Remembering at the 11th hour that it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, I was just about to re-share my post on the Five Greatest Pirate Actors Ever, when I suddenly realized that it’s incomplete — we recently discovered a bunch more.
I speak of course of HBO Max’s new period comedy Our Flag Means Death, or to speak it in the appropriate New Zealander accent, “Dith”. We binged it a few weeks back. As frequently happens, my wife suggested it, I had great skepticism, and then it won me over in about five minutes, in this case because it stars the gut-bustingly hilarious Rhys Darby (the manager from Flight of the Conchords). It’s based on the real story of 17th century gentleman pirate Stede Bonnet, here played as an inexperienced and quite decent kind of naif who leaves his wife, played by Claudia O’Doherty (the adorable Australian friend from Love). He outfits his pirate ship with misfit motleys and they take to the high seas, whereupon they battle British authorities and become involved with the notorious pirate Blackbeard (Taika Waititi, of the Thor movies and What We Do In the Shadows).
And when I say, involved, I mean involved. In the Ridiculous Theatrical tradition, everybody is either a L or a G or a B or a T or an X or a Q, and they do what they do in a matter of fact way, and they’re occasionally fierce, but with a couple of exceptions they’re usually at a Muppet level of lovability. (Happy coincidence: Talk Like a Pirate Day falls during Bisexuality Awareness Week. This is show lives at the happy intersection of the two).
This Flag Means Death also features appearances by Fred Armisen, Rory Kinnear, Kristen Schaal and a bunch of others, plus the only TV episode I’ve ever seen in which I’ve ever liked Will Arnett and/or found him funny (no small feat). It’s all the creation of a guy named David Jenkins, who is apparently not the one I went to kindergarten with. Honestly we binged all ten episodes in about two days, and glad we are that a second season is being shot even as we speak. For more on season one, go here.