Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season Review

HBO’s Bored to Death started with a mixed bag and throughout its first season took a long winding road to figure out exactly what it wanted its overarching point to be. Considering there are only eight episodes in that freshman run, you wouldn’t think deciding on a direction would be that tough, and yet it’s not until its second season that Bored to Death seems to have an idea of where it’s going. Maybe it’s not a coincidence then that that same meandering spirit of the show has a soulmate in its protagonist played by Jason Schwartzman. Whatever the case, with the second season of Bored to Death, HBO’s comedy series hits its stride and tells some amusing stories backed by some truly funny situations while making use of the unexpectedly excellent chemistry between Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis, and Ted Danson.

The luck of Jonathan Ames hasn’t improved significantly since the end of the first season, as he now reels from the rejection of his second book (and the emotional tidal wave that comes with it) he also finds his relationship with his girlfriend on the rocks and his new job teaching a creative writing course in night school a less than fulfilling endeavor. Yet, that’s only half of his life, because he still takes contracts as a private investigator on the side where he takes cases from cops, suspicious husbands, and anyone else willing to help him make rent. To make matters worse, his once fellow partner in commiseration, Ray (Galifianakis) has found unexpected success in the creation of his penis-wielding superhero comic book. He may have a popular product on his hands, but he can’t impress the one girl he still longs for, Leah (Heather Burns). Finally, on the other side of the financial spectrum, George (Danson) deals with his company’s transition under new management and the difficulties his increasingly frequent marijuana use causes for his work.

The relationship between this trio garners genuine comedy gold this time around and the mentor-mentoree situation between George and Jonathan offers some of the funniest moments. The idea that both George and Jonathan work in fields reliant on keen observation makes their blind leading the blind paradigm between them all the richer. To think that Jonathan has chosen for his mentor a professional in the publishing business who finds himself in over his head more each day makes the clueless nature of the trio entertaining to watch. It’s in that context that Ted Danson gets to flex the funny man muscles that went slack during his years on Damages. He may be a capable dramatic actor, but his strength will always be comedy and as George Christopher he’s pitch perfect. Add in the fact that the series’ writing is finally where it needs to be, and the second season of Bored to Death is some of the best offbeat comedy on television right now.

Does Bored to Death really necessitate viewing in high-definition? Not really. Even if the episodes go through some diverse environs it’s not a series that’s big on visual details or rely on the audience noticing subtle nuances in facial features. Although, if the option is there to watch a show in as perfect a visual presentation as possible, why not do so? How much do you value a bump up in resolution?

Blu-ray Bonus Features

HBO has put together some great audio commentaries for the episodes and they are often every bit as funny as the episodes themselves. So once you get through the season, watch it again with the commentary. By contrast, the deleted scenes don’t hold much interest, though the outtakes are solid. It’s feels like forever since Danson was in a great comedy role (Becker which ended in 2004) and his part in the outtakes makes for some of the best laughs. Finally, some decent behind-the-scenes production featurettes for each episode round out the Blu-ray set.

"Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season" is on sale October 4, 2011 and is not rated. Comedy, Crime, Mystery. Directed by Adam Bernstein, Alan Taylor, Michael Lehmann, Tristram Shapeero. Written by Jonathan Ames, Martin Gero. Starring Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Burns.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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