Kenny vs. Spenny

Vice recently published an article about Kenny vs. Spenny. Since there have been a lot of threads about liking problematic art and liking art in spite of the creators, I wanted to bring up this show because it perfectly encapsulates those ideas.

For those who haven’t seen the show, Kenny and Spencer (aka “Spenny”) are lifelong friends and opposite personality types. Every week, they are given increasingly ridiculous competitions in which they compete against each other. Kenny always cheats and Spenny is always self-righteous. Competitions range from “Who’s the better chef?” to “Who can touch the most breasts?” These men are both horrible, the show’s tone is just as horrible, and it’s all captivating because it is, as the creators of South Park once said, “the most accurate examination of male friendships that we’ve ever seen.” Sure, it highlights toxic male relationships, but nonetheless.

I have a hard time because I recognize that the show promotes a lot of dangerous ideas. But it’s also an amazing artifact of human culture. In one episode, Kenny convinces Spenny that he has AIDS so that he’ll bomb at a comedy open mic. In an episode about getting laid, Kenny pays a woman to have oral sex with Spenny and then reveals, at the end of the show, that the woman has a penis. Sometimes the show was funny and sometimes it fueled hateful ideas. It was sometimes hard to tell if Kenny was playing the bad boy image or if he was actually just a bigoted narcissist.

So has anyone else seen the show? Does anyone else face problems liking the show in spite of its issues? I’m interested to hear what people thought at the time versus now, or whether or not that matters.


It should be noted that the show was absolutely in “reality show kayfabe.” In the first early test episodes Spenny was the heel and Kenny was the face. (This may seem very obvious, especially as the show got ridiculous as it went on, but I’ve seen a lot of people take it at face value.)

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