"Airplane Showdown" - Key & Peele Review

Key & Peele
“Airplane Showdown”
Season 5, Episode 2

Chad White

Don’t call her a bitch but… get your bitch some chocolate!

I love a bit of continuity. Moreover, I love it when a show uses a setting repeatedly or repurposes it all together. The latest episode of Key & Peele did just that when it featured another airplane based sketch. It’s pretty fun to find a show willing to go back to the same set with a different story to tell. Sure, it’s a really dumb reason to like a show but there’s something about recycling that makes everything seem so useful.

The cold open for the episode is much more laid back than the previous one. It’s not quieter by any means, just less ballsy. Key, Peele and a Hispanic woman are DJs for a local radio station. They’re the typical loud morning hosts often cartoony to a point of stereotyping. They say ridiculous things while playing a soundboard filled with animal noises, bro phrases and air horns. Once on commercial, they show their more sophisticated sides with painting, reading, and building a ship in a bottle. It’s a cute joke but the aforementioned return to the airplane takes the cake for best sketch of the night.

Key is a passenger while Peele is an effeminate Air Waitress (I forget the real term). Key tries to go to the bathroom but Peele tries to stop him. Following an intense standoff, Key backs his way to the bathroom as Peele sits down. At that moment, turbulence rocks the pain. Here, we get to see some magical facial work with the two actors. Their staring is intensely deep and eye contact is never lost. Amidst all of the action, Key and Peele never break. They deserve some type of facial awareness award if such thing exists. Such an award can also be given to Key in the following sketch as he portrays an old man in an old time style silent film. He conveys his jovial attitude of performing the magic trick of pulling a quarter out of a child’s ear with massive proudness only to outdo himself once he finds that the kid’s ear really is paying out cash. It’s short and there merely as a bridge but this sketch was fun.

Some sketches don’t pay off like the one where the guys take on the roles of old adventurers recounting their sexual exploits with tribes people. Or a double date with Regina Hall where the group doesn’t talk due to fear of spoiling a tv show, book, sports game, or even weather. The premises are funny enough but some jokes falter.

The TED-like conference FAS (For All Species) has a good turnaround with Key and Peel e as Shaboots Michaels and T-Ray Tombstone. The design for the costumes here is phenomenal as the characters are dressed in pimp outfits. A speech on menstruation, dubbed Menstruation Orientation, is disgusting and personal as they shout what men should do when their lady is on her period. This sketch works with the character’s shouts and partially tandem speech. Even a smaller sketch like the final one that has the guys and a group led by According to Jim’s Larry Joe Campbell praying for forgiveness from God is excellent. The spirit comes down to accept the group but only if they sell everything they own and serve the poor. Seeing the expressions on their faces pays off much like the punchline to the sketch that has the group evacuating the room after pretending God is a ghost.

Should you watch “Airplane Showdown?”

Be it a middling episode of Key & Peele or a fantastic one, it’s always good to see what these guys and their crew can pull off. Give this episode a go for the airplane and FAS sketch alone. The other parts are just as good too. And please, go back and watch their facial expressions. They’re just so great.