Bored to Death – You won’t be while watching this……
Not in actual fact my current mental state but a rather spiffing TV series from HBO that I purchased on DVD some time ago.
The premise is that a Mr Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman) gets dumped by his girlfriend and decides to post himself on craiglist.com as a private detective, despite being in no way qualified.
Gradually we get drawn into his shambling misadventures as he blags his way through case after case shadowing adulterers, locating skateboards and tracking down stolen sperm.
Schwartzman is sweet and affecting as the recently heartbroken Jonathan but also nails his slacker traits convincingly enough to show us why he ended up alone.
He’s joined by Zack Galifianakis as his artist friend Ray who inevitably ends up getting dragged along to provide cack-handed help on each case. It’s an understated turn by Galifianakis compared to his The Hangover antics but he still manages to wring downbeat laughs out of Ray’s downtrodden artist.
The real jewel in the crown of this series though is Ted Danson as Ray’s perpetually bored editorial boss George. His character is like an easily distracted 12 year old in charge of a newspaper. Whether trotting out supposedly wise words or getting stoned and drawing like a child his performance is an effervescent delight.
Through consistently amusing the series is generally more likely to elicit smiles rather than belly laughs. The characters all seem like lovely, interesting people you’d want to know but in comedy terms it doesn’t really start to fly till midseason and piques in the excellent Episode 6 “The Case of the Beautiful Blackmailer” where all three main characters appear together for the first time. Then it becomes what most critics would refer to (correctly) as a ‘laugh riot’.
All in all then a good series worth a look and certainly one that I’ll be interested to see develop over a second and third season.