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Falling in Love with “Flight of the Conchords”

Analise Lipari | Monday, September 15, 2008

I recently realized that it’s been over a year since “Flight of the Conchords” first aired on HBO. In my mind, June 17, 2007, will go down as an historic day in the canon of American television, a day when “New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a cappella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo” first hit Stateside airwaves.

They are ridiculous, quirky and wonderful, and I love them. Oh, and you should, too.

It’s unlikely that these 15 months have passed without you, dear reader, at least being semi-aware of songs like “Business Time” or “Jenny.” Plus, the beauty of college often lies in the obscure, pseudo-intellectual, relatively indie things we enjoy on a daily basis. With its cable status, obscure background and wordy lyric style, the show’s underground status with college kids has quickly grown since it first aired.

The tragedy is that the second (and potentially final, if recent interviews with the band are to be believed) season isn’t due to air until 2009. Le sigh.

Before their move to the United States, Brett McKenzie and Jemaine Clement had an eponymous BBC Radio series in 2005. These six episodes, with titles like “Dan & the Panda” and “Neil Finn Saves The Day!” were the precursors to the duo’s future TV fame. In their earliest days, the duo played in the Melbourne Comedy festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, and the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in 2005.

To those of you who are new to “Flight of the Conchords,” I’ve itemized a few of my favorites among their musical library. To those of you who are already fans, let’s watch season one on DVD sometime. Well, if that’s what you’re into.

“Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros:” Bret and Jemaine take on hip-hop with this little ditty, an exchange between the pair’s rap personas – well, at least their rap personas for that particular episode – with sweet rhymes like “They call me the hiphopopotamus/ ‘Cause I got flows that glow like phosphorous/ Poppin’ off the top of this esophagus.”

“Leggy Blonde:” Murray (Rhys Darby), the somewhat self-important manager of “Flight of the Conchords” who runs the band during his menial day job, gets his day in the spotlight with this ode to the leggy blonde in his office. Note the lyric poeticism of lines like, “Leggy leggy leggy leggy/ leggy leggy leggy leggy/ blondey blondey blondey blondey/ blondey blondey blondey blondey.”

“If You’re Into It:” Bret’s invitation to Coco (Tony winner Sutton Foster) to join him in a variety of romantic activities: “It could be a dream come true/ Providing that’s what you’re into.” Jemaine provides some key vocal commentary.

“Foux du Fafa:” Scholars of French might debate the academic merits of lyrics that translate to “Where is the pool?” but viewers can only sing along to the song’s addictive chorus.

“Bret, You’ve Got it Goin On:” Here, Jemaine poses an innocent and universal question of life: “Why can’t a heterosexual guy/ Tell another heterosexual guy that his booty is fly?”

“Albi the Racist Dragon:” Albi, the main character in a fake cartoon that stirs Bret and Jemaine’s inner children, is, in fact, quite racist.

“Sellotape:” Love, according to the duo, is like a roll of tape; “it’s real good for making two things one.” On the other side of the roll of tape, love sometimes “breaks off before you were done.” It’s all about the tape of love – “the sticky stuff.”

Thank Samwise Gamgee that these New Zealanders are in our lives and on our TV screens.