I’ve just discovered the Flight of the Conchords television show. I know, I know. What took me so long? Well, for one thing I’m too cheap to pay for HBO. Another is that I count on my children to tell me about what’s fun in the entertainment world. By the time they think to clue me in, the coolness of a show is already starting to wear off, so I hope that doesn’t happen to this duo that describes itself as “formerly New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a capella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo.” If so, I’m sorry, guys.
This past week, I’ve tried to make exercise more appealing by only allowing myself to watch the Flight of the Conchords show while on my exercycle or lifting weights. Instead I stop so often to hear and decipher what the guys are singing or saying that I barely break a sweat. Hey, exercising my laugh muscles is better than no exercise at all.
I can understand what drives Mel, the obsessive stalker/groupie, who is the band’s sole fan on the show. Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie are so endearingly odd and weirdly sweet, even their names fall just a bit short. No “r” in Jemaine or extra “t” in Bret. They’re laid-back and unflappable, genial and don’t take themselves too seriously, which seems to be a Kiwi trait. (I could be wrong. I was only there for eight days.)
My daughter gave me the first season to watch when I got home from New Zealand. She knew I’d love it, if only to hear the accents again. West rhyming with East, so that it sounds like “weest.” Eeg for egg and Leeft for left. The universal greeting of “Hey, guys” or just “guys”. We say that, too, but it’s just different.
There’s also the tongue-in-cheek rivalry with the much larger neighbor Australia. (Maybe it isn’t tongue-in-cheek. In New Zealand, I heard an Aussie and a Kiwi cordially discussing their rivalry (big brother and little brother) until the the Kiwi said, “At least my ancestors chose to come here.” The Aussie replied, “Being transported to Australia was the best thing that ever happened to my great-great-great grandfather. He did his time and then prospered.” They both smiled.)
It’s fun to watch clueless Murray, the band manager, who tries to manage the band surreptitiously from his office in the New Zealand consulate in New York City. My daughter and her boyfriend are music business graduates, so they particularly enjoy Murray, played by Rhys Darby. I asked, “Where have I seen Murray before?”
” ‘Yes Man’ with Jim Carrey.” Right, Rhys Darby plays Norman, a clueless bank manager in that movie.
I love Jemaine and Bret’s oddball and brilliant music. I can’t explain it. You’ll just have to watch!
The video below combines the Flight of the Conchords with one of New Zealand’s other passions, “The Lord of the Rings.” The “Business Time” video at the time isn’t suitable for young children…..