Tag Archives: Jermaine

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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Season Premiere: Flight of the Conchords – “A Good Opportunity”

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“A Good Opportunity”

Season 2 Premiere

Over the summer, I finally got around to watching the first season of Flight of the Conchords, HBO’s wonderfully offbeat and hilarious comedy series from New Zealanders Bret and Jermaine. The first season, using songs from their great back catalogue of hits combined with new songs to stretch out the plot of each episode, was a triumph of comedy, and the very small but very alive world they created makes for the perfect antidote to the testosterone-laden comedies that more recently have dominated the pay cablers.

The second season won’t premiere on HBO until January, but U.S. viewers (and resourceful international folks) are able to catch the full episode on FunnyorDie.com. What you’ll find is the first episode where the Conchords are flying without a net: out of original material from the pre-television era, the second season is already confirmed as their last, the creative output necessary proving as taxing as you might imagine. Even the second season, though, feels different: once the backbone of the show, the music here felt by comparison to be either entirely unrelated or simply perfunctory.

This isn’t a total slight of the premiere, but rather an observation that it is changing: after spending a season developing a show that could support their music, they are now transitioning to music that can support their show. For that reason, unmemorable songs isn’t so much a concern as it is the show’s new reality: in terms of the quest of the Conchords to succeed in the music industry, with their bumbling manager Murray and their one fan Mel, the show has become about plot, specifically how the band more or less lost both of those things in the first season finale.

“A Good Opportunity” is not destined to be a classic, and doesn’t answer every question about how the show will manage a second season creatively, but the machinations of the episode are done in good form and, ultimately, add up to a welcome return for the winners of the Grammy Award for Best New Zealand Artist – or, more accurately, a pencil sharpener spray-painted gold.

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