Spoilers for tonight's "Flight of the Conchords" coming up just as soon as I start a bikey gang...
"I'm the Tough Brets." -Murray
Where last week's episode was a perfect combination of music and laughter, "The Tough Brets" felt more like the season premiere. The series becomes more self-assured as a comedy with each passing week -- Bret forming the world's lamest street gang to protect himself from non-existent rap rivalries had the appropriate Dada touch -- but the songs were largely forgettable. The hurt feelings number was really only notable for the reprise, and there only because Mel, Doug and Greg got to join Murray as the singers. And, a few weeks after first watching, I couldn't tell you a thing about the final song except that it was a "West Side Story" pastiche.
Still, the gang was a delight, with Dave trying to prove how dangerous garden tools can be and Seymour Cassel doing one of his patented elderly eccentrics as senile old gangster Johnny Boy. ("Gentlemen Jims" was probably my favorite of his long list of gang names, but I could be talked into picking "Monkey Lords" instead.) And, of course, the whole plot featured that now familiar "Conchords" plot illogic, with Bret and Murray becoming convinced that Missy Elliott or someone like her was on their way to smoke Bret based on a library gig that no one paid attention to.
The other two plots weren't quite as strong. Mel's increasingly homo-erotic fan painting was a cute sight gag to a point but didn't really go anywhere. Murray getting bullied by his counterparts at the Australian consulate was a nice continuation of the show's running gag about Aussie/Kiwi tensions, and cleverly cast the ubiquitous Alan Dale (a native New Zealander) as the wicked Australian ambassador. I hope to see more of him, when he isn't busy trying to murder Benjamin Linus.
A few other thoughts:
• Speaking of the series' unique logic, I like that Bret's skinniness -- and Murray and Jemaine's belief that this is a bad thing -- has become a running gag.
• The guys explain to Dave that there are only three rappers in New Zealand, including Steve -- whom I'm assuming is the guy first mentioned in "Rhyemoceros." Who is this Steve, and why has he angered the Conchords so?
• Another good running gag is Murray's lack of command of the English language, here with him insisting that The Tough Brets be "disbandoned."
Finally, I had hoped to transcribe the interview I did with Bret, Jemaine and producer James Bobin in time to run with this review (or in lieu of this review), but I just didn't get a chance. Hopefully, I'll get it done by late next week. I imagine it's going to take a lot longer than the usual transcript because of the accents -- and the similar timbre of Bret and James' voices on the phone -- and so I need to carve out a while where I'll have the time to go back and listen over, and over, and over again. Sigh... But they do answer the question about Steve -- sort of.
What did everybody else think?