This is gonna be a long post, folks - prepare for a novel.
That was a perfectly appropriate ending to the series, if it really is one. I know some people want them to come back for another season, and my feeling on this is, I'm happy either way. Whatever the guys want to do is fine by me. Anyway, they deserve a break. I won't go on and on, heaping endless praise on the actors, writers, producers, directors, etc., etc. I think just the fact that we're all here discussing the show is a testament to all the hard work that they've done. I doubt many of us would be here if we didn't love the show so much. (Even though Jemaine just wanted to make a show but have no one watch it.
At first I was worried that things would get too sentimental and maudlin, and to be honest, I ran out of tears after watching the finale of "Battlestar Galactica". (That sucker drained me dry.) So it's good that they didn't go too far in that direction because I wouldn't have been able to take any more. Having said that, the show did get several pouty-faced "aww"s out of me between the many laughs.
And on that note, the only two shows that I still watch are now both over. I have no more TV to follow. Sure, there's always the news, or the occasional late-night talk show, but nothing I have any investment in. And sure, there's always my massive TV DVD collection, but this is literally the first time in my life that I have nothing new left for me on television. It is a simultaneously sad and freeing moment. Who knew I would ever get this worked up over TV?
The plot also hit really close to home for me on a personal level. Six years ago, I left Ohio, my family and everyone I've ever known to go to California to pursue my big dreams, my cartoons and my writing. I packed up everything I owned into my little station wagon and just went
, without a concrete plan but full of hope and blissful ignorance. I spent three years in California, struggling at a pay-the-bills cashier job, and I spent every minute I wasn't working trying to advance in my career. There were a few times where I came close, meeting fellow cartoonists or pitching my ideas to network execs, but there were also many, many times that I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt like I was playing "Who Likes to Rock the Party" in an empty elevator.
Along the way, I made friends with an eccentric group of people, my co-workers that turned into my second family. Just like the guys had Murray and Mel and Doug and Dave and Greg and Eugene, I had my own assortment of lovable oddballs. But after a while it just got so
hard, financially and emotionally, that I had to give up that life and head back to Ohio. And it took a while to readjust and get to a point where I was back on track personally and with my career, but I'm much better off than I was. I learned a lot from the experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything. And now I have my family, a new batch of friends, and oddly enough I've had far more success career-wise than I ever did out there. Apparently the internet doesn't care if you live in Ohio.
So watching the guys back in New Zealand, looking so happy and free, really got to me. Yeah, so they're just a couple of shepherds again, but they still have that musical spark in them and maybe they'll take their American experience and find a way to make it in New Zealand. Or maybe they'll go back and try again when they're ready. Either way, the ending gave me that little bit of hope that I wanted. If this is how the show ends, then I'm okay with it. If they choose to continue now or "futuractively", I'll be there to see what happens next.
And now for the like/dislike portion of my review. This is only after one viewing so I may have more thoughts after I watch it again. (If it's possible for me to type any more...
)I liked the following things:
[*] The "Stomp"-like opening musical bit was pretty inspired. These guys have talent even without lyrics.
[*] The idea that staging a musical would somehow make everything turn out alright was the ultimate in sitcom silliness, and I loved the realistically terrible results. If the show had suddenly gone all "Brady Bunch" on us I might have chucked my computer (er, TV) out the window.
[*] I had no idea they were going to put "Petrov, Yelyena and Me" into the show. It was a complete surprise and probably one of the most successful song-to-TV translations that they've ever done. Yes, there were some changes from the original, but I think it worked very well in the context of the show. And considering how gruesome the source material is, the way it was performed and directed made it seem goofy instead of gross.
[*] Mel and Doug's separation, and how they treated Bret and Jemaine like their kids. Bret: "I'm 32." Loved that! And I've wanted to say this for a long time - Bret McKenzie has the best pouty face on television. It's adorable and makes me want to hug him. And I'm a guy!
[*] The little "Star Wars" ships were cute. Greg looked so proud of them!
[*] Murray's criticism of Jemaine's acting - "a little bit boring". I wonder if that came from a real-life critic? (Echoing others here, I think Jemaine did look like he wanted to break into laughter a little bit.)
[*] There were so many great bits in the musical so I can't cover them all, but I particularly liked Bret's head stuck in the chair, previously referenced but never seen. Dave as the Statue of Liberty. "Murray" saving the day.
[*] It was nice how Mel rediscovered her love for Doug with his harp (a womanly instrument), and completely ignored the guys for once. If this is how her character ends, I'm okay with it.
[*] I wasn't lying when I said sheep never fail to make me laugh. Especially when they're being used as a musical instrument.
[*] I'm assuming Murray got deported as well because of his involvement, and it was nice to see him join the guys in their music-making at the end.
[*] And finally, I loved the guys' innocence throughout, from the rent situation to being deported.I disliked the following things:
[*] Eugene using his watch calculator to explain the money situation was an awkward bit of staging. Oddly enough, I didn't have a problem with him not noticing the NZ/US dollar issue. As some of you may know, I'm normally nitpicky when it comes to money on TV.
[*] Murray's reasoning for not wanting the guys to stay with him was funny but incredibly creepy. (No wonder he's divorced.) A funnier alternative might have been for them to try it for a night but not have it work out for some other reason, like Shelly returning and making things awkward. Also, didn't they all sleep in a tent together before without a problem?
[*] I immediately recognized "A.J." at the hotel counter, but apparently Jemaine didn't. Was he supposed to be playing a different character?
[*] At the risk of starting this issue up again, they should have just kept the stolen furniture stolen. Since they were getting evicted, it would have been even sadder/funnier since they had nothing left anyway.
[*] Would have been nice to hear about Bret and Jemaine's past as shepherds before this episode. I accepted it but the last-minute backstory was a bit sudden.
[*] And finally, I understand the lack of good-byes due to the very funny *boom* cut to New Zealand, but a little something might have been nice. I guess that's what imaginations are for.
Well, it's been a fun ride. Fortunately it's not all
over. I'm still holding off on listening to the BBC radio show, especially with a director's cut coming, and the upcoming live concert ought to be flippin' sweet. I'm also still busy putting the finishing touches on the FOTC: Second Season video game, so there's still work to be done. And with no more TV to watch, maybe I'll have a little more free time!