Believe me, judgemental Conchords fan, I was like you. I loved the first season like Mel loves Bret. I quoted the lyrics to Business Time with alarming frequency, and chuckled even after the hundredth time of said quoting. When season 2 arrived, I was as excited as you, and I was probably as disappointed as you when it didn’t quite live up to its predecessor. But having re-watched each episode, it’s definitely worth mentioning to Conchords fans that season 2 is actually quite damn good.
Essentially, the stories in the ten episodes that make up season 2 don’t drastically vere from the established conventions of season 1; something goes well for Murray and the boys, and then it goes wrong. They meet women, and then they tend to freak women out. This can represent a few things; the boys along with co-creator and chief writer James Bobin have run out of material, or they simply wish to hone what they did so well in season 1. I’m not particularly concerned either way, because whilst Bret and Jemaine seem to be even more useless with women than ever, and Murray is still as clueless and long-suffering as we remember, it’s still as damn funny as it was the first time.
Perhaps what most fans have been moaning most about are the new songs. Simply put, they’re not as good, not catchy and not as funny as the tunes that the Conchords have been singing for the last few years. There’s nothing to quite match Business Time or I’m Not Crying, but perhaps its not quite as funny this time around because we’re used to Bret and Jemaine’s songs. Obviously, the songs are one of the biggest draws of the show, but the lads definitely deserve something of a break. This is their difficult second album, if you will, and it’s hardly terrible, is it? Too Many D!cks on the Dance Floor, Sugar Lumps and I’ve Got Hurt Feelings are brilliant, and there’s still plenty of giggles to be had in the music. Maybe the biggest problem fans are having is that there are actually more laughs to be had in the dialogue as opposed to the lyrics.
If that was the point, then I’m by no means dissatisfied because it’s delivered so well. Murray, played by the effortlessly funny Rhys Darby, is still fantastic (“R Kelly wants to sing on your next single. Now, shall I find out who he is?”). His reactions to the Conchords’ exploits and his own problems are one of the things that keep the show so fantastically charming and inoffensive, so it’s certainly a plus to have him on top form. Brian Sergent is another stand out as Bryan (just Bryan), the New Zealand Prime Minister, and Kristen Schaal is still uncomfortably hilarious as Mel, the Conchords’ only fan. The sight of Jemaine walking up to the sight of Mel and her husband Doug making out in her car with Doug dressed up like Bret is one of the highlights of the entire show. Mel and Murray are examples of two of the shows core characters that really needn’t be alerted because they’re so efficient and funny at what they do.
Perhaps the real altering needs to happen with Bret and Jemaine’s characters. In the first series, we saw that both men were capable of at least talking to women, and at times actually charming them enough to get a few dates. In season 2, they seem to have regressed and have ridiculous problems even getting as far as conversation with them. Not that it isn’t funny when they fail (the show’s pretty much based around their constant failure), but it’d be nice if things went well for them every once in a while.
Following up season 1 was always going to be difficult, make no mistake. It’s one of the best comedy series’ of the last decade by a mile, and will probably end up being the Conchords’ definitive release. Most people I’ve talked to about season 2 have been underwhelmed, but with repeated viewings, it really does improve. If you move past the fact that the songs are not as instantly quotable as before, then you’ll be treated to another great season of one of the most unique and fantastically funny sitcoms there’s ever been. It’s also worth noting that whilst HBO are ready and waiting to go with a third season, there has been no word from anyone involved with the Conchords about if, and when another season will be written. With that in mind, you owe it to yourself to give season 2 another go, because it could be a while before you see the Conchords on your screen again.