Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman) has just been dumped. Struggling with his second novel the self-obsessed Brooklyn-based writer shows more affection for pot and white wine than he does his unloved girlfriend; although the wimp feels aggrieved. “They give it [pot] to cancer patients you know,” he pleads to his partner as she packs the lorry.
“But you don’t have cancer,” she responds.
Ames is pathetic. Emotionally feeble and directionless the writer needs a helping hand. He needs a change. So, inspired by the hard-as-nails Phillip Marlowe in the Farewell, My Lovely he’s reading, Ames post an ad offering the services of an unlicensed private investigator onto Craigslist, and within seconds (oh, the power of the net) Ames has a case to solve and a life to change.
His first case is to locate a missing girl on behalf of her distressed sister. Although, the case is as easily and comically solved as Jonathan’s online entry in detecting – through bluetoothed photos, mobile phones and colour printers – it’s the Philip Marlow part of the ruse that Ames has more of a problem with. A feeble tipper for info, unable to down a whisky without coughing and scared witless of violent men Ames brings the private detective into a whole new territory. His world.
The LPM (laughs per minute) is low, and will often produce a deeper, more inaudible titter or nod, rather than a fast-paced 30Rock riot of belly laughs, but when it hits, it hits hard and straight to the soul.
If there’s a central theme to BTD it’s that men have lost their way. Ames and his emotionally-laden pal tubby cartoonist Ray (George Galifianakis) and hapless editor George (Ted Danson) are all in one way or another ‘lost’. Bored. To death. Even a meeting between Jonathan and Ray at their favourite coffee shop has them forced outside onto the kerb as a group of post-natal mothers and their buggies crowd the pair out. The women are strong, decisive and powerful, traits that Jonathan and Ray can only harness in the graphic novelist’s super hero sketches. “Can you give me some more muscles, next time?” Jonathan pleads of his bearded mate.
This is smart funny. A dramedy. The LPM (laughs per minute) is low, and will often produce a deeper, more inaudible titter or nod, rather than a fast-paced 30Rock riot of belly laughs, but when it hits, it hits hard and straight to the soul. Schwartzman is convincing as the timid lead, Ted Danson finally finds a decent role that isn’t Ted Danson – as the big-name editor with a hunger for cheap thrills – and Galifianakis familiar in his role as the comfortable-with-it underachiever. Confiding in Ray soon after his split Ames finds that his pal is genuinely surprised to hear of the endgame. “I thought you two were just mildly unhappy,” he offers.
The brainchild of the writer/creator and real Jonathan Ames (celebrity New York columnist and author), Bored To Death is the sports sock of Eastbound & Down pulled inside out. In this show, Ames is desperate for some of the pig-headed, man-up nonchalance of baseball pitcher Kenny Powers and through his new crime-solving alter ego maybe he might just find it. Failing that at least we can enjoy his dicking around.
Bored To Death is on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 10.00pm. The US has already had two seasons so get stuck in.
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