DVD Releases: ‘Bored to Death – Season One’

Being asked to review Bored to Death – Season One whilst I am eight episodes into Game of Thrones has meant that I’ve broken my rule of never allowing myself to get involved in two HBO shows simultaneously. Way back when I attempted to watch the The Wire and Six Feet Under under these circumstances but I only had enough love inside for one series and as The Wire is the greatest piece of television ever made, I had to let Six Feet Under go halfway through Season One.

I’ve been tempted to pick it up were I left off but it’s tainted now, my heart just isn’t in it and unfortunately for Bored to Death, Game of Thrones is the best thing to hit the screen in years and I fear it may suffer the same fate as Six Feet..

Following a break up from his girlfriend a struggling thirty something writer Jonathan (Jason Schwartzman) makes the drunken decision to emulate his hero’s from Raymond Chandler novels and become a Private Investigator. What follows is episode after episode of comedy of errors neuroses soaked scenarios. Jonathan meets women, drinks white wine, pot is smoked, something goes wrong and zany hijinks ensue.

Along for the ride are his rich, smooth but equally bored Boss George (Ted Danson) and his married with issues old buddy Ray (Zach Galifianakis) who are both a help and hindrance to our budding Phillip Marlow.

Schwartzman is fine but then it’s hardly a stretch him playing a quirky geeky slacker. It’s been his bread and butter since Rushmore (1998) and I am sure he can milk it for a few years yet. I wasn’t a fan of Galfianakis prior to this but he’s more than the bearded idiot he portrays in The Hangover series and he plays the character of Ray beautifully but this is Danson’s show. He is excellent as the lusty Silver Fox trying to escape his ivory tower and his performance is so good you half wish they would trash the original concept and write a series based around George.

With hindsight perhaps I was the wrong person to write a review. A Wes Anderson/Spike Jonze aficionado would be singing the shows praises and expressing their affection via twitter but I can take or leave that scene and I’m a Facebook kind of guy. A spider monkey can learn to express themselves in 140 characters and I always like to remain one rung up the evolutionary ladder.

Bored to Death is a funny and entertaining series. The cast is solid, the writing is good. It’s difficult to find much fault with it but what it is not is essential viewing. I don’t feel compelled to put on the next episode the way I did with The Wire, Deadwood, Oz or The Sopranos and unless a show grips me I feel the urge to do something more productive then stare at the old square box. If you’re a student or terminally unemployed then by all means pour a bottle of milk into a packet of Sugar Puffs and have a Bored to Death marathon. There are worse ways to spend the day and I hear that Season 2 is superior to the first so you have something to look forward to.

If you have to get up in the morning and do a job then I still recommend you give it a whirl but don’t be surprised if after a few episodes you find your mind wandering.

Lee Cassanell