Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, Flight of the Conchords

Written by: Sarah Carter

Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie- Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie from the HBO drama/comedy television series Flight of the Conchords[1] both appropriately exemplify the characteristics and mannerisms of the “Slacker” hero. However, since Jemaine and Bret are originally famous folk singers/performers from New Zealand, they become particularly vulnerable and susceptible to being misled or misguided by others as newly authorized citizens of New York City.  As a result, Jemaine and Bret, along with their unconventional band manager Murray Hewitt, also a former New Zealander, attempt to maintain their unique identities through adjusting their own personal lives and music choices to the demands of residing in “the Big Apple.”

Flight of the Conchords-Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement

Flight of the Conchords-Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement

For example, due to the band’s poor financial state, Bret decides to take matters into his own hands during Season 1 by desperately seeking out potential job opportunities. Consequently, he lands a sign holding job on the street corners of the city in order to help make ends meet.  The duo’s combined quirkiness, humor, sense of self-expressiveness, and unconventionality defines them as classic representations of “Slacker” heroes during the twenty-first century.


[1] Flight of the Conchords. Created by James Bobin, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie. USA: Dakota Pictures/HBO, 2007-2009. DVD.

To read more about the television show Flight of the Conchords and its effect on popular culture, see the following journal article: Gibson, Andy. “Flight of the Conchords: Recontextualizing the Voices of Popular Culture.” Journal of Sociolinguistics 15, no. 5 (November 2011): 603-626. Accessed July 4, 2013. SocINDEX with Full Text.