The esotery of mundanity- The most pretentious blog entry ever written

Here’s the thing about comedy: about 90% of it is esoteric. Whenever you’re just hanging out with your group of friends, odds are that the majority of the jokes will be designed to elicit laughter from these friends and these friends only, as it is irrelevant if anyone else finds them funny; they’re not listening. This is why most people, when taken away from these comforts and placed in a group of strangers, fail to betray the slightest possibility of them having a funny bone in their body. Humans were, on the whole, designed this way; we enjoy our humour that much more when it seems that only a select few can appreciate it. We call this humour “abstruse”, “subversive” and “groundbreaking”, always praising its uniqueness and originality.

However, what of those people who exude familiarity and genuine hilarity? At first, we welcome them with open arms; here is a person who is similarly avant-garde to me, we say. But as it emerges that more and more people feel this way, we become equally disillusioned with them. We pepper them with negative connotations, labelling them “generic” and “mundane”. We satirise them mercilessly in a self-aggrandizing manner, believing that by doing so we are disrupting the root of their popularity and furthering our cause.

But why do we do this? Why not embrace the everyman? I personally think that it is time society threw off the shackles of complexity, and latched onto simplicity; instead of viewing the latest Elmgreen and Dragset exhibition, I urge everyone to watch the second season of Flight of The Conchords.

In case you are an absolute idiot, Flight of The Conchords revolves around Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, two expat New Zealanders trying to make it big in America in their eponymous band. The show’s brilliance lies in how entertainingly dull Jemaine and Bret’s lives are. Much like Seinfeld was, it really is a show about nothing; the central plot of one episode involves their excessive use of hair gel.

Many of the funniest moments in Flight of The Conchords are the ones that are the most obvious. Their manager, Murray, is a character who lacks subtlety or satirical insight, but who is abundant in old-fashioned dopiness, yet he steals every scene that he’s in (and there’s a lot of them). One of the episodes, where Jemaine dates an Australian girl, uses the most blatant Australian stereotypes possible, yet it still remains the funniest show of the season. Basically, Flight of The Conchords personifies mundane; but it still cracks me up every time.

For those of you who are yet to be swayed by this admittedly flimsy argument, Flight of The Conchords does still retain subversive elements through its incorporation of song. These songs almost always satirise a particular style of music in a hilarious way; they are just as funny as Spinal Tap were all those years ago, but exceedingly more incisive and witty. Also, the show is yet to really hit the supermainstream, so why not jump on the band wagon while it’s still empty?

Go on. Do it.

 

Side note: There is a question regarding television show that has existed as long as these programs have themselves: do characters of different shows exist in the same continuum, or in parallel universes? This is answered in a roundabout way on Flight of The Conchords. When Bret is trying to attract the attention of a woman he has fallen for, he asks Jemaine to pretend to mug her, then to let Bret step in and save her, thus making Bret seem like some sort of hero. When Jemaine asks where he got the idea from, Bret mentions that he “saw it on a sitcom”, but that “since this is real life”, it will work out much better. So in essence, Bret breaks the fourth wall to reveal that he does know of other shows, but in doing so inadvertently reveals another issue: does this other show reciprocate this knowledge?

 

Side side note: Read the funniest article The Onion has posted in a long time today, it’s about Tarantino, and how his next movie will be “a homage to his favourite director and screenwriter of all time: Quentin Tarantino”. Check it out: http://www.theonion.com/content/news/next_tarantino_movie_an_homage_to?utm_source=a-section

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10 responses to “The esotery of mundanity- The most pretentious blog entry ever written

  1. That’s the writers, not them. If someone in real life said “this is real life”, nobody would laugh at the in-joke. To break the fourth wall the characters have to explicityly acknowledge the fact that they are fictional. They do the opposite there.

  2. Uh, they do slyly acknowledge that they are in a fictional universe, when he says “oh, but this is real life”. There’s no other reason to put that line in.

  3. Yeah, I was obviously exaggerating. Some times it actually falls flat. Some times, though, I can’t stop laughing for several minutes. “What will you bring, Bret?” “I could bring half a dozen croutons”

    And yeah, that’s what I meant about the fourth wall thing. I just said it in a more roundabout way haha

  4. I find FotC funny, but I wouldn’t neccesarily label it as thesingle greatest show of the last 45 years… That’s seriously overrating it.

    And breaking the fourth wall is when the characters acknowledge that they are in a fictional universe. I’m not really sure Brett and Jemaine do that? I think the best example of breaking the fourth wall is the Deadpool comics.

  5. thanks brennan
    but chris obviously i realise this, we were takling about it the other night, but on the other hand it’s just as a whole the comedy of the show doesn’t really make any obscure references or have really many in-jokes

  6. shut up chris

  7. Haha, this post is kind of ironic, FoTC in itself is esoteric. So many people don’t get the humour of FoTC. I suppose I can kinda see why, it’s kind of awkward and, let’s face it, if you don’t find Rhys Darby funny you’re not going to get the show. Still, if you do find it funny, it is the single greatest show of the last 45 years.

    PS I really don’t think that example is breaking the fourth wall. To break the fourth wall he would have to say something like “It will probably not work this time either because we’re a sitcom”. While it’s obviously meant to be a joke, the fact that Bret’s character believes that he exists means that they haven’t broken the fourth wall. His character wasn’t being ironic, the writers were.

    PPS That article was hilarious! ‘Added Tarantino, “God, I love Quentin Tarantino.”‘

  8. Haha love that ep! “Have you still got her purse?” “Yea sorry force of habit”

  9. best show to ever break the fourth wall: boston legal.

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