After a screamingly funny first season, HBO’s musical comedy “Flight of the Conchords” is back for a second go around. After falling in love with the show during its first season, my expectations were through the roof as season 2 began. Sadly, for their new batch of episodes, the boys came out a bit “flat” (Get it? It’s a music joke!)
For those of you unfamiliar with the series (and judging by the “what the hell are you yapping about?” stares I get every time I mention the show to people, that’s a lot of you) it centers around Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie (who play themselves), a novelty music duo from New Zealand, trying to make it big in New York City. Along the way they encounter several obstacles, such as infighting, their inept manager, their psychopathic lone fan and the realization that New Zealanders are “pretty much the most disliked race in this country.”
At the close of Season One, Bret and Jemaine were left at their lowest point, as the FOTC offshoot band “Crazy Dogzzz” were the toast of the musical landscape with their smash hit “Doggy Bounce.” Virtually deserted by their manager Murry (Rhys Darby, who truly could not be funnier), they are left to fend for themselves.
This is where season two picks up and it’s my feeling that this is where my problem with the neophyte episode begins. Feeling almost compelled to continue where season one left off, it’s almost as if their hearts weren’t into the first episode, and it ultimately makes it feel kind of forgettable. Usually with shows you expect them to do a continuation of the previous season, but when a show is as irreverent as this one, I think it could almost be forgiven if they abandoned all their old storylines and just started fresh.
That complaint aside, it usually just comes down to if the show is funny or not. While there are chuckles scattered throughout, and one hilarious bit about Jemaine’s parents involvement in the women’s rights movement, it just doesn’t compare with the hilarity of season one. Side characters like insane fan Mel (Kristen Schall) and their boorish best friend Dave (Arj Barker), who were hilarious in season one, are basically thrown in pointlessly to this episode in what seems like a desperate attempt to just give their characters something to do.
Even the shows musical numbers are a bit flat. Surely the guys who came up with the fantastic “Rhymenoserous vs. Hiphopoptomus” bit could come up with something better than the episodes closer about angels having sex in the clouds.
Though I wasn’t as happy with the first episode as I would have hoped, I am optimistic that the show will recover. It’s not even that the season two kickoff was bad, but when your first season is the best thing to hit TV since season seven of “The Simpsons,” you set the bar pretty high. It’s my hope that the subpar beginning of the second season is just a momentary misstep, and not the beginning of a depressing plunge downward.
The episode is currently streaming for free on hbo.com/conchords. It will air on HBO on Sunday, January 18 at 10 p.m. Season one is available on DVD. It is available at most video rental chains, or, if you were so inclined, you could ask to borrow my copy. Just send an email and say “Clay, may I borrow your ‘Flight of the Conchords’ DVD?” To which I will reply, “No, I don’t lend my personal property to strangers, but thanks for reading.”
• Bad “Flight of the Conchords” is better than 95% of TV
• They’re making new episodes
• Worst episode the show has produced
• Sort of a bad introduction to those new to the program
Series: 9.0/10 (Assuming it picks up, this is the best show on television currently)
Episode: 5/10 (Probably would be higher had my expectations been lower)
Musical Numbers: 3/10 (Pretty weak)
Edit score of “Series” from 9 to 10 by Zac as he believes nothing deserves a ten other than himself. How conceded.