Last season of HBO’s “Bored to Death” wasn’t a show that wowed me, but it was enjoyable and sometimes funny. So, while the complaints that “Bored to Death” could be much funnier with a cast of Jason Schwartzman, Zack Galifianakis and Ted Danson are valid, they ignore the show’s semi-noir style.
Anyway, those who wanted a funnier “Bored to Death” get it—the first three episodes made me laugh more than almost all of last season. While I was pleasantly surprised by the stronger humor, I was happier with its incorporation into improved storytelling.
“Bored to Death” has never had an epic narrative—that’s not really the style of creator and author Jonathan Ames. It ‘s more or less a group of standalone episodes about Jonathan (Schwartzman) attempting to find a healthy relationship and solving small-time mysteries—stolen skateboard, missing screenplays, stolen sperm—as an unlicensed and mostly incompetent private detective.
He’ll also pal around with comic book artist Ray (Galifiniakis) and wealthy magazine publisher George (Danson, at his finest). They occasionally smoke a lot of pot, too.
So while there’s clearly an attempt to mine Schwartzman, and especially Galifiniakis and Denson for their full comedic abilities this season, there’s also an attempt to create larger story arcs as well.
Both Jonathan and Ray are faced with considerable relationship troubles and George must confront the aging process and the peculiar, dry humor that stems from these situations is more enjoyable. Also, Jonathan's cases are more interesting. Kudos to Ames and the writers.
On a side note, pairing it with “Eastbound & Down” on Sunday night makes the best odd couple since Felix and Oscar. I don’t know how many people are fans of both shows—the humor is so vastly different. Even for someone like me, who’s a fan of both, the stylistic transition will be a difficult adjustment.
But, both are very good shows and, with “Boardwalk Empire,” are part of a great night of television on HBO.
“Bored to Death” 10 p.m. Sundays on HBO Three stars