2009, 2010, 2011, TV

Bored to Death (2009)

I can’t really tell you how much I love this show, a playful send up / take down of tired noir / hard boiled detective cliches mixed with a celebration / attack on the writer’s role in contemporary society, specifically, and the role of Brooklyn as cultural epicentre, more broadly.

I get that it’s a little too clever for its own good for a lot of people, and, yes, it’s sometimes pretty snobbish with its higher end gags. But I love the mix of high brow jokes – my favourite is “That’s not how I remember Rashomon!” – and low, slapstick comedy  -George has a line in one of the final episodes about how he misses their capers but he uses a different word that I cannot remember, but that word sums up what they get up to perfectly – all put together in a package that is right up my alley, because I eat up everything noir.

It’s a show that was always kind of slight – they weren’t reinventing anything – but which, I believe, improved with age, with every season getting richer and funnier.

Highly recommended.


  • Genre: Comedy, Detective dramedy, Crime, Mystery,Neo-noir
  • Created by Jonathan Ames
  • Starring
  • Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan Ames, struggling novelist, Edition journalist, and private investigator
  • Zach Galifianakis as Ray Hueston, comic book artist and Jonathan’s best friend
  • Ted Danson as George Christopher, editor of fictitious New York magazine Edition, friend and father figure to Jonathan
  • Heather Burns as Leah, Ray’s on-and-off girlfriend
  • Recurring:
    • Olivia Thirlby as Suzanne, Jonathan’s ex-girlfriend (Season 1)
    • Oliver Platt as Richard Antrem, fictional editor of GQ and rival of George Christopher
    • Laila Robins as Priscilla, George’s ex-wife and Richard’s current wife (Seasons 1–2)
    • John Hodgman as Louis Green, a rival of Jonathan
    • Jenny Slate as Stella, an organic food co-op member and pot smoker (Seasons 1–2)
    • Zoe Kazan as Nina, Jonathan’s student (Season 2)
    • Bebe Neuwirth as Caroline, Jonathan’s literary editor
    • Patton Oswalt as Howard Baker, the owner of a spy shop that Jonathan, Ray, and George occasionally visit
    • Kristen Wiig as Jennifer “Trouble” Gladwell, a barfly and one of Jonathan’s first clients (Seasons 1–2)
    • Richard Masur as Ira Ames, Jonathan’s father (Seasons 2–3)
    • Allyce Beasley as Florence Ames, Jonathan’s mother (Seasons 2–3)
    • Mary Kay Place as Kathryn Joiner
    • Halley Feiffer as Emily, George’s daughter (Season 3)
    • Olympia Dukakis as Belinda (Seasons 2–3)
    • Mary Steenburgen as Josephine, George’s singing teacher (Season 3)
    • Isla Fisher as Rose, Jonathan’s girlfriend (Season 3)
    • Stacy Keach as Jonathan’s biological father (Season 3)
    • Michael Chernus as Francis Hamm (Season 1)
  • Opening theme: “Bored to Death” by Coconut Records
  • Country of origin: United States
  • No. of seasons: 3
  • No. of episodes: 24
  • Executive producers: Jonathan Ames, Sarah Condon, Stephanie Davis, Dave Becky, Troy Miller, Tracey Baird
  • Running time: approx. 26 minutes
  • Production companies: Dakota Pictures, 3 Arts Entertainment, Fair Harbor Productions, HBO Entertainment
  • Original network: HBO
  • Original release: September 20, 2009 – November 28, 2011

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