How do you feel about folk duos from New Zealand? You’re probably tired of them, right? They are just a dime a dozen and you want something new. Well then, bingeing Flight of the Conchords might not be for you. For everybody else, though, you can binge it thanks to HBO, and since it’s only two seasons you might get it done all in one weekend.
Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie play…Jemaine and Bret. They are fictionalized versions of themselves, continued a premise set forth by their band that existed before the show did. The two New Zealanders do comedy music, but it’s subtle. What’s supposed to be funny is how silly and misguided they are. They’re trying to make good music, but they largely fail, but what the actual Jemaine and Bret are doing is making funny, fun songs. Also, unexpectedly catchy songs.
In the show, Jemaine and Bret are struggling musicians from New Zealand living in New York. They are managed by Murray, played by Rhys Darby, and they have seemingly one fan, the obsessed Mel, played by Kristen Schaal in pre-fame days. Flight of the Conchords is absurd, but quietly. The comedy is often subtle. Jemaine and Bret don’t really ever raise their voices. It’s a bunch of deadpan jokes, but oh man do most of the jokes hit.
The first season of Fight of the Conchords is fantastic. In addition to the funny songs, the show is just funny. Even if Jemaine and Bret didn’t do their comedy bits, the show would be hilarious. All the main cast is excellent. I wasn’t familiar with really anybody from the show prior to watching it, but everybody is perfectly cast and knock it out of the park. The second season is still quite good, but was probably a bit of a strain. The first season relied on previously existing songs. For the second season, they had to write new songs, while also writing new TV scripts. That hurt the comedy, and the songs, a bit, but I still definitely recommend watching the second, and final season. Like I said, writing all those songs were a drain, and they didn’t think they could do it for a third season. They were probably right.
Of course, that means we get to enjoy two seasons of Flight of the Conchords unspoiled by creative drain. When it isn’t business time, it’s time to watch two Kiwis try and take flight.