Flight of the Conchords: Season 2 (DVD)
In its second season, HBO's Flight of the Conchords
soars to new heights even as Bret (McKenzie) and Jemaine (Clement), the down, but never quite out New Zealand digi-folk duo living beyond the fringe in New York City, reach new lows. In one episode, Bret's purchase of "A New Cup," puts them in dire financial straits and leads Jemaine into prostitution, albeit part time. In "New Zealand Town," the boys play a gig in which the majority of the audience is shopping bags. Each episode follows a week in their "rags to rags story," and each episode brings them back to square one. The only thing less promising than their musical career is their love lives. In "Unnatural Love," Jermaine accidentally sleeps with--horrors--an Australian. In "Prime Minister," he becomes involved with a woman who's got a thing for Art Garfunkel impersonators, only to lose her to the real thing (here's to you, Mr. Garfunkel, who cameos). Of course, there's always Mel (the wonderful Kristen Schaal), the group's No. 1 (and only) fan.
This series dances to its own deadpan drummer. You've got to love the loopiness of a line like, "So we look like some Simon and Garfunkel look-alikes who don't look like Simon and Garfunkel." The boys used up their tried and true "A" musical material in the first season, but while the songs this season are not as inspired, there are some offbeat candidates for a greatest-hits collection, including "Carol Brown," something of an homage to Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," and the should-be-forbidden dance "Sugalumps." Fans of Andy Samberg's Lonely Island digital shorts will especially enjoy the balmy duet "We're Both in Love with a Sexy Lady" in the episode "Love is the Weapon of Choice." That sexy lady, by the way, is Emmy-nominee and SNL MVP Kristen Wiig, as a woman with an epileptic dog and who unwittingly plays havoc with Bret and Jemaine's friendship. Other nifty bits of casting that add to Flight of the Conchords' cool cachet are Mary Lynn Rajskub as the "garfunkeling" groupie, Patton Oswalt as an Elton John impersonator, and Lucy Loveless as the aide and unrequited crush of the New Zealand prime minister. The season does not end on a promising note for Bret and Jemaine (it's really back to square one in the cliffhanger), but as their hapless manager, Murray (the Emmy-worthy Rhys Darby) remarks at one point, hopefully, this is just the beginning of their story. --Donald Liebenson
Stills from Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Second Season (click for larger image)