HBO // 2007 // 360 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // November 28th, 2007
"I can't really put my emotions into -- into words. So I've decided to use lyrics."
HBO is usually praised for its dramas, like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, but their comedies, such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, don't seem to get the same level of recognition. This needs to change, especially with the arrival of the amazing Flight Of The Conchords. With Curb and Conchords, HBO possesses two of the best programs (not just comedies) on television. For those of you who haven't discovered the show, HBO has released Flight Of The Conchords: The Complete First Season.
The Conchords are Bret (Bret McKenzie) and Jemaine (Jemaine Clement, Eagle vs Shark). They are "New Zealand's 4th Most Popular Folk Parody Duo." The Conchords have come to New York City to make it big, plus they're looking for girlfriends, gigs, money, etc. However, adjusting to life in America is no easy task for the two hapless New Zealanders. Aiding them in their quest for rock-star fame is their inept manager, Murray (Rhys Darby), whose day job is serving as deputy cultural attache at the New Zealand Consulate. Also along for the ride are their obsessive fan (in fact, their only fan) Mel (Kristen Schaal, Norbit) and friend Dave (Arj Barker).
The 12-episode first season is comprised of the following half-hour episodes:
* Episode 1: "Sally"
* Episode 2: "Bret Gives Up The Dream"
* Episode 3: "Mugged"
* Episode 4: "Yoko"
* Episode 5: "Sally Returns"
* Episode 6: "Bowie"
* Episode 7: "Drive By"
* Episode 8: "Girlfriends"
* Episode 9: "What Goes On Tour"
* Episode 10: "New Fans"
* Episode 11: "The Actor"
* Episode 12: "The Third Conchord"
There's no easy way to explain why Flight Of The Conchords is so good. Its premise is a fusion of fish-out-water meets trying to make it in show business, but this isn't what makes the show so compelling and hilarious. How can one describe a series that features the cast breaking into song (actually, music videos) in the middle of (typically absurd) conversations (or, on one occasion, while they're getting mugged)? The only certainty is that to enjoy the show you must pay close attention to the dialogue and, of course, the lyrics.
What else is there to tell? Flight Of The Conchords is hilarious. However, there really isn't any meaningful manner to write about the merits of the show because the format is so unique. It doesn't come across accurately on the printed page. Ultimately, the only option is to watch and judge for yourself. At the end of the day, you'll either "get" it or you won't.
The best that can be done is present some examples that highlight the show's offbeat nature:
From the song "Think About It" (Episode 3):
They're turning kids into slaves
Just to make cheaper sneakers
But what's the real cost?
'Cause the sneakers don't seem that much cheaper
Why are we still paying so much for sneakers
When you got them made by little slave kids?
What are your overheads?
From the song "Bret, You Got It Going On" (Episode 6):
Why can't a heterosexual guy tell a heterosexual guy
That he thinks his booty is fly?
Not all the time, obviously
Just when he's got a problem with his self-esteem.
An exchange from Episode 10:
Jemaine: I was hoping to dress something like Prince.
Dave: Kind of erogenous, huh?
Jemaine: Yeah, but toned a bit, like, Prince if he was just going to the zoo or the supermarket.
Dave: Casual Prince?
Jemaine: Casual Prince.
Every episode contains quotable lines and moments of inspired lunacy, such as the song "Business Time" in Episode 5, Clement's dead-on impersonation of David Bowie in Episode 6, the children's program parody Albi, the Racist Dragon in Episode 7, and Bret's dance of anger in Episode 12. Also, the songs are not just funny, they're catchy, too.
The performances are near-perfect. Everything appears effortless. The comedic timing of McKenzie and Clement is spot on. The two never miss a beat and their naïve characters are instantly likable. The supporting cast is stellar, especially Darby as the clueless and socially inept Murray. Schaal's portrayal of a goofy obsessive fan is also a winner. Barker makes the most of his relatively small role.
The video transfer is top-notch. The picture is bright, clear, and detailed. The Dolby 2.0 audio is similarly excellent. This show is almost entirely based around words and all the dialogue and songs come through.
The one knock against the DVD is the total lack of extras. Not even the duo's appearance on HBO's One Night Stand is included.
There's no way around it: Flight Of The Conchords is the most original new show of the year. It is also one of the funniest shows on television.
Rent this if you haven't yet seen (or heard of) the series.
If you are a fan, well, you've probably already bought Season One.
Not guilty of anything except inducing much laughter.
Review content copyright © 2007 Roy Hrab; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.66:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 360 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site
* Fan Site