I'm watching. You're watching. Let's talk.

Series premiere: Bored to Death with Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson

In television on 09/20/2009 at 12:30 pm

N.B. You can also watch the first episode online, although the link will probably be disconnected soon.

Series name
Bored to Death

Debuts
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009 at 9:30 p.m. ET on HBO Canada

Regularly airs
Sundays at 9:30 p.m. ET on HBO Canada

Premise
Writer unsuccessfully trying to write a second novel is dumped by his girlfriend who says he drinks too much (although in his defence, it IS just white wine) and smokes too much pot. So he, inspired by his hero Philip Marlowe of Raymond Chandler fame, puts an ad on Craigslist offering private detective services. He gets calls and does his best, which is not very good at all. His friends, an equally socially inept graphic novelist and his magazine editor, try to be  helpful but they’re really also self-absorbed.

Primary cast and crew

Jason Schwartzman (The Darjeeling Limited) is Jonathan Ames, writer,white wine addict/pothead paralyzed at the prospect of attempting a second novel, so much so that his girlfriend has dumped him.
Ted Danson (Damages, Curb Your Enthusiasm) is George Christopher, Jonathan’s magazine editor boss, insanely rich, who depends on Jonathan to listen to his faux wisdom, do the occasional magazine article and bring him pot.
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) is Ray Hueston, Jonathan’s confidant and a comic-book author.
Jonathan Ames is the creator/executive producer.

Buzz buzz
Next. Big. Thing. 

But what do I know anyway? After having seen the first three episodes I do declare…
The Jonathan character, played by Jason Schwartzman, is very irritating in his clueless, self-absorbed awkwardness. And yes, I know he’s supposed to be clueless and that I, as an enlightened, postmodern TV watcher, am supposed to rise above the irritation and see this anti-character as deconstructedly brilliant. I am supposed to be hip. But I am not so hip, it turns out. I don’t need to be spoonfed, but I’m not always in a mood to work at loving a TV show. Zach Galifianakis is, although brilliant, also a little tiresome as Jonathan’s graphic novelist friend. In fairness, there are great moments in Bored to Death. The cluelessness is occasionally funny, although overdone, like, done to death (ha). Ted Danson is great as a filthy rich hedonist with not enough life skills to feed his appetite on his own. The guest stars are off the charts good. Kristen Wiig had me howling with her scary-crazy take on a Chandleresque dame (Episode 2). And Jim Jarmusch has a couple of brief but fun scenes in Episode 3. So, yes, I watched all three preview episodes sent to me by HBO. But will I keep watching? Not sure.

Other reviews
What a lovely, elegant, review in the New Yorker by Nancy Franklin, who likes it quite a bit, without all the gushing in other positive  reviews. Franklin says it’s a lovely snapshot of N.Y. elite and artists.

But not all New Yorkers love the show. The New York Daily News’ David Hinckley says he wanted to smack Jonathan upside the head.

Official website
The link above is for the HBO Canada website, which is basic (bios, episode guide), but the U.S. site has a few more bells and whistles, including postcards and creator Jonathan Ames’s blog: If you, like me, are growing tired of the hype for this show, and you’ve never heard of this Jonathan Ames guy, the real one who wrote the short story and then made it into this TV series starring a character named after himself, read his blog. Pretty good read from a guy I feared would be totaly impressed with himself: “… Now two-and-a-half years later, Jason Schwartzman is playing “Jonathan Ames.” I mean, this is all very strange. I may have created my own version of Being John Malkovich.”

Twitter
My god, this show is getting so much ink people will surely be … Bored to Death of it soon. No?

Facebook
Apparently lots of people have watched and loved the first episode in the online sneak peek (link’s at the top of the page), and at least one guy’s peeved he’ll have to wait another week for fresh Bored to Death. Also, anyone who thinks their unspellable last name is a hurdle to success should check out this Fbook page, because Zach Galifianakis’s fans don’t even try to spell his name correctly, using a variety of slacker profanities to tart it up. Oh you kids!

Can’t wait for the next new-series preview?
I’ll preview the new Jenna Elfman sitcom Accidentally On Purpose, which premieres Monday, Sept. 21, at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS and City.

Wondering when the other new series and returning series are kicking off?
Click here for my select list of fall 2009 premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…

— Denise Duguay

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: