The next Office?

A year from now, Americans who know little or nothing about the characters Kath Day-Knight and Kim Craig, of the cult Australian TV comedy Kath & Kim, will find them suddenly unavoidable. The producer behind the U.S. version of The Office recently revealed, somewhat inevitably, that he’s busy re-creating the smash hit for NBC’s fall 2007 lineup, with American actors subbing for the iconic Aussie leads.

A faux reality show about down-market suburban Melbourne mom Kath and her self-absorbed, lay-about adult daughter, Kim, K&K is Absolutely Fabulous minus the fabulous. In advance of the U.S. premiere of a 90-minute made-for-TV Kath & Kim movie on December 24, the Sundance Channel is running episodes from Season 3 (of three so far) throughout the month, starting tonight.

In one episode, Kath attempts to dispense unwanted relationship advice as Kim pretends to be reading the mail: “Kimmy, Kimmy, Kimmy! Look at me please, look at me, look at meeeeeeee,” she brays, drawing out the last me with an over-the-top Australian twang. It’s a high-comic moment loaded with subtext: Attention-starved Kath has been reduced to petulance by her masterfully indifferent daughter.

This show nails the spastic push-pull of family members who are stuck spending a little too much time together — i.e., it’s a perfect show to watch during the holiday season.

“>WATCH a clip from Kath & Kim

“>CHECK showtimes and dates

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The next <i>Office</i>?