Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire is somewhere near the bottom of whatever scale it is that Monty Python and the Holy Grail is at the top of. It’s not the very bottom, because it’s not painful to watch, just boring where it isn’t sophomoric. It’s the kind of comedy where a flamingly gay character is regarded as inherently funny, just mincing around. If you took away its trading in the broadest of stereotypes, there would be almost nothing left. It really strikes me as the kind of skit that a group of high-school students might have cooked up.
More than its low-brow humor not appealing to me, it’s not competently executed. In one scene in particular, the staging completely kills the joke. The dialogue has it that the evil provincial governor Dongalor kills a henchman who is threatening to report him to the Emperor, but mistakenly kills the wrong henchman; realizing his mistake complains to his right-hand man that he thought they had agreed to label the backs of all the chairs. The staging, though, has the henchman who is threatening to report Dongalor to the emperor on the left of a conference table, the other henchman on the right, with the camera in between and both chairs “cheated” to three-quarters so that the occupants are visible both to the audience and to Dongalor up on a platform in the center of the stage. So as it comes across, Dongalor is talking directly to the rebellious henchman stage left, then suddenly moves downstage, turns to stage right and stabs a different henchman…and then has to be told by his assistant that he just stabbed the wrong guy. Then he launches into his complaint about labelling the backs of the chairs. I suspect that what was visualized during the writing was that Dongalor would be striking over or through the backs of the chairs, with the occupants not visible to him, but not only did translating that onto the screen fail, apparently either nobody noticed or cared that the result looked utterly bizarre.
I had really been looking forward to this show since I first heard about it, and I really wanted to like it… but it could barely raise the ghost of a smile. I counted two somewhat amusing bits in the whole thing, and even then the writers didn’t trust the actors to convey the joke without hammering it home with extra dialogue. The density of jokes in Krod Mandoon is very low, but if you’re not going for Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker rapid-fire throw everything at the wall and see if some of it sticks parody, you really have to craft the jokes that you do have well and make sure that they’re sharp.
I have the second episode Tivoed, but I doubt I’ll bother.