Will the Conchords offend Australia?

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halokiti
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Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby halokiti » Thu May 07, 2009 4:08 am

I found this amusing, link
Australians like to name their women after men, revel in their convict past, and do not mind a cup of tea brewed in hot tap water.

Well, in the world according to New Zealand's blockbuster comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords, anyway.
The quirky pair have gone to town on Australians in their second series, so far watched by millions in the US and hundreds of thousands in New Zealand.

Now Australians will get their chance, with SBS confirming it has bought season two and plans to screen it later this year.

But New Zealand film and cultural specialists are light-heartedly nervous about what Aussies will make of it.

"They'll be shocked, I'm sure, because every stereotype they've ever heard about themselves is there, as plain as day," said Misha Kavka, a senior media lecturer at the University of Auckland.

The series, bankrolled by American TV giant HBO, continues with Jemaine Clement and Bret MacKenzie role-playing two bumbling, down-and-out New Zealand musicians struggling to make it as a novelty folk band in New York.

Enter an intriguing Australian character who conforms to every stereotype ever thrown at an Australian, much to the delight of New Zealand and American audiences.

Shy and awkward Jemaine picks up a woman at a nightclub and goes back to her place only to discover in the morning that she is, shock horror, an Australian.

Keitha - yes, apparently she's named after her father - is a rough Aussie broad with slobbish habits, a family heritage steeped in crime, and an accent so thick not even the New Zealanders in the cast can understand her.

Jemaine realises the mistake he's made on waking in a room covered in posters of a koala, Uluru and Men at Work, not to mention the Foster's empties and Australian flag doona cover.

Keitha, played by actress Sarah Wynter, produces lines like "I've got a tongue like a badger's arsehole" and exclaims that she'd rather "root" than talk.

Jemaine is hopeful she might not really be an Australian, but she proudly assures him: "Mate, you couldn't get more Australian than me."

"My great-great-grandfather was a renown rapist," she says, adding that her great-great grandmother was a prostitute, while her mother was, you guessed it, a panel beater.

Australian social history specialist Professor Peter Hempenstall, of the University of Newcastle, said it was clear the script writers had delighted in the cultural stereotypes, with Australians coming off second best.

"It's all there, the convict stuff and the stereotype of the loud, raw, assertive, sexually-aggressive women," Professor Hempenstall said.

"It's almost as though the New Zealanders have adopted the high moral ground here."

But Dr Kavka said this wasn't the Kiwis taking a swipe. Written for the US market, Conchords was a Kiwi take on what Americans know about the world Down Under.

"You have to remember it's actually a bit of a compliment to Australians," she said.

"At least Americans know something about Australia, even if it is about their convict past. They know zilch about New Zealand."

But she said New Zealanders do take "a little bit of pleasure" in precisely how reductive the Australian depiction is.

"I'm not surprised it's been such a hit (in New Zealand), and I'm sure the Australians, with their good sense of humour, will enjoy it too."

"After all, it's very, very funny."

Americans, for their part, have definitely got the joke about trans-Tasman rivalry and they're playing along.

Asked about it in a recent interview, Clement said: "We can only judge it by the MySpace comments and Americans will go `we love you guys, Australia sucks!'."

kellysouthpaw

Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby kellysouthpaw » Thu May 07, 2009 4:14 am

Aw man - I sure hope this doesn't stir up a NZ - Australian war or something :roll2:

I think it comes off as all in good fun. Though, not being from NZ or Australia I am the outsider looking in on their rivalry. Obviously I find it hilarious because I'm not on either side of their proverbial fence (though, since I fancy those NZ men I would say I like to feel I'm on their side of the fence).

Honestly, Unnatural Love is my favorite FOTC episode ever. I STILL watch it, 30 or 40 views later and laugh myself silly.

So, I'm hoping the Aussies don't get offended :)

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halokiti
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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby halokiti » Thu May 07, 2009 4:55 am

I would compare it to US/Canada rivalry. I learned a lot more Aussie stereotypes from this show.

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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby Oaky » Thu May 07, 2009 10:19 am

LOL I'm Aussie and it was friggin hilarious!

Such an untrue portrayal, it's completely wrong - although the thought of a New Zealander getting something wrong is SO hard to imagine *cough*.
Us Australian's will just let them get on with their sheep-shagging life where they stuggle to say "sux fush end chups" on a daily basis :P

And go Keitha, never heard half of those sayings in my life!
"What are you doing in here?!"
"Fixing the shower..."
"It wasn't broken!"
"Well, I'm sorry; I broke it... I'm sorry."


Just another Eugene moment :P

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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby ASmallTurnip » Thu May 07, 2009 12:10 pm

Ixictly, Oaky! A very dear friend of mine is an Aussie from Cairns, and she absolutely ADORES the Conchords. And I know, one person's opinion does not make proof, or even a sample of proof, but all the same. Nobody except someone who was actively looking to be offended would take umbrage at the shameless digs the boys make at Oz. The whole Kiwi xenophobia gag is predicated on the fact that it's so over-the-top, and so overwhelmingly silly. If those stereotypes were actually true, the joke wouldn't work. At all. It is HILARIOUS that Australians have become the evil villains, the boogeymen of the Conchords' world precisely because Aussies are so relentlessly normal and non-pathological. It's like being terrified of a goldfish: the joke is entirely on the boys themselves. :D

Thanks for posting Kiti! Loved it!

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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby helgecko » Thu May 07, 2009 12:51 pm

I don't think I need to say again how much I adore this episode :lol:
Anyone who took actual offense to it would be someone who didn't have a sense of humour in the first place :roll:

good to know sbs will be screening it though :D
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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby LauraK » Thu May 07, 2009 3:51 pm

Yup...this episode had it all! And I doubt the Aussies will be offended when they see it. How could they not laugh?? Keitha is such an over-the-top stereotype. LD
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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby dagmar » Thu May 07, 2009 5:55 pm

ASmallTurnip wrote:It is HILARIOUS that Australians have become the evil villains, the boogeymen of the Conchords' world precisely because Aussies are so relentlessly normal and non-pathological. It's like being terrified of a goldfish: the joke is entirely on the boys themselves. :D

Very well put, Turnip! I guess that's the thing I love the most about Conchords: instead of relying cynically on tiresome stereotypes, trying to make us laugh at easy targets - like far too many comedians do - they proceed to subvert those stereotypes and turn the joke on themselves.

Keitha is by far my favourite girlfriend in the series. I mean, Coco is impossibly nice, but Keitha with her Foster's empties and her mom's tea recipe is absurdly hilarious!
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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby Corrine » Thu May 07, 2009 8:41 pm

It's good to know that Aussies are not offended by Keitha. The first time I saw that, I thought, "oh my gosh, I wonder what Australian women would think about that." But, I think it is pretty clear it is all in good fun. As an American, it is interesting to see the Aus/NZ rivalry, as I never really thought about it before. I love Keitha's apartment. The funniest thing I think is the barbecue inside the apartment with the big burn stain on the wall. Somebody had a lot of fun decorating that set.

By the way, I came across this funny clip with Australians making fun of New Zealand. If you haven't seen it take a look..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JARkLg_l ... re=related
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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby Sherry » Thu May 07, 2009 9:07 pm

Hubby is an Aussie and doesn't give two hoots about how they are portrayed in the show.

TBH there is a long standing good natures rivalry going back years. Much like the English and the French/Scots/Welsh/Irish or the Dutch and Belgians. It exists everywhere. A bit of fun with it isn't going to mean a breaking down in public relations :lol:

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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby ravenhpltc24 » Mon May 11, 2009 8:41 pm

Corrine wrote:It's good to know that Aussies are not offended by Keitha. The first time I saw that, I thought, "oh my gosh, I wonder what Australian women would think about that." But, I think it is pretty clear it is all in good fun. As an American, it is interesting to see the Aus/NZ rivalry, as I never really thought about it before. I love Keitha's apartment. The funniest thing I think is the barbecue inside the apartment with the big burn stain on the wall. Somebody had a lot of fun decorating that set.

By the way, I came across this funny clip with Australians making fun of New Zealand. If you haven't seen it take a look..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JARkLg_l ... re=related


That was hilarious, Corrine! Honestly, I don't see how Australians could be offended by this show. It's meant to be funny (and succeeds), and it usually just makes the Kiwis seem more pathetic. Keitha was a great character.
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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby LauraK » Tue May 12, 2009 3:42 pm

Oh man....I was seriously laughing my a$$ off over those- especially the second one! "100% there for the taking." "100% too easy." :lol:

Thanks, Corrine!
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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby LauraK » Wed May 13, 2009 2:55 am

If this doesn't get you to visit NZ, I don't know what will!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxgQ27RD ... re=related

:lol:
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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby Bad Atom » Wed May 20, 2009 3:40 am

Anyone offended by the Australian stereotypes should take notice that the New Zealanders in the show don't come off much better. Just look at their Prime Minister...
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Re: Will the Conchords offend Australia?

Postby Gojoe » Wed May 20, 2009 4:47 am

LauraK wrote:If this doesn't get you to visit NZ, I don't know what will!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxgQ27RD ... re=related

:lol:
I like how the chick at the end sounds like an Aussie. lol
Also the NZ aussie rivalry is all in good fun... until it comes to sport. NZ is just better at all sports compared to Aussie.
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