Tag Archives: tv

Flight of the Conchords Favorites

Like a glorious (New Zealand-shaped) comet streaking across the night sky, the Flight of the Conchords series on HBO was an ephemeral masterpiece that left us agape with wonder and yearning for more. Two seasons of delightfully earnest New Zealanders Jemaine (Jemaine Clement), Bret (Bret McKenzie) and Murray (Rhys Darby) trying to find their way in New York City was not nearly enough.

They are still with us of course. The Flight of the Conchords band (Jemaine and Bret) recently toured with the great Dave Chappelle, Bret scored the music for the most recent Muppets movie (and another forthcoming sequel), while other stars from the show are slaying it on Twitter and elsewhere. But the show was something special.

While the episodes relied heavily upon the inimitable deadpan of Jemaine, and the easy-going Kiwi naiveté of Bret and Murray, the writing was also brilliant. The songs, the dialogue and lovable characters all meshed and harmonized like a formidable All Blacks attack (token New Zealand rugby reference there… sorry it was either that or a Lord of the Rings analogy, or perhaps a reference to your admirable and robust textiles industry).

There are many great moments and songs from the series that deserve special praise, but here are just a few to honor the memory of a show that was gone too soon.

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Flossing

An excerpt from a new show we’re pitching to A & E called Flossing: Scared Straight.

<Cut to a middle-aged man with bad teeth, addressing a group of troubled youngsters>

Y’all just take a seat right over there. I wanna talk about your teeth.

I used to be just like you. Cruisin’ through life, not thinking about my teeth. Sure, I knew in the back of my mind it was wrong to not floss; I had seen the commercials and whatnot. Momma always told me it was important. I suppose I knew there would be consequences one day.  But I didn’t care; I was young and invincible, right?

<really starts yelling and getting into frightened kids’ faces> Look at me! Look at me now! You don’t want to be like me! Bleeding gums, needing a prescription mouthwash and a special toothbrush…

You think this is funny? Advanced stage gingivitis homey!

Listen, y’all. I see a lot of nasty snaggleteeth here today. I bet not one of you has flossed in the past month. <gets into one kid’s face in particular> I know you haven’t. Have you? Have you, Hollister T-shirt?

‘No sir.’

Man, they don’t even know! You talk to them. Continue reading

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Flanders, Ned

Father. Neighbor. Holy Roller. True believer. Mustachioed. Lefty…

One of the most beloved residents of Springfield, Flanders, Ned (full name Nedward) has given us so much over the years. A faithful provider of positivity, forgiveness, uplifting exhortations, enduring catch phrases, and gentle reminders of hell’s eternal flames, steady Ned has been our delightfully cheesy moral compass since his debut in 1989.

Longtime fans of The Simpsons have been through quite a lot with Ned. He’s been subjected to more tribulation, twists and turns than perhaps any other character on the show (other than Hans Moleman).

'I was saying Booo-urns.'

‘I was saying Booo-urns.’

He’s lost a wife and nearly his faith on multiple occasions. He’s had to endure living next door to Homer for more than two decades. But despite all this trauma – or perhaps because of it – it seems Ned has also experienced the most profound transformation of any Simpsons character.

From “Funny” to Beloved

The Simpsons has undergone quite a transformation itself over the years. From its humble beginnings of getting cheap laughs from Bart’s sassy one-liners (Eat My Shorts!), and the crudely drawn family engaging in crude behavior (Homer choking Bart, shocking one another at Dr. Marvin Monroe’s clinic, etc.), The Simpsons eventually became the smartest, most insightful, most important TV show probably of all time.

How did they go from “funny” to an unmatched intergalactic phenomenon with legions of devoted fans?

I think a key to the program’s rise to greatness can be found in Ned Flanders’ ascendance from one-dimensional goofballery, to the complex, nuanced man that eventually emerged. Continue reading

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Future Forecastings: 2013

As we welcome a New Year, it’s time once again to unleash the groundless hunches, uneducated guesses and baseless predictions our new media have trained us to love so much. To honor our noble modern traditions: jumping to conclusions, inflaming passions for ratings’ sake, and of course biased, uninformed prognosticating on world events… we give you this list of things that may happen in the coming year.

  • Upon hearing of rampant unrighteousness among penguins, the “Westboro Baptist Church” will sail to Antarctica to protest. The penguins will get a bit annoyed but for the most part tune them out.
  • I will somehow be bitten/tusked by a wild boar and a tiger, thus completing the rare feat of having been bit by the entire* Chinese Zodiac animal roster. Completing the “Bitten by the Zodiac Cycle” will somehow be parlayed into an attempt to secure a General Tso’s For Life prize.
    After this year's rat bite, just a boar, tiger and mythical dragon short of the cycle.

    After this year’s rat bite, I’m just a boar, tiger and mythical dragon short of getting ‘bit by the cycle.’

    Continue reading

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Festivus

A Festivus for the rest of us!” – Frank Costanza

Dear friends, Festivus is fast approaching (Dec. 23). Don’t worry I didn’t get you anything either. That’s okay because Festivus is not that kind of celebration.

While Festivus was technically created in the 60s by writer Dan O’Keefe, the holiday as it exists today was introduced to us by the great Frank Costanza (via O’Keefe’s screenwriter son who wrote it into the script) in one of the best Seinfeld episodes of all time, “The Strike.” This 1997 episode was packed with legendary antics and one-liners that would quickly become part of our vernacular (“The Human Fund,” the “Two Face,” Kramer on strike: “It’s a walk out!” Elaine’s sub card, etc.), but the introduction of Festivus spawned something transcendent: an actual holiday that is observed around the world to this day. It is officially a thing. And while invented for comedic purposes, perhaps other major holidays could learn something from the traditions of this special day?

Festivus means different things to different people, so I can only offer what it means to me. But together, I hope we can unearth the true meaning of Festivus.

To kick things off, let us begin with… the Airing of Grievances. Continue reading

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Face Off! FoxTrot vs. Far Side, The

This week’s face off pits two of the greatest comic strips of the recent era against one another: FoxTrot vs. The Far Side. Both very funny, both with loyal followings and a stellar run of success, but today only one can emerge victorious. The loser of course shall go down in ignominious defeat – relegated to the scrap heap of Comics shame – next to The Lockhorns, or Cathy.

“There can be only one!” — All the Highlander movies Continue reading

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Freaking out about the Future

“Everything’s gonna be totally fine.”

— Keith Stone

A couple years ago Keystone Light ran a series of ads featuring a creepy but self-assured fellow with flowing locks named Keith Stone. In one of the ads, Stone sees a crying bride in a convenience store making a call on a payphone. With his comically large stick of beef jerky, he hangs up the payphone and ever so smoothly dials the phone to speak with the distressed bride.

A case of KL’s under his arm, he reassures the woman with deceptively profound words: “Everything’s gonna be totally fine.”

Of course this is a ridiculous commercial meant to sell cheap beer. Yet how many of us can honestly say that we can match the optimism, confidence, or perspective of Mr. Stone? How many of us live our day-to-day lives in the hope and full expectation that everything really is going to be just fine no matter what happens? And if we do feel hopeful today, what is it that hope based on? (Hopefully not Keystone Light). Continue reading

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