The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

'Flight of the Conchords' Lands

3 min read


HBO’s Flight of the Conchords aired its series finale last week, ending a mere two-year run of the hilarious show.
The series gained only minor mainstream success and remained an underrated musical and comedic highlight amid HBO’s original series, despite its rabid cult following.
These fans will be disappointed by the show’s early departure, while the general public remains largely ignorant of the show or the real-life band.  Either way, Flight of the Conchords has taken its final flight.
The series follows the band, a folk duo from New Zealand, from one terrible gig to another in New York City.  The show mostly deals with the culture shock experienced by band members Bret and Jemaine as they make the transition from a being a relatively unknown band in New Zealand to a completely unknown band in New York.
The show also focuses on Murray, the band’s clueless and unsuccessful manager, as well as Mel, the band’s only obsessive fan.
Though the humor is mostly subtle, the topics range from poking fun at David Bowie to relentlessly making fun of Australians, who are to New Zealand what the U.S. is to Canada.  Most of the hilarity stems from Bret and Jemaine’s dry delivery of lines in thick New Zealand accents.  In one memorable episode, Murray, the band’s manager, hands Jemaine a cassette with a backing track on it before quipping, “Be careful with it.  Don’t stand next to any big magnets”
In another episode, Jemaine introduces his new Australian girlfriend to Bret and Murray.  They proceed to mock her in a heavy Australian accent when she says, “My mum says I sound like Marilyn Monroe.”  Murray replies under his breath, “Yeah, if you squint your ears.”
Each episode is a musical comedy in which the storyline is habitually interrupted to showcase a semi-music video of an original song by the band.
In one episode, Bret is feeling depressed after Murray mocks his appearance. Jemaine sings him a song he wrote called “Bret, You Got It Goin’ On” to make him feel better:
“Why can’t a heterosexual guy tell a heterosexual guy that he thinks his booty is fly?/
Not all the time, obviously, just when he’s got a problem with his self esteem/
Don’t let anybody tell you you’re not humpable, because you’re bumpable/
Well, I hope this doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable.”
One of Bret’s lines from the finale perfectly summarized the entirety of the series: it’s the story of a band that “starts at the bottom, continues along the bottom, and ends up at the bottom.”
The show ended with its characters still getting laughs out of the audience, which is ultimately better than dragging on in a Seinfeld or Friends-esque stretch in which the show has overstayed its welcome.
Though the show is over, the real-life band, Flight of the Conchords, is still making music and playing more respectable gigs than their television alter egos are accustomed to playing.
They will be releasing a new album April 15 and are starting a North American tour in April.  The show may have taken its last flight, but the band is still flying.