Monday, July 2, 2007

Episode 3: Mugged

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Through three episodes, we've seen Jemaine forsake Bret for a girl, Jemaine not say a word as Bret gets kicked out of the band and Bret abandon Jemaine while being chased by muggers.

These guys are in serious need of some relationship counseling.

Episode 3 made us laugh out loud several times. We see the boys on the mean streets of NYC where they basically show us that they're big wussies. Of course, we probably would have been right behind them running away from the muggers.

The show also gives us our first Sopranos tie-in with the guest appearance of Lenny Venito, who plays a mugger. Venito had a reoccurring role on Sopranos as one of Christopher Moltisanto's buddies from AA.

We also could have sworn that the other mugger in the episode played an elf in Lord of the Rings. We would have bet money on it. And we would have lost.

We loved episode 3, though we still have an unanswered question: Why was Jemaine in jail?

Here's what they're saying about Episode 3:

Dan at Best Week Ever comes clean and admits his man crush . . .This Blog Sits makes an interesting observation, which echoes what we said in an earlier post . . . Liasynthis suggests that if you don't have cable, you should find some friends that do . . .

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Zealand . . . .Rocks!!!

We figured the self-deprecating humor at New Zealand's expense was a little too quirky to be completely made up. And we were right.

There really is a fence in the town of Te Pahu made up of toothbrushes. During episode 2, Murray touts the fence as one of New Zealand's top tourist attractions. (Beat that Australia!)

Apparently, the folks in Te Pahu were going for originality since two other New Zealand towns had already made fences out of bras.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Standing up well to inner city pressure

We were going to write how we were disappointed in the second episode.

Then we watched it again. And we liked it.

Maybe some of the humor was so subtle that we didn't appreciate it the first time. Maybe it was because the premiere was so good that we were bracing for a letdown.

Sure there were some flaws. Rhys Darby, who plays band manager Murray, stole the show and the gag with the cassette tape was a little overdone. But overall, we think the songs and writing were solid.

The opening homage/paraody of the Pet Shop Boys was a lot funnier the second time we heard it, which probably put us in a better frame of mind for the rest of the show.

Now, what did the rest of America think?

Theater critic Robert Cashill, who blogs on Between Productions, gave it his stamp of approval, if for nothing else than the New York flavor . . . Minijonb still can't decide whether he loves or hates the show . . . Liz Pardue raved about the second episode on Inside the Box, saying the show was every bit as good as the premiere . . . Humble Howard's Space said the FOTC reeks of network genius . . . Like a lot of others, John's Blog calls FOTC his favorite new show . . . and finally this big thumbs up from TV Guide.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Critic: Why the show will fail

Two opinions worth reading:

Daynah Burnett at PopMatters gives us one of the more thoughtful and well-written reviews we've read yet about the show. "Though the two foreigners appear dim-witted, it’s not because they are “foreign” (take that, Borat). Instead, they would be hormone-driven idiots, no matter the hemisphere they inhabit," Burnett writes.

The other post is somewhat critical of the show. Tubewad outlines four reasons FOTC will fail, "despite being a pretty funny show." We don't necessarily agree with some of the reasoning or the description of the series as a "musical."

We've read in a few places where critics wonder whether the FOTC will survive without continuous plot lines or whether the deadpan humor will grow old too soon. Didn't Seinfeld already prove that a show about nothing can have a very long shelf life?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ratings low for premiere

The premiere episode of the FOTC checked in with 1.2 million viewers, which is considered pretty low, even for a show on a premium cable channel. Apparently the entire HBO lineup is suffering from a post-Sopranos hangover.

As we wrote earlier, the fact that the premiere episode had been available online for a few weeks, couldn't have helped.

We don't think it's time to panic, just yet. Judging from the enthusiastic reception from bloggers and the overall good reviews from the critics, we expect FOTC to be one of those shows that builds a very loyal, dedicated audience.

Hell, we didn't start watching Sopranos until the third season.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mixed reviews

There was a lot of love, some boos and some headscratching over the HBO premiere of FOTC. Bloggers, in general, loved the show. The professional TV critics? They were all over the board. Here's what the mainstream media critics are saying:

Tom Jicha of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel hated the show. Reading his review, though, one wonders if he actually watched the show. He says that Jemaine picks up a gorgeous girl at a club. A club? Not sure how you would mistake Dave's apartment for a club.

Mike Duffy of the Detroit Free Press called the premiere "TV’s most original and irresistible new comic concoction."

Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe liked the premiere but wonders if the writers can sustain the laughs over 12 episodes, or whether the gags will start getting redundant.

Tom Shales of the Washington Post gave the show his nod of approval. Shales wrote: "Flight of the Conchords" might not have you slapping a knee in hysterics, but it may well cause contented chortling inside -- the kind of laughter that's probably good for the soul, good for the digestion and, in this case, good TV."

Preston Jones of the Star-Telegram hopes that viewers hang in long enough for the show to get its footing.

Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald says the show's gags just don't work. Garvin wrote: "This can be dryly funny in small doses, but Conchords really feels less like a sitcom than a Saturday Night Live sketch stretched out to about six times its shelf-life."

Meanwhile, most bloggers, at least the ones who showed up at the top of the google search, loved the show:

Mikey Likes TV was pleasantly surprised . . . Piece of Shep thought the show was fantastic . . . Mog called the show brilliant . . . Rumblestrip was laughing so hard his wife thought the neighbors were going to call the cops

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The FAQs about episode 1

Where exactly is New Zealand?

We're not really sure, ourselves. It's somewhere down in the vicinity of Australia. We imagine that New Zealanders are used to this kind of geographical ignorance. During episode 1, there's one reference to the boys being English and then later, Sallie says she thinks she'd prefer to date an Australian.

Is it true that one of these guys was in Lord of the Rings?

Yes. Bret McKenzie was an elf. Apparently the LOTR fans call him Figwit. We've seen pictures of Figwit and we have no idea who he is or what he did in the LOTR.

Um, which one is Bret? Why do they call him Britt?

Bret McKenzie is the one with the scruffy beard. Jemaine Clement is the one with the Elvis Costello glasses. And we understand the confusion because it sure does sound like Jemaine is saying "Brit" when he's actually saying "Bret."

Isn't the character of Mel, their one fan, a little over the top?

Not at all. We've known quite a few obsessed groupies and Kristen Schaal, the actor/stand-up comic who plays Mel, is spot on. She's scary good.

How funny is the scene in the New Zealand consulate?

Quite funny. In fact, it was laugh out loud funny but not quite rolling on the floor laughing my ass off funny. Murray, the band manager is played by Rhys Darby, a fellow Kiwi and stand-up comic, who is reprising the role he had in the Flight of the Conchords' BBC radio series.

Is life in the East Village really like that?

We have friends who live in the East Village and would say the show is taking a few liberties. Their apartment seems pretty spacious for two struggling musicians.

Will the show be a hit?

We're going to go out on a limb here and say this is a can't miss series.