A new half-hour comedy entitled Flight of the Conchords
premiered on HBO Sunday night (June 17th at 10:30 p.m. ET). Although the show is new to HBO, New Zealanders Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement first formed the two-man folk parody group, Flight of the Conchords
, in 1998. Bret and Jemaine star in the HBO show as parodies of themselves, moving to New York from New Zealand to try to make it big.
The first episode is "Sally," named after a girl that Jemaine starts to date after a party, even though she had previously dated Bret for about six months. Awkwardness ensues. The humor is a dry British (though they are New Zealanders) humor, much like the original British version of The Office
. It may not be everyone's "cup of tea," so to speak, due to its subtlety. Even someone like myself, who appreciates and enjoys that type of humor, may feel parts of the episode are a little too mundane; but every time I started to feel that way, either Jemaine or Bret would break into song and then I would be laughing out loud.
For me, the songs and their incorporation into the show were the best parts of the episode. Whereas the humor in a scene's dialog may be tough to catch the first time around, the lyrics of the songs are blatantly ridiculous – as any parody should be. Samples of lyrics include "You're so beautiful, you could be a part-time model"; "We used poisonous gases and we poisoned their asses"; and "I'm not crying – I was just cutting some onions 'cause I'm making a lasagna." Better yet, the song performances aren't cut-aways – they are delivered within the scenes like a music video parody. Bret will be leaning against the wall talking to a girl, turn his head to sing his part, and then resume his conversation. Jemaine walks away from Sally while they are talking to start singing to the camera, and you can see Sally in the background looking a little stunned.
First episodes are always difficult to lay out in a fashion that will inform the viewer of who the characters are and what the premise of the show is, while at the same time giving us a story that will entertain us enough to tune in next week. Coming into the episode raw, with little to no familiarity with Flight of the Conchords
, I walked away from it feeling that they had fulfilled all of those necessary "first episode" elements, without feeling as if they were holding my hand. While it probably would not appeal to a wide general audience, I think it has found a good home for its quirkiness at HBO.
- Amy J. Johnston, BuddyTV Features Writer
(Photo courtesy of HBO)