Key & Peele
Season 4, Episode 1
Change is usually a good thing. And Key & Peele is changing pretty drastically this season. That may sound a bit much but let’s look at what’s different: 1. The audience is completely gone in favor of a road trip style set of vignettes between our hosts. 2. The road trip style bleeds into the intro music which displays all of the reoccurring characters like the substitute teacher. 3. Everything looks much more cinematic. And 4. The show is going on for 22 episodes this season with two best of’s. Key & Peele is straddling the lines of sketch show and sitcom with sketches. But why would Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele adjust the format of their show this far into the process? Why would they try to fix what wasn’t broken? It’s not so much that they are. They’re trying to evolve the show. Key and Peele are distancing themselves from being Chappelle Show wannabes and becoming something new. The audience segments were nice but that whole thing has been done before. Having the two comedians do a back and forth in the car to transition sketches is very funny. It’s there that we get to see what the two can truly do.
One of the first sketches this season includes a larger set piece and better costume design. Key and Peele are now in the big leagues with their show so they are allotted more resources to do bigger jokes. Aliens have come to earth and taken over some humans as hosts. Our hosts walk through destroyed streets in order to survive. When they come across another human, they ask them questions portanining to their race. A white man would let Key date his daughter so naturally he get shot. Green blood pours out and his true alien form is revealed. But a white girl is able to join the group when she admits she’s afraid of the two. This plays out much like the racists zombie sketch. Aliens don’t know how humans really act towards one another. Alien Imposters is a sketch about our social climate. Not so much a commentary but an observation on how we see each other.
Another sketch that stood out followed a black family trying to comprehend a gay black wedding. TV and film stars alike fill in the roles of the family like Romany Falco, Gary Anthony Williams, Vernee Watson-Johnson, and Lance Reddick. Each plays the role of a member of the family that just doesn’t get it. There’s the cousin who is disinterested and ignorant to gay customs (Falco), the grandmother that asks the wrong questions (Johnson), and Reddick who does an amazing job as the father that thinks gay hymns include “It’s Raining Men” and “YMCA.” This sketch is just another example of good writing with hints of commentary and phenomenal joke delivery.
The final sketch I want to bring to light revolves around Obama meeting different races. He shakes hands with the whites but gives dap to the blacks. Without missing a beat, Peele easily switches between the two roles of informal and formal handshakes.
Should you watch “Alien Imposters?”
Of course. There’s no doubting that Key and Peele know what they want to do with their writing. Only time will tell if they have enough ideas to go on for 20 episodes. Commentary can become heavy handed if one facet is relied on for too long. There’s no doubt, however, that they are still at the top of their game.