Flight Of The Conchords season 2 episode 1 review

Finally! Flight of the Conchords' second season arrives in the UK, and here's what we thought of episode one...

Flight Of The Conchords

1. A Good Opportunity

For those who don’t know, Flight Of The Conchords follows Jemaine and Brett, two friends from New Zealand living in a one-bedroom apartment in New York, trying to make it as a successful band.

Despite being armed with a back catalogue of genre-spanning pop numbers (hip-hop, Prince-esque funk, you name it, it’s likely they’ve tried it), they find it difficult to get any decent gigs. With a loyal fan base of one, Kristen Schaal’s Mel, and an incompetent manager, Rhy Darby’s Murray, things aren’t exactly going the way the guys want.

The first episode of season 2, A Good Opportunity now finds Murray as a successful manager of The Crazy Doggs. So successful, in fact, that he has little time for Brett and Jemaine.

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The episode opens with a familiar set up, a band meeting, but an unfamiliar setting, Murray’s swanky, and slightly ostentatious, new office. Throughout the meeting Murray continuously refers to Crazy Doggs business, stopping briefly to tell the boys to return a cushion they stole from a library, mistaking their business for his longer serving, less successful, client’s. After all, gold records and a collaboration with R. Kelly aren’t something that you’d associate with the Conchords. Irked at Murray’s lack of focus the boys fire him with exchanges of “Stuff you!”

The firing leads to the first musical number of the new series, Rejected sung by Murray. Leggy Blonde this aint. This song, describing Murray’s feelings following his sacking, builds from a delicate start through to an operatic number that features a string section and fades back to the manner in which the song started and certainly isn’t of the quality that was seen in the previous series.

Following their sacking of Murray, the boys head out on their own and book their own gig. They pull a much larger crowd than what they’re used to and draw the attentions of two advertising agency executives (played by Greg Proops and Andrea Rosen) who want the boys to write an advertising jingle for a brand of toothpaste that’s specifically for females. Initially conflicted if this makes them sell-outs, the boys take the gig anyway and get cracking with writing the jingle. Their early attempts at tackling the jingle, and the conversation between Brett and Jemaine that follows this, is easily the highlight of the episode.

Struggling to write the jingle and feeling a little overwhelmed with the prospect of negotiating with executives, the boys seek advice from Arj Barker’s Dave. He bestows invaluable advice on women and negotiation skills, which leaves Brett out of pocket, having overpaid for a pen.

With the boys now finding success without Murray’s assistance, Murray finds himself in hot water when it’s discovered that the Crazy Doggs had plagiarised their big hit, Doggy Bounce, from a Polish band. Lawyers from the band clean Murray out and he’s forced to live in his car, which he periodically has to move a few feet due to parking restrictions.

With Murray now down and out, things are looking good for the guys as they begin to film the advert for ‘Femident’. The advert sees them perform a shortened version of their initial treatment – apparently 18 minutes is too long for an advert – in tights the color of toothpaste whilst emerging out of giant toothpaste tubes.

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After recording the advert, the executives are eager to see the boys work permits so that they can pay them for a job well done. Not having a clue what the executives are on about, it turns out that the boys are illegal immigrants and facing legal prosecution. In desperation they return to Murray and convince him to return to the consulate so that he can get their passports and save them from prosecution.

Murray appears at the commercial set and convinces the boys to rehire him before he helps them. Once they agree he reveals that their passports have yet to be processed and suggests they make a run for it. They escape in Murray’s car and he comments that someone must be looking out for them, which leads to another weak musical number, Angels, which closes the episode.

The start of season 2 sees many changes; these are noticeable immediately in the title sequence – whilst the theme tune is still the same, the visuals are much more polished than that of the first series. Signs of the increase in budget also carries through to the show itself. Things seem much more polished this time round, which at this stage is difficult to determine if it improves the show or detracts from the lo-fi charm that helped make the first series so great.

The overall feel of the show is a little flat and uninspired. There are plenty of laughs throughout but there have been better, much better, episodes than this. I’d go as far to say that this is the weakest Conchords episode yet. I’m hoping that the polished nature of the show was there, purely, to reflect Murray’s new lifestyle and this will give way to the methods adopted in the first series, to help the show achieve the feel that made it so appealing in the first place.

This is the weakest episode of Flight Of The Conchords I have seen, however, there are flashes that indicate there’s hope for the rest of the season. Nice touches like the returning of the cushion to the library and the doll shaped hole in the back of Jemaine’s jacket when he’s commenting on how Brett got the same clothes for the dolls that he’s looking to sell as merchandise.

Here’s hoping next week sees a return to form…..

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