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Last Night with Conan O’Brien: Goodbye to the Tonight Show

I’m sorry, Conan.

I didn’t watch your Tonight Show. At 11:35, I’m more likely to be writing about television than watching it, and for that I truly have to apologize. I was part of the problem, part of the group of people who celebrated Conan O’Brien’s rise to the Tonight Show but who never bothered to keep tuning in. I watched a few episodes early on, and enjoyed the feeling of pride that “my” host pushing out Jay Leno, but then when push came to shove I was content with knowing Conan was there.

I know it’s not my fault: even if Conan’s ratings had been incrementally better, chances are that NBC still would have made the decision to push his show back, and this whole mess would still be happening. And considering that Conan is walking away with an enormous severance package and will likely be back on our televisions within a year, it’s not as if the man himself is truly losing his job and left without a chance of success.

But there is something tragic about seeing someone robbed of doing what he loved, and robbed of doing it on the stage he always dreamed of. He left this job because he felt as if NBC was disrespecting its legacy, and like the consummate professional he is Conan showed an enormous amount of respect for both the Tonight Show’s legacy and his time at NBC in the midst of his final goodbye to the network and the show he feels he is leaving a decade too early. While no one is crying for Coco, considering the severance he received, I don’t think any of us can deny him the right to cry: his tears felt genuine, a love letter to the people who brought him to where he is and a final curtain to a run at NBC that took him from comedy writer to national sensation.

His final episode (and mine) of The Tonight Show was one hundred percent Conan, one hundred percent heartfelt, and hopefully just a small percentage of what’s to come.

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Flight of the Conchords – “The New Cup”

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“The New Cup”

January 25th, 2009

It’s been a while since I visited Flight of the Conchords’ sophomore season, having reviewed last week’s premiere back in December when it was streaming online, but I have to say that I think “New Cup” is perhaps a slight improvement on some fronts and a bit of a step back in others.

The show is, largely, back to its old self in most ways here: the Murray/band dynamic is as inspired as ever, and their seasons crackle here. The problem is that the rest of the plot doesn’t, so much: comparatively, the dialogue seems forced and tired, and the prostitution storyline felt off for me. This is a bit of a shift, though, because I found the songs superior to that in the premiere, more tied to the action; it’s just unfortunate, then, that they were tied to the part of the episode that felt the most sitcom-esque and lacked what I view as the fundamentals of the show’s usual charm.

The basics are all here, don’t get me wrong: what other show can spin off of a new cup and suddenly spiral into prostitution, lewd rap songs about genitalia, and a ripoff of Roxanne? The show is still great at showing how the mundane can be exciting, but this felt a bit too exciting for its own good by a certain point.

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