IHAO on ... Short Poppies

Yesterday I talked about mockumentaries and Derek.  Today, time to talk about Rhys Darby, New Zealand, and his show Short Poppies.  You may recognize his name.  He was a character on Flight of the Conchords, has done a few films, and has shown up on @midnight if you happen to watch that show.  He's an odd fella, but now that I've seen his show, I think I understand.

This show is much more in line with what you think of as mockumentary.  It is very Christopher Guest-ian.  You have a host going about actually hosting a travel documentary with his crew, going around a small New Zealand town looking to meet regular New Zealand people.  Each episode focuses on a new person.  And Rhys Darby plays all those people.  You then see the funny things these simple folks are up to, and how all their lives interact with each other.

The humor is not all character based, but it starts there, using it as a base, and Rhys Darby almost flawlessly plays each of those unique and quirky character.  Of the 8 he plays, there was only one that didn't sell it for me in his episode, but when that character returned, I was sold.  So that's pretty solid.  But not only are the characters, who are all funny, good, but the situations they are all in are funny.  And all the little bits and pieces, lines and prop jokes and the look-to-the-camera spots are all great.  Such as, every episode opens with the documentary host trying to do a lead in, but he is always interrupted.  It makes me laugh, because within the premise of the show, that we are watching this documentary, that is the take they went with, all his flustered and upset looks, because they opted to see more of the characters.  I really enjoyed it.

The show is a bit of a slow burn.  The first episode got a chuckle or two because of its ridiculousness.  The second one got some sad laughs.  Then the third one pointed out how brilliant Rhys Darby's mind works as I see how the characters I've met are intertwining.  And then episode four murdered me with laughter.  I was absolutely dead.  I called the cops and reported that I had been murdered with comedy genius.  They didn't respond well.  I also didn't do that.

... because I'd rather have actually been murdered than put a Fault in Our Stars gif in here.

Sometimes, a comedy is just rewarding for its use of humor and character.  But Short Poppies goes beyond that and actually crafts a world that paying attention to small things rewards you later on.  Jokes are set up without you thinking about them in early episodes and paid off later.  It reminds me of all the things people say Arrested Development is, except that is actually funny to begin with on first view, and you like all the characters instead of all the characters being cringe-worthy terrible people.  And with it being shorter, only eight episodes, you can knock it out in a night.  And I really think you should.  It is so much fun, and so well created, that I really hope you give it a chance.

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