Flight of the Conchords: Prime Minister
Today is Australia Day - a celebration of the first day of winter Down Under. The ongoing feud between Kiwis and Aussies portrayed on Bret and Jemaine's show reminds me of the tussle between Mets and Yankees fans here in New York. One fan base is seen as cocky, big and obnoxious with a sense of entitlement. The other faction is noted as the underdog - pissed off and tired of being the "little brother" in the NYC baseball world to the handsome, shinier frat boys who own more fan real estate.
In past episodes of Flight of the Conchords, we've seen Bret and Jemaine live under the peer pressure of Aussie bravado. But in last night's very funny episode "Prime Minister", we were introduced to the head honcho of New Zealand, and he is as quirky as the boys who carry their understated Kiwi pride all over New York City. And yes...New Zealand IS a country.
The main theme of "Prime Minister" was the the art of pretend. Nothing was what it seemed. The New Zealand Consulate is abuzz getting ready for the arrival of His Honor. When he arrives, we find him to be as low key, frazzled, clueless and as lovable as the guys themselves. (One even wonders if he was an imposter, but I love the idea of the Prime Minister of the Conchords' world akin to a confused uncle.) However, Murray fakes out the PM with a promise of a President Obama meet and greet, while calming him into believing The Matrix, the DVD he just bought at Dave's shop (and not yet released back home), wasn't real.
In between arranging tours through New York and D.C. travels, Murray books Bret and Jemaine as Simon and Garfunkel imitators at a celebrity impressionist gig. They don the legendary duo's wigs and wardobe to sing "Scarborough Fair" complete with fake lyrics. They meet a pseudo Bono and a pretend Elton John with a very bad British accent played by the adorable Patton Oswald. During their performance. Jemaine's orange afro wig attracts a lady with a Garfunkel fetish (played by 24's Mary Lynn Rajskub), who makes him wear it while getting jiggy, but not before he breaks into the song of the week - "Demon Woman" - a sexy, ravaging tune befit with video, as flames and skeletons pulsate, as his hips shake in leather pants over the evil spell his Garfunkel lovin' girlfriend has placed upon him.
Deceptions continue as Bret buys special Secret Service sunspecs from Dave's shop, and pulls out his "Bluetooth Friend" to stand in as a fake out security guard for the PM. He makes it all the way to the White House with the Consulate crew, only to be turned away due to Murray's failure to book the President. Poor Murray. He can't even get a gig for a national head of state.
Sometimes Mel is seen as a stalker with crazy eyes and a put upon husband, but I see her as an oddball soothsayer whose jealousies revert into sage bits of wisdom. (Sage - yes, Jemaine's fake name.) She knew there was something wrong with that Garfunkel loving chick in the nightclub, ready to bag Jemaine like a handful of groceries. Who better than Crazy to suss out Crazy? Warning Jemaine of impending danger, we laugh, thinking she's just being that wackadoodle we all know and love. But no. She hit the crazy right on the head.
Best moments? When Mel finds Jemaine on a bench in the park lamenting his low self esteem, Mel comforts him: "Do you want to rest your head on my breasts?" And of course since Mel understands the insanity of the stalker, taking Jemaine's story to heart, she makes her hubby Doug pull on a Brett wig while making out.
Another favorite moment? Brett singing South Korean Karaoke, complete with nonsensical video of mindless things, subtitles both in English and Asian. As a wise man named Lennon once said, "Nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about." That's "Prime Minister" in a nutshell. All fake out fun, with no Matrix to freak us out.
Special moment was the cameo by Art Garfunkel himself, a definite surprise and a nice end to one of the best episodes of season two. Rock on, Tiny Dancer..
Flight of the Conchords had a Q&A feature in this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine.
All FoTC info can be found at Sherry's site, www.whatthefolk.net.