I'm just as surprised as anyone to be writing about this show.
I was scarcely aware of the existence of Kirby Buckets until just a few weeks ago, and have as yet seen very little of it prior to the recent third season, which caught my attention because of how unusual it has been for broadcast television--the sharp shift of the show in genre and structure (the episodic tween sitcom about an aspiring cartoonist become a 13-episode story of interdimensional hopping, heavy on science fiction parody), and the unique airing schedule (the 13 episodes airing on 13 weekday mornings over three weeks).
Alas, the writing rarely rises above the level of the mildly amusing. In fact, the heavy reliance on gross-out humor reflects a certain laziness in its pursuit of its target demographic. All the same, they do take their arc seriously enough to actually write one, rather than just tease the audience with the prospect--and manage to have some fun with science fiction clichés they evoke. (Of course there's a post-apocalyptic dimension where the characters meet the Mad Max versions of the people they know; here they even come complete with Australian accents.)
Additionally, the cast is a pleasant surprise, accomplishing a lot even when they have just a little, with two members standouts. Suzi Barrett shows some flair for the role of Kirby's mom, getting more than her fair share of laughs. His sister Dawn, generally conforming to the stereotype of the shallow, superficial high school kid/big sister-from-hell, comes off as sympathetic and charming, principally due to the efforts of Olivia Stuck. And of course, improv master, veteran voice actor and "Simlish" cocreator Stephen Kearin's Principal Mitchell is a memorable mass of eccentricities who can (almost) singlehandedly make the hackiest of shows tolerable.
And so it went up to the finale (aired Thursday), which, to the writers' credit, actually wrapped up a storyline, and in the process, offered the sense of a bigger tale ending as Kirby, Mitchell, Dawn and the rest closed one chapter in their lives and began another. However, whether all this will be enough to lead to a fourth season are a different matter. The show, poorly rated to begin with (one reason for the change, I suspect), seems to have had its viewership plunge to abysmal levels--under 200,000 if I read the numbers right, rather worse than the shows Disney XD so recently axed, Lab Rats: Elite Force and Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything. Whether it will survive that will depend, I suppose, on whether viewership picks up in the reruns this weekend (and further airings of the show), the executives feel bothered by the way they are running out of shows--or the creators can sell them on another sharp shift of course. And maybe all of them.
SFTV for the Younger Crowd: A Few Thoughts
Just Out . . . The End of Science Fiction?
The Small-Screen Superhero Boom
Just Out . . . (Star Wars in Context, paperback edition)
Just Out: After the New Wave: Science Fiction Today
Preview Cyberpunk, Steampunk and Wizardry
My Posts on Science Fiction Television
Hulu Streams 5 Mobile Suit Gundam Anime Series
2 hours ago