Spoilers for tonight's "Flight of the Conchords" coming up just as soon as I bake some nut loaf...
"I knew if you bought a cup I'd end up in jail." -Jemaine
"The New Cup" doesn't erase the concerns I have about the Conchords' musical numbers from last week's episode or next week's. Taken on its own, though, this was perfection, as both comedy and as musical.
"Sugar Lumps" was one of the catchiest, funniest music videos they've done to date (and not not just because it appropriately worked Dave into the fun). Bret's reggae-inflected plea for Jemaine to give up a life of prostitution was almost as entertaining.
But at this point, I'm watching "Conchords" for the deadpan farce more than the tunes, and this one was magnificently constructed. They really put in the time to explain all the ways that Bret's purchase of a $2.79 cup would destroy the guys' lives, which led to three beautiful pay-offs at the end: Bret getting arrested by making an untimely reference to his day job, Jemaine's line in the jail cell that I quoted above, and then the Rube Goldberg-ian path of destruction for the new cup the moment the power company turned the lights back on.
Weaving hilariously in and out of the money problems, Bret's counter-productive super-straw business, and Bret and Jemaine's attempt to entice prostitution clients by offering them a piece of nut loaf, we got Murray being one of the last men in the country naive enough to believe in the Nigerian internet scam, and the only one lucky enough for this to turn out to involve an actual Nigerian with an actual business proposition. Maybe the internet really is, as Murray puts it, "one of the trusted things of today's society," and I should stop giving Murray such a hard time.
(Why can't I find my own Nigelo Soladu? I promise not to spend my half of the profits on bailing my idiot clients out of jail.)
Really, every corner of this episode was filled with straight-faced gags that busted me up: Doug trying to be cool about Mel getting massaged by the Conchords (and Mel's orgasmic reaction to barely being touched by Jemaine), or the awkward and lengthy conversation between Jemaine and Eugene the landlord about how Eugene knows so much about prostitution, or Murray's digression on the bass as "the daddy guitar." I'm not sure I can think of a first season episode that made me laugh as consistently as "The New Cup" did.
Finally, I'm doing an interview with Bret, Jemaine and "Conchords" producer James Bobin tomorrow morning, and I'm open to suggestions for things to ask about. No promises, depending on how the conversation goes, but fire away.
What did everybody else think?