Kenny vs. Spenny

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Kenny vs. Spenny
KENNY VS SPENNY.png
Kenny vs. Spenny Logo
Created by Kenny Hotz
Spencer Rice
Directed by
Starring
Composer(s) Richard Pell
Country of origin
  • Canada
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 86 (list of episodes)
Production
Editor(s) Duncan Christie, Marco Porsia
Cinematography Sebastian Cluer
Running time 22 minutes excluding commercials
Release
Original channel
Picture format
Audio format Stereo
Original release August 26, 2003 – December 23, 2010
Chronology
Followed by

Kenny vs. Spenny is a Canadian television show starring Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice, who face each other in various competitions. The loser of each episode must perform an act of humiliation, usually selected by the winner. Hotz and Rice created the series, and it is typically shot in their hometown of Toronto, Ontario, based mostly out of the house they shared.[1] As of November 2008, the show airs on CBC, Global and Showcase in Canada, on Comedy Central in Germany and the Netherlands, on The Comedy Channel in Australia, on Sony Max in South Africa, on Italia 2 in Italy, on FX in Portugal, on JIM in Finland, and on Comedy Central in Sweden. The series concluded with an hour-long Christmas special that aired on December 23, 2010, at 9 pm ET/PT on Showcase.[2]

The series was nominated for the Canadian Comedy Awards in 2010 and 2011 and for Gemini Awards in 2005, 2006, and 2008 as the best Canadian comedy series, and received a Rose d'Or nomination in Switzerland for "best international comedy series". The show has spawned several replicas of its format, including a family-friendly French Canadian version called Frank vs Girard that airs on VRAK.TV. Also following the format are Ed vs. Spencer in the United Kingdom, Juan vs. Roman in Latin America, Elton vs. Simon in Germany, Katja vs. Bridget, Dennis vs. Valerio in the Netherlands, and Sid vs. Varun in India. In 2009 the show was named #8 among the top 10 Canadian television shows of the decade.[3]

Overview[edit]

Since the beginning of time, mankind has been forced to compete for survival. The spirit of competition has reached a pinnacle in the relationship of two best friends who battle against each other. Why? Glory for the winner, humiliation for the loser.

Opening credit narration

Kenneth "Kenny" Joel Hotz and Spencer "Spenny" Nolan Rice are lifelong friends, who challenged each other in various ways for years before they decided to film structured competitions and introduce consequences for losing. Kenny and Spenny have contrasting personalities, which have an impact on the way they approach each competition. Spenny usually follows the rules and his ethics very strictly. He also tries to compete in what he perceives as the intention and spirit of each competition. Kenny's approach is typically more unorthodox and "devious"; he is often willing to use any means necessary, including cheating (though he believes most of his tactics are legal), to win. Though he does not always break the rules, he is usually willing to bend them, or work around them. Kenny sometimes admits that he would not win certain competitions without cheating. Spenny will often bear the brunt of Kenny's plans and pranks until the competition is declared a draw. In one episode, Spenny remarked that he was the king of the show's "endurance competitions". Unfortunately, Spenny is often paranoid and sometimes this causes him to sabotage his own efforts and become demoralized. Kenny occasionally uses this paranoia to his advantage. For example, in one episode, Kenny phones Spenny and lies about bugging his room and recording his private conversations. As a result, Spenny reveals to the crew that he had phone sex. Other times, he will manipulate Spenny with reverse psychology. Kenny has also occasionally used his position as executive producer to threaten crew members and force them to help him and/or not help Spenny. At some point in the show's development, Spenny agreed to be conspired against by Kenny and Kenny's crew in exchange for being allowed to decide on each competition's rules. This is the main composition of the show's suspense, which both Kenny and Spenny argue would be lost otherwise.

Beyond their competitive styles, the contrasting personalities of the two stars is the source of much of the humour of the show. Kenny is generally portrayed as an uncouth and charismatic joker with a bizarre scatological sense of humor. He invented a variety of fictional characters such as "Silencio", "Maurice del Taco", "Goldar", "Helmut", and others, which he frequently dresses up as to entertain himself, the crew and viewers, or to antagonize or deceive Spenny. Spenny, however, is a classic straight man, and "solid citizen" who follows the rules, with a very dry sense of humour. He is more serious and introspective than Kenny, sometimes using the competitions as a metaphor to send some sort of political statement or positive moral message or reflection on his views of the world to the viewers. He is quick to anger (much to the delight of Kenny), and rarely finds Kenny's behaviour amusing. As he stated in one episode, "I haven't had a belly laugh since 1987." He rarely makes jokes on camera, and when he does, the crew rarely finds them funny or entertaining. Spenny usually reacts with exasperation at Kenny's jokes, which often victimize Spenny. Kenny jokes constantly, usually at Spenny's expense through character assassination. He also verbally targets much of Spenny's family, which offends Spenny the most. Spenny's most common emotional reaction on the show is anger, usually at something Kenny has said or done. Their personalities and outlooks frequently clash in general, which leads to constant argument and sometimes escalates with physical violence. He also frequently becomes depressed, even threatening to quit the show on multiple occasions. Sometimes, Kenny's pranks move beyond simple character assassination. In one episode, he secretly gave Spenny several hits of LSD. In another, he forged a letter to Spenny from the Ontario Ministry of Health, informing Spenny that he had been in contact with someone who had HIV, and thereby deceiving Spenny into believing he had contracted the virus.

Throughout the show, Kenny employs the help of his friends and family to assist him in his plans to cheat. Spenny also employs the help of friends in some competitions, usually to provide advice or moral support, though Spenny's family is less involved, preferring to have no participation whatsoever in the show. One of Kenny's most frequent helpers is Dr. Goldfield, a herbalist, who gives him tips for many of the show's endurance competitions. Another recurring person in the show is Bobby Patton, a mutual friend who participates in two episodes.

It is clear that as the show progressed into the later seasons, Kenny and Spenny's friendship deteriorates. Kenny's pranks and schemes become progressively more devious and harmful, and Spenny's tolerance of Kenny, and his willingness to be civil, diminishes as his animosity for his "best friend" swells.

Winning[edit]

Spencer Rice

The winner of the competition gets to assign a "humiliation", an embarrassing task that the loser must perform. Although it is implied that the loser has agreed to the choice of humiliation, in some episodes the winner attempts to extend the humiliation beyond what was agreed upon. Kenny has defined winning as not having to perform a humiliation, or perform a lesser humiliation, while Spencer has defined winning as being declared the competition winner. This difference in opinion results in disputes over who was the true 'winner' in some cases. Spenny's definition of "victory" is more sportsmanlike—in a race between two people, if the person ahead is sabotaged by the person behind, official rules designate second place as the victor of the race. Kenny's definition of "victory" is enjoying the humiliation of the loser.

The show is usually less focused on who will actually win the competition and more on how each competitor will go about trying to win. This is evidenced by the fact that the person who performs the humiliation is not always technically the loser based on the rules—they just do not know about the rules broken by the winner. On many occasions, a competitor, usually Kenny, has cheated and still been declared the winner. The show rarely shows the aftermath of the competition, leaving it unknown how a competitor reacted upon finding out that his opponent cheated. Some episodes include the voices of Kenny and Spenny during the closing credits, commenting on an unfair loss.

Production[edit]

Kenny Hotz

Starting with the fourth season, Kenny and Spenny were both executive producers and received credit separate from five other executive producers. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the TV show South Park, joined the show for the fourth season and were given their own separate credit as executive producers for the ten episodes in which they were involved.[4] Instrumental and electronic music is frequently used throughout episodes scored by Composer Richard Pell . Ride of the Valkyries, Ravel's Boléro, Sergei Prokofiev's Montagues and Capulets and Peter and the Wolf, Gioachino Rossini's La gazza ladra, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor – 4th Movement, and music by Toronto electronica band Holy Fuck are very frequently used.

Kenny and Spenny each have their own production assistant, camera operator, and sound engineer, who film their independent exploits for each episode. In the earlier seasons, the crew was shared between Kenny and Spenny. Crew members eventually split up into two teams, some joining Kenny's "side", and others joining Spenny's.

Broadcasting[edit]

Kenny vs. Spenny was originally going to be aired on MTV, but MTV's broadcasters rejected the pilot (after purchasing it for $8,000). USA Network paid $40,000 for the production of a pilot as well, but pulled the plug during principal photography. The show first aired on CBC Television. CBC cancelled the show after the first season, and Showcase Television picked up the series in late 2005. The show has switched broadcasters and been cancelled many times, including by Showcase, and again by CBC, when one of its commercials aired by accident during the network's "toddler block".[5] Spenny has stated in multiple interviews that the main reason for CBC's cancelling of the show was because it aired right before CBC News, and news viewers tuning in early were offended by the show's humiliation segment.[6]

It was produced by Breakthrough Films and Television since its inception. Re-runs of the first two seasons air on CBC late at night, and on CBC's Bold station weekday afternoons. Re-runs also aired on Showcase, and episodes of the show have aired on Shaw Media's Action. The show has aired on GSN in the United States. It is shown internationally on TV 2 Zulu in Denmark, JIM in Finland, the now defunct ZTV Norway, Comedy Central in Sweden, FX (repeats on Challenge) in the United Kingdom (no longer airing), The Comedy Channel in Australia, FX in Portugal, Comedy Central in Germany, Comedy Central in the Netherlands and The XtraHOT channel in Israel. Fox Entertainment Group in Latin America has distributed the episodes, which can be seen on the Latin American versions of FOX channel and FX. The first three seasons are currently available on Netflix in Canada.

Episodes[edit]

Christmas special[edit]

The series finale Kenny vs. Spenny Christmas Special aired 23 December 2010 at 9 pm eastern time on Showcase.[7]

DVD releases[edit]

Video Service Corp has released all six seasons of Kenny vs. Spenny on DVD in Region 1 (Canada only). Beyond Home Entertainment has released the first three seasons on DVD in Region 4.

DVD Name Number of episodes Released for Region 1 Released for Region 4 Bonus features
Kenny vs Spenny: Season One 26 November 22, 2005 August 5, 2009 Kenny & Spenny commentary over two episodes, biographies, clips from international versions, Pitch
Kenny vs Spenny: Season Two 13 November 21, 2006 December 9, 2009 Season two promo, two commentaries with Kenny and Spenny, deleted scenes, season three preview
Kenny vs Spenny: Season Three 13 November 13, 2007 April 7, 2010 Kenny's never-before-seen version of "Who Can Make a Better Porno?", two commentaries with Kenny & Spenny, crew commentary, deleted scenes
Comedy Central's Kenny vs. Spenny – Volume One: Uncensored (Season Four) 10 August 12, 2008 TBA Deleted scenes, additional scenes, commentary tracks, Kenny answers fan mail, Kenny and Spenny reflect on past competitions, Kenny and Spenny's hot mix, Who can pick the biggest booger?, Kenny and Spenny: Men on the Street
Kenny vs Spenny: Season Four 10 August 26, 2008 TBA
Kenny vs Spenny: Season Five 10 November 24, 2009 TBA Deleted scenes, commentary with the crew, commentary with Kenny and Spenny, commentary with Kenny and Spenny and the crew
Kenny vs Spenny: Season Six 13 September 7, 2010[8] TBA Outtakes, photo gallery
Kenny vs. Spenny Christmas Special 1 TBA TBA

YouTube release[edit]

Starting November 7, 2012,[9] Kenny began uploading the series to his personal YouTube account. The final episode of the series was uploaded on December 22, 2012.[10]

Statistics[edit]

The records and winning percentages vary depending on the definition of a win used by each competitor. The interpretation of what constitutes cheating also varies depending on the competition and may lead to some discrepancies in the statistics. Any statement of the records contains inherent bias of definition used and is more so if including cheating and arguable cheating instances separately.[11]

Wins Losses Draws Winning %
(W/W+L)
Win/Tie %
(Ties = 1/2 Win)
Kenny 59 21 5 73.75% 72.35%
Spenny 21 59 5 26.25% 27.65%
  • If competitions where Kenny cheated (16) or arguably cheated (3) and won are not counted, the record would be 40-21-5 for Kenny; If they are counted as wins for Spenny (as Spenny suggests they should),[12] then Spenny would be leading 40-40-5.

If the competition ends in a draw, there is either no humiliation, or a double humiliation. Although there have been exceptions to this rule.

Revival attempts[edit]

Both Hotz and Rice have expressed interest in a film adaptation of Kenny vs. Spenny. In a 2013 interview, Rice elaborated, "if it happens I don't think I will live through it but it will be good entertainment." Later on March 7, 2014, Hotz began the Facebook[13] and Twitter[14] campaign #BringBackKvS in an effort to encourage Netflix to commission a seventh season of the show.[15] Netflix had recently resurrected the Trailer Park Boys series from its 2008 finale, and it was Hotz's intention to replicate this success. As of May 2014, no formal response to the campaign has been made by Netflix. Between March and May 2014, Hotz and Rice embarked on a 13 city Kenny vs. Spenny vs. Canada comedy tour, showing and discussing rare and unseen Kenny vs. Spenny footage that had been rejected by broadcasters.

References[edit]

External links[edit]