I like Flight of the Conchords. I first saw them at the Edinburgh Festival around 2002 (or maybe 2003) and laughed a lot out of my mush, so I was glad to see they’d made a splash in America and had, as a result, put together a series with HBO, a channel that usually come up with some pretty good programming. That very series is now on BBC4 and is, as hoped, very amusing. My problem’s not with Flight of the Conchords. My problem is with the BBC’s relentless advertising campaign for the series, which is about as subtle as a ram raid on a fluorescent klaxon and puts me off my dinner.
I’m glad the boys are being pushed and making lots of money, but when it comes at the expense of my sanity I feel I must do something about it. Exactly what I should do about it I’m not sure. Shout at the television perhaps, or write an ineffectual blog about my annoyance that will barely be read by anyone. Yes, that’ll do it.
I fire up BBCi to catch up with the news, read a bit of football gossip and maybe copy myself a nice Last of the Summer Wine wallpaper for my monitor and the first thing I see upon hitting their site (and it’s been like this on and off for weeks) is an advert for Flight of the Conchords – a programme which I watched last night, along with all the other fans of the show I’d assume. So the advert is pointless.
It doesn’t stop there though, obviously. There are some bloody awful inserts between shows where the Conchords themselves are forced in front of the camera without a script and made to ad lib about why you should see their show. The viewer is made to feel as uncomfortable as the performers as the desperate crap that comes out of their mouths is clearly the result of a contractual obligation. The bits of you that don’t squirm start to wince as they drop unfunny clangers, actually turning you off the idea of watching the bloody thing.
Just to curl your toes that little bit more, the announcer for BBC4, bless her, introduces it as ‘cult show Flight of the Conchords’. You can’t market it as a cult, can you? Not this soon – surely? It’s only been on for three weeks. Hardly enough time to form an obsessive fan base – in the UK anyway…
That’s not enough for the BBC. Oh Christ no! In this age of viral marketing and online teasers, BBCi want to further get in on the act, like a grandad showing off a new pound-shop walkie talkie when his grandkids have already got mobiles. I was made aware of this last night when, at the end of the show this continuity woman invites you, the viewer, to go online to the ‘Flight of the Conchords microsite’ to view clips from next week’s show. Y’what? ‘Clips’? Not the whole thing? What’s the point of watching clips of it? I want to watch the whole show. It’s only 25 minutes long to start with! If I’m looking forward to chicken kievs and chips for dinner, I don’t go eating the kievs at lunch time, do I? It’d ruin the point of dinner!
So, BBC, stop trying to ruin my dinner, or there’ll be hell to pay.