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"FoTC": Good News, Bad News
2007-09-11 13:24
by Mark T.R. Donohue

The good news is that "Flight of the Conchords" has been picked up for another season, and apparently the show's cultural penetration has, out of left field, positioned it as the new HBO buzz show that "John from Cincinnati," "Rome," and "Big Love" all failed to become. San Francisco Chronicle critic Tim Goodman writes of being mobbed on the streets of Rockridge when he goes out wearing his promo-only FoTC T-shirt.

The bad news is that based on the last two episodes of the show's first season, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie might be out of songs. The season finale, "The Third Conchord," curiously tried to draw most of its laughs out of unfunny guest performers Toddy Barry and Demetri Martin and didn't have a single musical number apart from a rather unimaginative instrumental homage to the Rocky theme. Then it threw in an arbitrary "twist ending," a la "Lost," that suggested the next season will have a completely different setup. Good idea if there wasn't going to be a second season, which the Conchords and director James Bobin may well have believed at the time they shot the finale, but I hope for their sake that Murray somehow loses his fortune and is back working in the New Zealand consulate by the time of the second-season premiere.

It takes a lot of time to write good songs. Most of the tunes used in the first season have been around for several years, as those who have tracked down old Flight of the Conchords material on YouTube and file-sharing services can attest. In a lot of cases, Clement and McKenzie had literally hundreds of live performances to draw upon when picking the funniest ad libs and asides for the "definitive" television versions of their songs.

Whether the second season of "Flight of the Conchords" will be as deliciously loopy and lovable as the first depends, ironically, on whether the duo is more serious about being a band or TV stars. If Bret and Jemaine take as much time as they need to write a second season's worth of songs (which when you think about it is really two or three album's worth of recorded material, something that takes your average big-time rock band up to or more than ten years to complete) and tour behind their new material, then things will be fine. But if they rush into it and make more episodes like "The Third Conchord" that try and rely on their spoken comedy alone, the show could fall off the cliff faster than "Twin Peaks."

I don't want to see that happen. I haven't seen a TV show that made me instantly as happy as "Flight of the Conchords" the first time through since the first season of "Arrested Development." "AD" never topped its first season, mostly due to the fact that Fox kept chopping down its episode orders, but it remained funny and went out on a high note. I wish I could say that I had higher hopes than that for "Flight of the Conchords," but all of my past history with TV shows and rock music suggests a wait-and-see approach.

2007-09-11 14:52:49
1.   mintxcore
I personally thought "The Third Conchord" was one of the better episodes of the season. I think the show is super funny just as a weird sitcom, and while the songs are wonderful, I don't think they are required to make a funny episode.

I'm sure season two will have like ONE line that will reference back to Murrays success, but overall, this is the type of show (essentially, a classic "sitcom") where there isn't much continuity. ANd that's why I like it, it's just a simple, funny, good show.

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