Plight of the Conchords

Conchords news, chit chat, waffle and conversation. Also convo about Bret and Jemaine in Conchords mode
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Plight of the Conchords

Postby Sherry » Tue May 05, 2009 9:46 pm


I finished watching season two of Flight of the Conchords the other week. It looks like they've wrapped it up - all the talk had been that the show would not continue on for too long and that two seasons would be it.


The group Flight of the Conchords is very talented, it would be disingenuous to say otherwise and they have had success overseas too - to many that is the important reason to like them!

Jemaine Clement has moved in to some movie acting roles. Bret McKenzie was in The Black Seeds, he made a pretty cool solo album under the name Video Kid and he turned a bit-part in The Lord of the Rings in to a cult-hit.

So both of the Conchords are talented and have other avenues to head in, head towards or head back to. And of course they can carry on touring and recording as the band Flight of the Conchords without having to have the TV show Flight of the Conchords.

But I am pleased it looks like there'll be no more television episodes because the joke really was wearing thin.

At times I thought season two had really stepped up a gear, the comedy seemed sharper and certainly it played to the strengths by utilising Arj Barker and Kristen Schaal - and of course Rhys Darby as "Murray".

It was nice to see the supporting characters and bit-parts receive lines in songs and help to move the basic premise on, but at times it really felt like this was also to cover for some sub-standard material; particularly the songs.

Musical comedy is tough. What is funny today won't be funny for long. Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie was probably side-splitting 40 years ago (I laughed when I first heard it about 20 years ago) but I doubt I could make it past the second chorus these days (could you?) And how does a talented song parodist like "Weird Al" Yankovic fare these days when the likes of Eminem is already sending himself - and the wider genre - up with his latest releases.

Every album of Em's features that comical first single and the too-pleased-with-itself video to go with must be hard making it in the world of musical comedy.

And that is why I think FOTC has done so well; they have made it. And New Zealanders seem to also love the damn the man attitude that Clement and McKenzie had when TVNZ rejected them; when they built their name through hard slog and dedication to the cause and concept.

The truth is TVNZ rejecting them - and/or missing the window - was the best thing that happened to Flight of the Conchords/Flight of the Conchords.

The show, if produced locally, would have been a turkey. Not through the fault of McKenzie and Clement but through our own inabilities/insecurities to really give homegrown stuff the tick until it's seen to be doing well (or at least recognised) on some version of the world stage - and because TVNZ makes generally terrible television; especially locally produced comedy.

Arj Barker and Kristen Schaal are gold for the FOTC show. And there were some great cameos from comedians like Todd Barry too. What would we have here, Dai Henwood being "whacky" and an interchangeable local female comedian referring to her genetalia a lot?

There was one episode in season two of Flight of the Conchords where I didn't laugh at all. Not a chuckle, not a hint of a smile - and check out my profile pic, I like a good laugh! - and it was then that I was pleased to see that hopefully the Conchord brand would be saddling up and heading out on the ole dusty trail away from TV-land.

I liked the show. Mostly. Don't get me wrong. But it started to feel like the same joke over and over - and I know that the concept suggested that in many ways, as an overriding conceit, but it really started to seem thin-wallpaper thin. Yeah, that thin. And the songs. I come back to the songs. They didn't cut it. They weren't as good. The parodies were aimless and groundless, the hooks weren't there; it felt like the tunes were being written by committee - and so much of season one was based around songs that were close to a decade old.

They wrote the scenes to suit the songs, this time around it seemed like songs were being written to fit the scenes. But that's not actually the case, not always, anyway. Because, Conchords fans, if they go back to the Folk The World CD (released long before The Distant Future (EP) and the self-titled full length album) will spot a track called Petrov, Yelyena And Me. It's there from gigs recorded in 2002; but it's also there - in a version - on the final episode of season two of the TV show.

Anyway, mostly, it seemed like the songs were not as strong in season two. And whilst Flight Of The Conchords and Flight Of The Conchords was always as much about the comedy as the music you can't really have musical-comedy without good songs....unless you want to become Mrs Peacock.

My favourite Flight Of The Conchords-related product was the BBC Radio Series on CD. Brilliant. Still rate that higher than the TV show. And I still think the duo, in the live format, in the live forum, is better than listening to studio songs (which are not that funny after a couple of listens). I found the self-titled album rather boring.

So, I wonder what they'll do next. Will they keep going without making TV?

And what do you think about Flight Of The Conchords? Best New Zealand comedy since Fred Dagg and Billy T. James? Not even close? Miles ahead? Or a second-rate Mrs Peacock?

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Re: Plight of the Conchords

Postby tvldiva » Tue May 05, 2009 10:20 pm

I don't agree 100% with you but pretty darn close. I would be a liar if some small part of me would love it that they continue on, the reality is that the story has played out. They would just be jumping the shark if they went any longer on TV.

The tv show was loads of fun but I still think they do their best work on stage. Of course, even this seems to be played out. Not much more you can do here. To do comedy in arenas would just be ludicris and, not to mention, flat out greedy.

I'm actually looking forward to seeing what they do next, as individuals.
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Re: Plight of the Conchords

Postby ASmallTurnip » Tue May 05, 2009 10:33 pm

Just to make it absolutely clear, this is not Sherry's opinion. It's a piece by Simon Sweetman, a Wellington-based music journalist and blogger who is notorious for his pompous bile and tiresome dislike of just about everything that isn't Eric Clapton or Morrissey. I find him extremely wearing.

I don't agree with much of anything he says, and that goes for this piece, too. But it's par for the course with Sweetman.

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Re: Plight of the Conchords

Postby Sherry » Tue May 05, 2009 10:44 pm

I kind of agree about not wanting or needing a S3. But thats just my personal preference. I want to see other no Conchords stuff from them :) Not really for the reasons the writer gave. But then I guess I also don't want them to outstay their welcome and the TV show to suffer.

I also would love another tour, with a new set. A long held wish. And a live DVD recorded in front of their home crowd back in Welly.

I've actually enjoyed S2 more than S1 however. I just could not get into S1 but this time round I was much more relaxed about it. However, I do still love the BBC radio series above the TV show.

As for everything else, I don't have time to type it :P

And yes, I quoted the source of the article at the top and put the header in the post subject line. Defo not my words :lol:

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Re: Plight of the Conchords

Postby LauraK » Tue May 05, 2009 11:35 pm

I also hope the show is over, it ended perfectly. I'd love to see them do more both together and separately....whatever makes them happy will probably make us happy. Everyone does better when they do what they want, rather than what they think others would like.

Sherry wrote:I also would love another tour, with a new set. A long held wish. And a live DVD recorded in front of their home crowd back in Welly.

That'd be great. :)

I know I'm enjoying the heck out of the BBC radio show so far and see that this is what the show was based upon in the first place. I didn't know that. (There's a lot I didn't know!) I can't compare yet but I so love the show- both seasons. I have to disagree with Sweetman about S2's songs being weaker. Just mo.
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Re: Plight of the Conchords

Postby vmh » Wed May 06, 2009 3:31 am

After the last episode of the season finale, I was a bit torn up. I thought, "What am I going to do without my weekly FOTC fix?" Sunday nights will never be the same. I wish I was introduced to Flight of the Conchords pre-HBO series. But I discovered them a little late and Season 2 went by so quickly.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's best just to end the show with Season 2. I think of it as just another completed project. They did a fantastic job with wrapping the series. They're both very talented and I would love to see what they will continue to do as individuals, whether it be comedy, film, music, other creative outlets. But I hope this isn't the last of them as a duo. Earlier this year, I was afraid this might be the last time they tour together for awhile. So another FOTC tour would be fantastic! But they really deserve a break.

If they did end up making Season 3, I would watch it of course and support it just as I did with the other seasons.

Gotta run. More thoughts on this later.
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Re: Plight of the Conchords

Postby Corrine » Wed May 06, 2009 4:21 am

I haven't finished watching season 2 yet (still catching the reruns), so I might have a different opinion after watching it. In any case, I was just thinking that if they were running out of material as an unsuccessful band in NYC, they could always make season 3 about becoming a successful band, as I'm sure they could come up with lots of jokes about that too! Anyway, I'm sure they are tired and want to move on to other things. I just wish I had discovered them earlier, as I've only really followed their existence for the past few weeks. One thing I have noticed is that the songs do get old after a while (although I do occasionally chuckle about things I've heard 10 times.) I just recently (within the last couple days) heard the song "Stana", and find myself watching it over and over again because it is new to me, and it's still funny. So, I think what that means is that I'd really like to hear new songs. Although I love the series, and wish it would go on for many seasons, I really do think they are in their best element with just a couple of guitars on stage. Anyway, whatever they end up doing, I'm sure it will be successful, and I look forward to whatever it is. I just hope they're not too tired to disappear completely.

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Re: Plight of the Conchords

Postby biscuit » Wed May 06, 2009 1:08 pm

His verdict over S2 seems a bit harsh but I do agree with some of the things he's writing. It probably wouldn't have been as funny set in NZ because the culture crash concept worked really well both in the UK based radio series and in the American TV show. I don't think the songs were all that bad though. I actually tire of the funniest songs and then end up listening to the ones that I didn't find that funny to begin with simply because they are great little songs. My faves used to be Business Time and Jenny because they were hilarious, the first 50 times. Now I'd rather listen to Hotties and Busdriver's Song :) I want to see them do more stuff and I don't for a minute, or a second, doubt that they have what it takes to come up with new stuff that's even funnier and music that's even better.

(t seems to me that Kiwis might have a touch of the rather depressing European spirit of not really liking it when someone from you own country makes it big. There's sort of a mix of pride and annoyance... As an outside observer Americans always seem much more enthusiastic about their fellow countrymen's successes than is the case at least in Northern Europe.)

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Re: Plight of the Conchords

Postby The Talking Stove » Wed May 06, 2009 6:58 pm

I understand why people might not want to see a S3. But I trust B&J to make it work if it goes ahead. I'm sure they wouldn't let it get boring, or skimp on the huge amount of effort they obviously put into it.

I love the radio series too, but I'm always wary of anyone playing the "oh I liked their old stuff more" superiority card...I'm sure its genuine in a lot of cases but...

And this is the bit I don't get from the chap's articles:

The parodies were aimless and groundless, the hooks weren't there; it felt like the tunes were being written by committee

Aimless parodies? Sugar Lumps nailed that silly "Milkshake" style of RnB song, "...Prostitute" was a dead on Police parody, "Demon Woman" got that kinda slightly naff 60s Cliff Richard thing down - just to pick 3. What more of an aim or a ground does this fella want?

Seems like an aimless and groundless criticism to me...see what I did there? Eh? Eh? :D Eh?
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Re: Plight of the Conchords

Postby SheWolf » Wed May 06, 2009 7:08 pm

The Talking Stove wrote:I understand why people might not want to see a S3. But I trust B&J to make it work if it goes ahead. I'm sure they wouldn't let it get boring, or skimp on the huge amount of effort they obviously put into it.
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