At the beginning of the week I bought Flight of the Conchords series one on DVD (although, I wonder what other platform there could be nowadays?). It was reduced fairly significantly in price and I was taken with the idea of owning a slice of New Zealand’s third most popular indie-folk-parody duo.
Basically, if you don’t know what Flight of the Conchords is, it’s basically a comedy about two New Zealanders (Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, playing themselves) who’ve moved to New York. They are FOTC. They have a lone fan, Mel (a brilliantly creepy Kristen Schaal) and are managed by Murray, a member of the New Zealand consulate (a very believable and hilarious performance from Rhys Darby, who can also be seen in, shudder, The Boat That Rocked). Bret and Jemaine live in a small three-roomed apartment which is barely furnished, and they play gigs during the daytime at places like the aquarium. So, their musical career isn’t exactly taking off. They struggle to pay the rent. Girls aren’t that attracted to them. And that’s about it.
The charm of the show is really the fact that somehow it feels very fly-on-the-wall. The scenarios played out are oddly realistic and believable, even though some of the lines are absolutely hilarious (my favourite is when Murray says: “I don’t believe it. I give them maps, New York t-shirts and hats and tell them to stay away from busy streets and go down dark alleys. And yet every day a New Zealander is mugged!”) The hapless duo fight a constant, somewhat futile battle to keep their dreams alive in the big apple and we feel like observers on their situation.
Of course, they do perform songs – the amazing thing is that when they burst out into tunes (twice an episode), as comedy songs they’re hilarious! “The Humans Are Dead” and “Business Time” both give a masterclass in what a comedy song should be – funny! Ironically, the best thing about the series is the songs (no offence to the storyline, of course) and yet in the show they’re pretty much penniless.
I just thought I’d share with you how much I love this slightly off-the-wall show, and I’ll finish up by posting my favourite song of theirs. It’s a send-up of the Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls”, complete with toe-curlingly funny references and lyrics: