Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie have certainly come a long way since doing a moderately annoying commercial for Phones4u. Since then, while the quality of Phones4u advert has dropped much further (to the hugely smug and annoying “scary Mary” ones), the Conchords have soared, via a BBC Radio 2 series, to the heady heights of HBO, and a quite brilliant sitcom. So damn good in fact, pop video legend Michel Gondry bagsied himself the director’s chair for an episode in the second series.
The show’s premise sees the duo relocate to New York City, where they strive to peddle their unique brand of Kiwi-tinged novelty folk to the almost-entirely-unimpressed residents of an unidentified New York borough. We say “almost-entirely” due to the rabid affections of their one fan-clash-stalker, Mel, played brilliantly by Kristen Schaal. Throw in Rhys Darby as Murray Hewitt, who acts as the band’s manager alongside his day job as Deputy Cultural Attaché at the New Zealand consulate, and you’ve got an ensemble cast capable of making the most out of the scripts. Handily, the scripts are pretty goshdarned good too, written by the likes of Paul “Larry Sanders” Simms, James “Borat” Bobin (try to ignore his 11 O’Clock Show past), Iain “Inbetweeners” Morris, Damon “Also Inbetweeners” Beesley, Eric “Malcolm In The Middle, Futurama” Kaplan and Taika “Eagle vs Shark” Waititi, alongside the two principal cast members.
The second most endearing thing about “Flight…” was the way the characters seemed, for the most part, blissfully lacking in self-awareness. An entire episode starts with Bret buying a new cup, and ends up with Jemaine getting arrested for prostitution, due to their unique way of dealing with minor problems. Another episode starts with the duo trying to compose a short ditty for an electronic greetings card, and ends with Bret showing his dick to John Hodgman. This, we’re sure you’ll agree, is the stuff of television gold.
The first most endearing thing about “Flight…” however, is the wonderful pop video segments, where the pair step out of character and perform that most difficult of tasks – comedy songs that work on the level of being A Good Song, on the level of Actually Being Funny, and on the level of being a decent little pop promo in each songs’ own right. Excellent stuff.
More very soon. But, if you’re reading this between 20:51 and 21:00 on the 3rd of January, keep tuned for our Live Celebrity Big Brother Blog 2009. If not, erm, scroll up a bit for it.