Even the best television shows often need a little bit of time to find their footing and really nail their character and plot dynamics. Though I quite enjoyed the first season of “Bored To Death,” it definitely got better as the series progressed and the creators brought the shows unique stars closer together to form what is probably the one of the funnier trios on TV.
Season Two thankfully continues that trend for even better results. While Jonathan Ames is still a detective, his cases are less the focus of the show and more of a vehicle to get the extremely talented cast involved in various adventures. And who better to play three friends who like to get high, drunk and crazy than Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson? Schwartzman is the straightest man of the group, but he still manages to play up the likable neuroses of the character enough to not get boxed out. Galifianakis, on the other hand, plays his usual oddball character and thrives in his non-sequiters and overall weirdness, from spilling coffee all over a baby to his super penis powered alter ego. But it’s Ted Danson who is the real MVP of “Bored to Death.” As the aristocratic George Christopher, Danson is in top form with his loveable snobiness, rampant sexuality and warm fatherly figure to Jonathan. (The name he likes to be called in the bedroom still cracks me up.) The chemistry the three share is fantastic and the true foundation of the show.
However, “Bored to Death” is still a showcase for the unique wit and humor of writer Jonathan Ames, who continues to live vicariously through the main character that shares his name, constantly pushing the envelope of truly self-referential humor. With its Dashiell Hammett meets Brooklyn hipster vibe, the result manages to feel old school but incredibly modern in its sensibilities. (And greatly aided by the jazzy score.) The writing is incredibly smart and literary, filled with great references to film, fiction and culture, but isn’t afraid to go for a great physical comedy joke every now and then. Amidst all the mock film noir and pot jokes, a number of surprising topics are deftly covered, from sex and relationships to life and mortality (George’s battle with cancer was incredibly well handled) to a great satire on New York City. It still deals with these realistic situations in a decidedly absurd fashion, which leads to memorable moments like Jonathan running through the Big Apple in full bondage gear in broad daylight, awkward three way cuddles, restealing stolen dogs, and our three lovable stoners going commando. (The Schwarzenegger kind, not freeballing.)
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out some of the fantastic guest stars that stop by, with each bringing something worthwhile and memorable and not just your usual stunt casting. There’s Patton Oswalt as the gang’s gadget dealing Q, Kevin Bacon playing himself as “drunken Batman with a big cock,” Jim Norton, Oliver Platt, Kristen Wiig, Jim Gaffigan, and even F. Murray Abraham. But my favorite is Jonathan’s adversary and arch nemesis John Hodgman, who gives the English language the great exclamation “F*ckity!”
Inside the Episodes (21:12): Each episode has a quick, but enlightening interview with creator Jonathan Ames, who again discusses his personal connection to the crazy events that take place and how some of them lives our his own fantasies. He also discusses working with the talented cast and crew and even admits to “going nuts penis-wise” in the second season.
Outtakes (5:20): This is almost all Zach Galifianakis ad libbing, with a good chunk of the best ones coming from the “penis” episode.
Deleted Scenes (3:50): Only three scenes that feature alternate takes. Not really worthwhile.
Extra Tidbit: The naked man who Zach Galifianakis chases down the street is none other than Jonathan Ames.