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TV Weekend: Bored to Death

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HBO

To the great Sunday-night pileup that AMC and HBO have wrought, this weekend we add the return of Bored to Death.* There are a lot of things to love about the story of writer-turned-private-dick Jonathan Ames (Jonathan Schwartzman): the shaggy-dog hipster-noir stories, the highbrow-lit-meets-lowbrow-slapstick plots, the loving use of New York’s finest borough, Brooklyn. But where Bored really scored was in casting its triumvirate, Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson.

*And, I know, Eastbound and Down, a show I lost interest in halfway through the first season, though I plan to catch up and see if it’s changed, or I have.

Danson, in particular, is just a treat to watch as a self-involved, lusty man-child magazine editor: he manages to paint the weed-loving, experience-craving George so that he’s simultaneously jaded and wide-eyed. And like the first season, I found the second—well, the four episodes I watched—to get progressively better as it went along. There are moments of high farce (involving a naked man, a dominatrix den, an inept guerrilla operation, &c.) but also genuine tenderness. And not to oversell it, but there’s something almost early-Woody-Allen-like in how the show brings together New York literary culture and stories of bumbling crooks and private eyes, all in a slightly fantastical version of the city.

Sunday night and Monday is insane at least for the next few weeks, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog it regularly, but in the meantime, I urge you to watch again or for the first time. (Though I loved the first season, it’s not so involved that a newcomer couldn’t jump into season two.) On a night of heavy drama (Rubicon, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men), this liquor-and-lit soaked detective comedy is the perfect chaser.

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