Recommendations Roundup #2: Down Under Edition, Part 4 (TV Shows & Music)
Favorite Aussie & Kiwi Comedies; Aussie Sampling Maestros & Shin-Kicking Bluegrass
TV Show Recs
1) Mr. & Mrs. Murder (Season 1: Prime Video, DVD)
This murder-mystery-comedy featuring a husband-and-wife murder cleanup team could not be more adorable. Witty, whimsical, and wise, Mr. & Mrs. Murder showcases the talents of dapper Shaun Micallef and comely Kat Stewart. It is sorely disappointing that this enchanting show was cut short after a single season, but, fortunately, the episodes are self-encapsulated, so you don’t have to worry about the disappointment of a cliffhanger left unfulfilled (à la Soap, one of my childhood favorites).
2) Kath & Kim (Season 1: DVD)
The iconic Kath (Jane Turner) and Kim (Gina Riley) are the pride of Australia when it comes to comedic genius, but Kel Knight (Glenn Robbins) speed-walking with his man purse, the always-injured Sharon (Magda Szubanski) opening the dolphin-squeaking sliding glass door, and Brett (Peter Rowsthorn) pampering his rottweiler, Cujo, round out this brilliant ensemble cast with aplomb.
3) Flight of the Conchords (Prime Video, DVD)
This offbeat musical New Zealand show features the comedic duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie as the classic funny man–straight man combo. The folk band’s incompetent manager, Murray Hewitt (Rhys Darby), often prompts the most laughs (not unlike Andy’s (Ricky Gervais) side-splittingly inept manager (Stephen Merchant) in Extras). Kristen Schaal also turns in an amusing performance as the band’s number-one (and only) fan.
4) FUNTVNetwork (2012)
This is the most unknown, most hysterical, most priceless work of comedic art ever made. The following trailer and short are all we have of this nascent creation, which—in perhaps the greatest tragedy in comedy history—never became the full-fledged series intended.
The first precious gem is the trailer, but it is the second, “Apartment Scene,” that is hands-down THE funniest six minutes and three seconds I have ever watched in my life. It packs more laughs per square second than any comedy—ever. If you have asthma, grab your inhaler and get ready to lose your breath.
The Avalanches are auditory collage artists who weave irresistible, seamlessly mixed musical journeys best relished from start to finish. Their epic 2000 debut album, Since I Left You, marked a watershed moment in modern music history with its introduction of the mesmerizing “Frontier Psychiatrist.”
“Frankie Sinatra” (explicit)
2) The Pigs
My husband says it is clinically impossible to be depressed while listening to bluegrass music. After working my way through The Pigs’s exuberant repertoire of Aussie-flavored bluegrass, I must agree. This band is criminally under-known, and their music is certain to leave an indelible grin on your face for days as the hilarious lyrics and addictive melodies replay in your head. While difficult to find even at Amazon, all of these albums are available on Spotify and at the band’s website.
I’ll start with their dazzling cover of “Frontier Psychiatrist” as that is how I first discovered them and it segues nicely from the above.
“Frontier Psychiatrist” cover:
b) Horses (2009)
“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”
c) Hillbilly Synthesizer (2019)
d) The Great Bluegrass Swindle (2012)
e) The Pigs (2007)
f) Crazy (2007)
This concludes my epic Down Under Edition of Recommendations Roundup. I hope I didn’t overwhelm you—I’ll try to reign myself in for future issues :-)
See the compilation of all four parts of this Recommendations Roundup plus a new section on Petitions by clicking below:
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