Monday, July 23, 2007

An almanac of semi-complete world knowledge

Spoilers for "Flight of the Conchords" coming up just as soon as I explain that I'm so disenchanted with "Entourage" at the moment that I decided to go get take-out in between "John From Cincy" and "Conchords," and don't even feel compelled to carve out time from my press tour schedule to watch it on the Slingbox (so feel free to comment on and spoil it in this thread; really, I'm good)....

The Conchords meet John Hodgman. The Conchords meet John Hodgman. The mother-flippin' Rhymenoceros and the Hiphopopotamus meet mother-flippin' John Hodgman! Awesome! What a perfect melding of styles: the Conchords' deadpan simplicity with Hodgman's deadpan condescension. (You see, it's a chip, with a speaker attachment.) I was so stoked at the end of that episode, that I fired up a couple of minutes of the audiobook version of "The Areas of My Expertise." (One of the greatest audiobooks ever made; I can't imagine how the print version can compete with it.)

As always with the show, it's the throwaway details I love the most: Murray not thinking that the meeting had begun since Hodgman hadn't called roll, the implication that Mel had destroyed her husband's career by stalking and marrying him, Bret's second Bowie dream taking place on the couch because he was afraid of Jemaine after the wig/spooning lyric, the realization that Bret knew he was going to flash someone and had therefore bothered to draw lightning bolts on his package, etc.

(One side note about the episode's theme of appearances: I interviewed the guys on my first day at press tour, and while Bret looks exactly the same as he does on TV, Jemaine's kind of shockingly good-looking in person. It may just be that he was smiling and joking instead of holding himself in that pinched, constipated pose he always has as TV Jemaine, but for the first time I understood why the ladies dig him.)

The Bowie dreams were silly and fun and a blatant excuse to set up the video at the end. Unfortunately, I felt like the song was too reverential of Bowie to be that funny; it was clever and all, but it's not going to be rattling around my noggin the way "Other rappers diss me, say my rhymes are sissy..." and "Brown paper, white paper..." have been.

What did everybody else think? And, really, how was "Entourage"?


Anonymous said...

Entourage wasn't as terrible as last week's, but it's a bad sign when the only thing that really entertained me was noticing that Kayla Ewell (aka Maureen Sampson from Freaks and Geeks) was playing a secretary.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the "Bret You Got it Going on" song in Flight of the Conchords. The Bowie thing is funny if you know bowie stuff but wasn't all that great otherwise. Mel, Murray and Dave are slowly taking over this series for me with their subtle, hilarious comments.

As for Entourage, every time I watch it now I think "Didn't they do this same story with Queens Boulevard and Billy Walsh"? I still can watch it but I already know that things will inexplicably work out for Vince even though he has a bad manager, an agent that somehow can't argue better than his bad manager and seemingly very little talent.

Anonymous said...

The Conchords meet John Hodgman.

I don't know if it was deliberate, but I thought it was great that they didn't reveal this guest appearance in the previews last week.
I also appreciated the new poster in Murray's office, which they framed in one shot: "New Zealand, why not?" and the Novelty Hit Makers' ad tagline: "Tenacious Dundee?"
So long as a B-plot involves Murray and/or Mel, I'm pretty happy.


wonderbug said...

flight of the conchords is my new favourite show!

i'm finding a lot of similarities to The Mighty Boosh (BBC show...2 guys that break into songs)...but, this is inching it's way in front.

Tom Servo said...

I actually thought Conchords was just okay this week. I do appreciate the small details that you mentioned, but what I always look forward to are the songs and if they disappoint like this week, it kind of drags the whole episode down.

As for Entourage, you didn't miss anything because they basically repeated the same plot they've done before. E and Walsh bitch and moan about working with the other, they agree to work together, and then they go right back to bitching and moaning. And Turtle and Drama go off on their own stupid, unfunny adventure that doesn't go as planned.

The best TV for me last night was The Kill Point on Spike of all places. Alan, have you gotten a chance to see this yet? I found it surprisingly good. After watching it I was thinking, "This is what The Nine should have been." I also might have liked it because it was like a mini "The Wire" reunion with Bodie and Johnny playing two of the robbers and Omar being a sniper.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Kurt, Spike TV sent me the DVD, but I didn't get a chance to watch it in time for review, and now I'm being crushed by press tour obligations and having to watch things still to come, both for the column and for the blog. There's a giant pile of DVDs on my end table in the hotel room, all of it stuff I desperately want to see (the first four Weeds, the new Flash Gordon, not to mention more Freaks & Geeks), and there just ain't enough hours in the day right now.

The "Kill Point" session definitely made me want to watch it at some point, even if it's for a review of the eventual DVD release.

Anonymous said...

The mental image of Jemaine spooning a sleeping, bewigged Bret will haunt my nightmares for the forseeable future.

The Bowie stuff was funny at first, but got a little tired by the end. It's unlike this show to hammer a joke that blatantly until it dies.

But the reason I continue to love this show despite its inconsistency is the great throwaway moments. My favorite this episode was Murray's attempt to make an official band photo by sticking Bret's face over a picture of Jemaine's ex-girlfriend. The looks on both the guys' faces could hardly have been less appropriate, or more hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Bowie stuff was really unfunny and took away from the funny things in the episode (Mel's bashing of Jemaine, anything Murray says, etc.)

By the way, Alan, why so modest?

Goodman, Roush, Bianco, and you. My 4 favorite critics; it's like the Murderer's Row of TV critics.

AC said...

I listened to the Bowie song all last week and I was looking forward to seeing the "video" on the show, but I don't like what they did with the song -- it's pretty funny on its own, and they distorted some of the best parts.

Continuity error: the guys were complaining about not having an official photo, but what about the photos that Murray was showing Mel a couple of episodes ago? Those pictures were just fine.

Sidenote: Alan, have you seen the picture of yourself and Angela Kinsey?

Unknown said...

Didn't watch "Conchords" yet, but Entourage was fucking booooring, with the usual exception for all of Ari's scenes, but even those are getting a little bit perfunctory.
Right now, I'm on a catch-up marathon for BSG.
BTW, Alan, I'm sure you could find ample volunteers on this forum to help you through that pile of DVD screeners. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

I interviewed the guys on my first day at press tour, and while Bret looks exactly the same as he does on TV, Jemaine's kind of shockingly good-looking in person.

Did I miss this interview, or are you saving it for later? After last night's episode, I rewatched their HBO One Night Stand. Even though they're still in their performance personae, Bret's essentially the same while Jemaine's much more confident (and attractive). I recently saw a screening of him in Eagle vs. Shark, where he was even nerdier and weirder than TV Jemaine. It all made me wonder just how different the real guys are from the way they act on the show and in performance. They pull off the TV versions so well that I can hardly imagine them otherwise.

Funny, my blog post last night also started with "John Motherflippin' Hodgman". That was the jewel in the crown. Perhaps it was all just an excuse for the almost-over-the-top "Bowie" video, but these guys are so great that I can forgive them anything. And, unlike many other shows, the manage the cast quite well -- just enough screentime to make them click without detracting from the crux of Jemaine and Bret's (not gay at all, nuh-uh, not even with bewigged spooning) friendship.

Anonymous said...

but for the first time I understood why the ladies dig him

That deep voice helps a lot. And his lips. And a few other things I'll keep to myself.

I may not always laugh out loud during FotC, but I am almost always smiling during it, which feels great. Murray is frellin' awesome, too.

Anonymous said...

Why, he's a Pixelation Sensation, Dez! I do love the Conchords. Re: 'Entourage', who knew Lloyd was a ho and had "family money"? Much more interesting info than anything Drama & Turtle do.

Unknown said...

I loved ''Weird Al'' Yankovic on the cover of Novelty Music Scene, the magazine Bret was reading.

par3182 said...

my highlight: murray confusing bands and gymnasts

Jenn said...

You know, Entourage wasn't so bad this week -- what's really going to suck, I think, is if things do end up inexplicably working out for everyone. After all of this drama about Medellin, if it comes out looking beautiful at Cannes then E is just ruined, as a character/manager/etc. There seem to be little hints that Medellin will be a flop, but... I'm holding out hope that for once, they're going to let Vince fail at something, because that would be an interesting story, and make the rest of this season seem better so far.