Not only have Flight of the Conchords officially landed, they’ve made quite the imprint on recent pop culture. The musically comedic duo has brought their unique style of self-deprecating humor all the way from New Zealand over to the states. They’ve had a successful half-hour HBO comedy special, which ultimately led to two full seasons of their own television series on the same network. They’ve won a Grammy and are continuing to watch their careers skyrocket, including an appearance on the upcoming season of The Simpsons (which is a sure sign that you’ve made it). On top of all that, they have recently released Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Collection on DVD. Hit the jump to check out my full review of this mutli-disc DVD set:
Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Collection includes both seasons one and two of the HBO series, as well as a copy of their HBO stand up special. The series itself finds the Conchords, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, as they attempt to comfortably transition to life in New York City in pursuit of success as musicians. Of course, they fail. The duo label themselves as “New Zealand’s 4th Most Popular Folk Parody Duo”, which ultimately translates into them being awkward and out of place with only a small collection of friends to help them along the way. The show is the awkward distant cousin of Entourage and shows the hilarity that ensues when things don’t actually go the way you plan….ever.
The show is a tribute to comedy, but it’s also a tribute to the history of music and the musical itself. The Conchords spontaneously break out into song on a regular basis, performing in styles that range from rap, to Marvin Gaye, to David Bowie, to 80s synth-rock, to Simon & Garfunkel. Seeing as how the duo have a difficult time conveying their feelings through their typical monotonous banter, they turn to their music as a comedic inner monologue that support the plot of each episode. Highlights include, “The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)”, “Bowie”, Too Many Dicks (On the Dance Floor)”, and “Friends”. The show is also a social satire, often poking fun at our culture, as well as foreign cultures. The duo experience prejudice on a regular basis for being New Zealanders, while they themselves, have their own hatred for Australians,
Throughout their pursuit of stardom, The Conchords are supported by a “special” collection of people. They have their hopelessly devoted band manager, Murray (brilliant played by Rhys Darby); their one and only overly-obsessed fan, Mel (another brilliant performance by The Daily Show’s Kristen Schaal); and their “go-to” for advice on women and local pawn shop owner, Dave (Arj Barker).
On top of the talented cast, the show comes chock full of amazing guest appearances and cameos, including Patton Oswalt (as an Elton John impersonator, mind you), Jim Gaffigan, Aziz Ansari, Will Forte, Demetri Martin, and Kristen Wiig. With this wacky group and their hilarious banter, it doesn’t take very long for you to become hooked on the show. Some of the best television comedies involve recurring characters, props, and subtly make reference to plot lines from prior episodes. The Flight of the Conchords is right up there with shows like Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The Simpsons in this vein. Objects like Bret’s bicycle helmet (made to look like a head of human hair) and Jemaine’s camera-phone (which is just a camera glued to the back of his cell phone) make frequent appearances that only loyal viewers will notice.
The DVD set also comes full of extras that are worth checking out, including deleted scenes, outtakes, and some specials focusing on supporting characters, Murray and Dave. The behind-the-scenes short documentary Flight of the Conchords: On Air shows you what happens when two lazy musicians get their own television series and suddenly have to work their asses off. Like the show itself, life behind the scenes is a comedic mess. If you haven’t had enough yet, you can pop in the standup special, but by the time you’ve watched the entire series, seeing the songs performed live just isn’t as spectacular.
The Flight of the Conchords only had two seasons because as Clement revealed, the show just took up too much time. These guys are in high demand now, but the fact that the show was short-lived is what makes it so enjoyable. It never had the chance to get old, stale, or jump the shark. The Flight of the Conchords is a series I plan to revisit on a regular basis and I’m sure once you check it out, you’ll do the same.