NZ Herald TV review

TV Review: Flight of the Conchords, Welcome to Paradise
September 18, 2007
By Linda Herrick

Wellington boys Jemaine (Clement) and Bret (McKenzie) are all alone in New York, following the time-honoured Kiwi tradition of trying to make it as a band in the Big Apple. Their two-man band is called Flight of the Conchords ... and so is their outstanding HBO series (opened last night, Prime, 10 o'clock) following the trajectory of their struggle for success, and with each other.

Jemaine and Bret are mates - but not when it comes to girls. Last night's show opened with Jemaine musing on his great success with chicks back home. When pressed by Bret, he had to admit all three were sisters but nevertheless, he'd scored triple figures. "Not triple figures," admonished Bret. "Three. You've had three girlfriends."

Even so, Jemaine's aspirations about hot women have risen since being in New York. Dream on. At a party, a cool dude, or trying to be cool, told them to stop hanging around him. He wanted to look lonely, a pick-up tactic. So Jemaine, a sponge of learning, told Bret to stop hanging around him. Bret wandered off and immediately hooked up with a girl. Jemaine's eyes narrowed, then widened as they alighted upon a beautiful girl, "So beautiful," he and Bret sang in a seamless transition, "you could be an air hostess in the 60s".

And so began Jemaine's love affair with Sally, Bret's former girlfriend. This was a problem. As B and J share the same room in a grotty apartment, it wasn't easy to get alone time with Sally, who later dumped Jemaine on the grounds she was drunk when she met him anyway. Heartbroken, Jemaine pleaded he was usually more charismatic than this, and the show ended with the sobbing boys - Bret had missed his mate horribly - singing, I'm Not Crying, "my eyes are just a little sweaty today".

In between, NZ deputy cultural attache Murray Hewitt, their self-important, witless manager, was working on ways to increase their fanbase of one, obsessed stalker Mal.

And Murray's music video for the band's robot song, filmed on his cellphone, is probably not going to crack it at the MTV awards. Flight of the Conchords could. It is superb musi-comedy (I never thought I'd ever write that phrase), very smart, likeable and original. One of the best things on TV.

Conchords, although homegrown, is made in the US, where it has been a hit.

It was preceded by a new truly local series, Welcome to Paradise (Prime, 9.30pm). Hmmm. Directed by Kiwi veteran Geoff Goodbye Pork Pie Murphy, it's set in a Wellington backpackers' lodge called Paradise, and opened in the lobby with desk-Nazi Sasha (Sally Martin) barking orders over the intercom to manager Alex: "Get in here or I'll play Hayley Westenra," the best joke of the night.

Taken from NZ Herald

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