’t do this we’re gonna’ get rats…”

Like most of the competitions, Kenny has this win in the bag. His quick-wit, flair for utter evil manipulation and mind games had Spenny wrapped around his baby finger. He tricked children into voting for him as the winner with the lure of an awesome present but it was all a lie, orchestrated a fake date for Spenny who pretended to be the ‘best date’ judge but was a hired actress who had no say in the winner of the contest, and even wore a fake finger—Kenny has a disfigured finger—while in a fat suit to make Spenny think that he was a ‘fake Kenny’. Spenny took off his weights thinking that Kenny had cheated with a decoy to only find out that it REALLY was Kenny, and Spenny suffered the humiliating punishment.

As the seasons continued, budgets bloomed, and their friendship began to crack. Kenny became more vicious and ruthless. Spenny became more paranoid and defensive. After the wrap-up of the 2010 final season, they didn’t talk for 7 years.

Unlike other semi-documentary style, semi-reality contest shows, Kenny vs. Spenny displayed the full taunting, disgusting, and testosterone-induced unflattering side of their relationship that most producers would edit out. The cameramen and behind the scenes staff became involved in their secret plots, developing into secondary characters on the show. They could hardly refuse when Kenny and Spenny were their bosses, right?

Time heals wounds so eventually they put their animosity aside and rekindled their friendship for some occasional touring. Kenny even trolled American voters on Vice. Turkish, British, German, and Indian spin-offs of the original show happened and thanks to Kenny Hotz himself, cult fans can watch every episode, any time on Youtube.

Online watchers make fun of how ‘stupid’ Spenny is and bond over their mutual worship of Kenny’s ludicrous shenanigans. 10 years after its finale, the show still gains new audiences and die-hard admirers, with one Google reviewer painting the picture of this show as,”…Every once in a while in human history, a piece of art is created that inspires millions for centuries to come, and transcends everything earthly…”

Kenny vs Spenny was defiantly a unique concept which couldn’t have had better polar-opposite personalities to ensure comedic gold. Recreating the magic of early 00s lunatic comedy and the boys dynamic is nearly impossible. From sea to sea, its something Canadians can look back at in fondness, or disgrace…

 

 

 

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