Flight of the Conchords is to sitcoms what Elaine Benes was to dancing. Once you settle in to its slightly jarring rhythms, the whole enterprise is pretty amusing, and occasionally, quite hilarious. I’d purposely avoided reading much about HBO’s latest comedy — although I did know that it followed the lives of a New Zealand folk-singing duo — so it took me by surprise when Jemaine (Jemaine Clement, on the bike) burst into a spontaneous musical ode to a hot chick at a party (Rachel Blanchard of TV’s Clueless), with bandmate Bret (Bret McKenzie, standing) lending background vocals from across the room. But their ditty struck just the right balance of sincere and inept, and its lyrics (“You could be a part-time model. But you’d probably still have to keep your normal job”) never made me feel like the show’s writers were overly infatuated with their ability to be clever or quirky. Ditto for the band’s “The Humans Are Dead” video, uproariously shot in the budget-conscious camera-phone format.
The guys’ penchant for repetitive conversation, meanwhile, wasn’t always as successful as their musical endeavors, but an extended debate about what derailed Jemaine’s date with Sally — Bret interrupting them by turning on a light, or the fact that Bret had previously dated Sally for six months — did indeed get progressively more amusing. And let’s hope every episode includes a run-in with Kristen Schaal, as the band’s only (obsessed) fan. Her lustily recounted report from the band’s canceled set at the local aquarium — “Some species of fish require two or more sexual partners” — was the kind of twisted punch line that’s got me programming my DVR for a season pass. What did you think of Flight of the Conchords? Will it be the next Curb Your Enthusiasm, or instead go the way of the Lucky Louie?