The highlight of the new Flight of the Conchords season thus far, provided above, is a song about their testicles, i.e. “Sugar Lumps,” which is both the good and the bad news. I will admit to liking this a lot more than I feel that I ought, an affinity I rationalize as being mostly percussion-related — as I have noted before, these guys are basically Hot Chip with (more explicit) jokes. But given the generally wan quality of FOTC’s two-episode-old second season, we’ll take it. The (extremely deadpan) thrill is gone, the jokes a bit stale, the non-testicle-related tunes sadly negligible. Last night at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, HBO screened episodes three and four. I have, once again, good news and bad news, but at least this time they’re not the same thing.
Good news: The addition of an open bar and other, jovial people (including John Hodgman, Bobby Flay, and various FOTC luminaries like the mugger from the first season, Mel’s husband, and, oh yeah, Bret) made the experience generally more enjoyable — a song rhyming asshole and casserole is best enjoyed in public — and episode 3 is probably the series highlight thus far, with a street-gang theme, some satisfying instances of slapstick violence, and an inexplicable Seymour Cassel cameo. But episode 4 is alas pretty lousy, despite the fact that Kristen Schaal finally gets to sing. It’s unclear whether this is a hiccup from which they might recover, or whether they had one good season in ’em and we probably should’ve left it at that, like a British Office/R.E.M. sort of thing. The Voice‘s own Tony Ortega avers that there’s way too much Murray this year, which is fair enough. What’s missing this season is a bit harder to pinpoint. Junior-high humor ain’t it, though. Which, actually, is good news.