Sunday, September 02, 2007

So I could talk about the events at the Olympia Film Society. The guy who trained me and was something off a father figure for a small circle of Olympia AV nerds, Jeffrey Bartone, was fired by the board of directors. Fourteen projectionists stopped working in protest. One person remained, the most recent projectionist to finish his training, a male nurse who's kind of a fuckup. He is training people- One that I know of is an Evergreen Electronic Media higher-up who is disliked by most people I socialize with. When I went to see The Ten last night, there were more technical difficulties than usual, and a scratched-up print.

We're trying to work it all out.

The Ten is pretty good. Winona Ryder gives a really great performance, surprisingly. Kerri Kenney's bit is a highlight, unsurprisingly. A lot of the weakest bits have the best comedic actors. There's an animated segment, done by a Wonder Showzen dude, with an H. Jon Benjamin voice, that's not so great. A.D. Miles' bit sucks. Paul Rudd has a pretty dull part. Meanwhile, Michael Showalter is essentially an extra.

I haven't seen Superbad or Knocked Up, but I imagine both of them are better than this. It is possible also that The Simpsons Movie is funnier.

But what I wanted to talk about is something I've talked about elsewhere, how Flight Of The Conchords is not actually a funny show. I am convinced that it's popularity is attributable to social cohesion, relating to something rather than jokes. It's why people like Dane Cook or Larry The Cable Guy or all the things despised by the people who post on aspecialthing, only for a different demographic. It's about musicians living in New York, trying to make it, and the jokes are largely about dating. They're not insightful jokes, or funny ones, but the presentational context is appealing. I'm not saying that's the whole appeal, because it has broader support than that, but- it's not a really funny show.

If you think about it, this show is probably why Lucky Louie was canceled. Lucky Louie couldn't find support because the people the show was about don't have a lot of disposable income, and don't spend it on HBO. Flight Of The Conchords is slightly less funny, but can find a sympathetic audience of hipster-types. Lucky Louie isn't even the funniest show. Flight Of The Conchords isn't terrible, it's not unwatchable. It's just really overrated. And it's mediocrity makes an argument against the type of comedy I like, that it isn't really good, but that people can just relate to the people saying it.

I swear that I am laughing at the jokes.

30 Rock and The Sarah Silverman Program are way funnier than Flight Of The Conchords, despite their network TV and basic cable pedigree. I am now meeting people who don't like The Sarah Silverman Program, because they don't like Sarah Silverman ON THAT SHOW. They like her stand-up, and some might like everyone else on that show. But it's an unsympathetic character. This, by the way, is what makes the show funny. That show kills me. Some people prefer the Flight Of The Conchords. And they might deny the social cohesion element- that's kind of a big thing to throw in people's faces, that their tastes are short-circuited by their hipsterism, since hipsterism is so based on the idea of taste.

Certainly, there's signifiers for FOTC being a funny show. It has a bunch of really funny people on it that don't really do anything particularly funny. Eugene Mirman is the funniest dude. Kristen Schaal runs in the circles of people I think are funny, although I've never seen her comedy, I don't think. But really, those signifiers should be shot down by the fact that there's a lot of song parodies.

I talked to a guy who liked it, a fellow who lives in New York who was visiting my roommate. I made this argument to him. He said the later episodes are better.

Me: "Are they about more than just dating and song parodies?"
Him: "No, they're really random. It's just retardedly funny."
Me: "It's not retardedly funny. I've seen it, I'll giggle and I'll titter, but that's not retardedly funny, that's saying that's something is hysterical."
Him: "No okay I know that's saying something else. I mean it's retarded, and that's what makes it funny."

Anyway this guy, who the part where he describes the show as "random" is meant to be a tipoff to laugh at him, did a shitload of namedropping. All of really obvious things. He was also wearing an Of Montreal t-shirt when I had this conversation. Probably one bought on the most recent tour judging by the unpsychedelic font. I tried to tell him about other things in New York comedy- Invite Them Up, for example, and when I got around to trying to explain The Best Show On WFMU, which actually is occasionally retardedly funny, he left halfway through, I think to go smoke weed.

One of the few people who agrees with me about Flight Of The Conchords sucking is my good friend Alex Tripp, who's come to the same conclusions on his lonesome. When I lived with him and would watch movies and feel the same way about the movies, I felt that there might be a certain level of just picking up on general moods that then got amplified. The fact that both of us have watched this show in isolation from each other and reached the same "this show is not very good and actually makes me feel uncomfortable in how not very good it is" really reassures me. The other show that is really popular with friends of mine that Alex and I decided independent of each other wasn't very good was Arrested Development, but I don't have the same problems with that show that I do with Flight Of The Conchords. Or maybe I do, actually, but Flight Of The Conchords articulates that better. I did feel that Arrested Development was maybe getting a pass on the basis of the David Cross involvement, but that's not all there is to that show.

Seriously if there is something on either of those shows that is funnier than the Tracy Morgan dream sequence with Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy as Thomas Jefferson, I would like to fucking see it, and I will tell you right now that that Pet Shop Boys parody does not count even a little bit.


Anonymous said...

I just want everyone who likes flight of the concords to watch clark and michael right beforehand, so they can realize how much song parodies that are musically awful in their own right just fucking ruin everything.

Anonymous said...

and also realize the jokes aren't really that funny in concords.