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Bored to Death Finale: Family Affair

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Quick spoilers for the season finale of Bored to Death below:

Last night was the last episode of Bored to Death‘s season three, and perhaps, depending how HBO reacts to the ratings, the last of the series. I’ve always quietly enjoyed the show—even allowing for my home-field Brooklyn bias—and if it has to come to an end, at least it came to an end in a scene that captured the show’s endearing nature.

Well, right up until things got creepy, anyway.

It’s curious that on a channel known for extremely raunchy comedies and extremely graphic dramas, a detective comedy with a literary-hip pedigree (created by author Jonathan Ames) should end up being the channel’s sweetest-hearted show. (Albeit one with lots of pot smoking and giant cartoon penises.) Bored to Death imagined a New York City of crime, publishing and literary jealousy as a whimsical, if grimy fantasy. And like many sitcoms, it’s at base an ersatz family comedy, at its best when it concentrates on the unlikely relationship between Jonathan, George and Ray. And the episode’s action climax, with an army of Super Rays trying to save Jonathan at a Brooklyn ballpark, was especially fitting: this is a show that brings its A game to a minor-league setting.

So in the closing wedding scene, George came to peace with his daughter’s marriage. Ray came to peace with the end of his relationship. And Jonathan came to peace with—um, having sex with his unknowing sister? All right, first: creepy on its face, whether or not one’s newly found sperm-donation sis looks like Isla Fisher. But more than that, it felt like the show setting up a cliffhanger that it didn’t need, for a season 4 that may or may not come—however neurotic or deluded Jonathan may be, I have to assume he can’t keep the gene-pool business secret forever.

If this is all the Bored to Death we get, that was an off-note I’d rather not remember the show by. But I will gladly remember it for its storybook picture of a dimestore-novel city. And I’m glad the noir comedy got to stay on long enough to appropriately cast the fantastic Stacy Keach, of Mike Hammer fame. However disturbing things got at the end there, kudos to Bored to Death for keeping Brooklyn weird.