HBO’s Bored to Death is easily the funniest god damn show on television. Created by Jonathan Ames, and starring Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifinakis, and Ted Danson (!), the show follows Schwartzman as a failed novelist (also named Jonathan Ames) who barely earns a living as a writing instructor at a lame New York City writing center. He sucks so bad his second novel got rejected and he had to pay back the whole advance. Whomp, whomp. But by night, Ames moonlights as a private detective and gets himself – and sometimes his two BFFs – in some really hilarious trouble.
It took me full two episodes to get into Bored when I discovered it on HBO On Demand last year. But by the end of the third episode I sprinted through the rest of the season. Mark my words: there hasn’t been a show this funny since Sex and the City – so funny that, I can’t remember if it was the first or second episode of this season, I was watching while eating dinner and I had to literally spit my food back out so I didn’t choke on it. But jocks and frat boys beware: this is a less obvious kind of humor, an in-the-details brand of sarcasm and wit.
Schwartzman, with his plaid blazers, v-neck sweaters and slicked back hair, is always the three C’s: calm, cool, and collected. When he’s funny it’s because he says something so matter-of-fact but with a completely deadpan, unfazed look that makes the delivery part of the joke. On the most recent episode, his excuse for being late to a meeting with a friend was that he woke up late. But actually he had insomnia the night before, so he masturbated four times to get sleepy and by the time he got to sleep it was 6am, so he overslept.
Bored follows the same formula as other 30-minute HBO cult-hits like Entourage and Sex and the City — a group of oddball friends from different backgrounds who stick together no matter what. No matter how many dudes Samantha slept with, or how many times Mr. Big came back, no matter how loud Ari screams, and no matter what Jonathan Ames does, everybody’s always cool with everybody at the end of the day.
Zach Galifinakis plays a full-bearded, “slow,” perpetually stoned cartoonist – he basically plays himself. Zach is the kind of actor/comedian who makes you laugh even before he says or does anything, and that’s a real gift. On last week’s episode Zach finds himself in bed with a woman (post-coitus) who really digs his full beard. So she’s like, “I wanna go down on it.” I wanna go down on your beard?! Are you kidding me ! LOLOL. And there she is – like totally eating his beard, getting all into it, and Zach goes: “I don’t like that.” Which reminds me, actually, of the Sex and the City episode where Miranda dates the guy who goes down on her ass and the next night in bed she’s massaging him and dude starts slowly hoisting his ass up in the air – because he wants Miranda to go down on his ass – so she scream-clarifies: “I DONT WANNA DO THAT!!!!!!”
Everybody knew Galifinakis was funny, but what about Ted Danson?! I didn’t know he was that funny, but he really steals the show. Danson plays George Christopher, something of a pot-smoking, once-bisexual womanizer, Editor-in-Chief of Edition magazine who gets his balls crushed every day by this uptight, Apollonian bitch. Danson’s character, who is noticeably older than the other two guys, acts as the father of the show, but the really rad father who wants to smoke pot with you and gives you $20,000 when you need it. He’s Samantha Jones.
With these three misfits – a cartoonist, an editor of a magazine, and a failed novelist/private detective – Bored is basically a straight man’s Sex and the City, only there’s plenty of homoeroticism which I obvi find very exciting. Bored airs Sundays on HBO at 10pm.