Unless you possess an IQ equivalent to the shoe size of a sasquatch, it can be incredibly easy to find yourself losing interest with the shows we see on television. Especially with those abominable airwave creations network executives seem to think you will find some sort of thrill in viewing. It should go without saying that anyone who feels the urge to check out the weekly exploits of teenage mothers or life forms known as Kardashians has a significantly low regard for all things remotely intriguing in life to begin with. But what happens when even that is insufficient to keep you adrift in this lonely, lonely world satiated with adroitly weird characters?
Well, if you’re Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman), you embrace the relationships you have with your odd fellows and try your hand at being a novice private detective.
Just when I was thoroughly convinced that there were no truly-hilarious shows left on the telly anymore, I had the pleasure to witness Bored to Death. My timing, of course, couldn’t have been any worse — it was only after I laughed my way through Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season that I learned a horrifying revelation: the show itself had been canceled, and that this was, sadly, the final hoorah of an enjoyable series that surely deserved more attention and acclaim. The brainchild of the real Jonathan Ames, Bored to Death finds Schwartzman’s Ames as an unlicensed Brooklyn-based private dick who is available for hire via Craigslist.
Hey, with all of the other dicks available on Craigslist, what harm can a non-sexual one do? Well, plenty, actually — and in this season, Ames finds himself almost getting framed for murder, appearing as a welcomed guest on Dick Cavett’s new show (wherein he tries to invoke the suave ’70s coolness of Robert Mitchum, much to Cavett’s bewildered chagrin), and even going so far as to track down his biological father when he is faced with the grim reality that not even the people who raised him have been completely earnest with him. But hey, what do you expect when you’re a detective (certified or not)?
Assisting Ames in his regular plights into inner-city madness are his friends: comic book artist Ray (Zach Galifianakis, who, as always, plays Zach Galifianakis) and the usually-stoned entrepreneur, George (Ted Danson, whose hair looks as fine as ever). Heather Burns returns as Galifianakis’ on-again/off-again girlfriend. Guest stars for this farewell season include John Hodgman, David Rasche (yes, TV’s Sledge Hammer!) as the mature and weirdly-dominated boyfriend of Danson’s onscreen daughter (Halley Feiffer), Stacy Keach (in one of the few dignified roles the man has had in the last, oh, ever), Oliver Platt (as Danson’s rival businessman), Patton Oswalt, Mary Steenburgen, Olympia Dukakis (who becomes Galifianakis’ mistress — something that must surely be seen to be believed!) , John Schneider, and the great Bebe Neuwirth.
HBO brings Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season to Blu-ray in a superb 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC transfer that boasts gratifyingly realistic colors, deep black levels, sharp detail, and a constant contrast. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack does an absolutely damn fine job considering this isn’t a sound effects-heavy series, and additional audio options are available in French (DTS 5.1) and Spanish (DTS 2.0), with subtitles provided in all three aforementioned North American languages. Special features include four audio commentaries (all of which feature Ames and Schwartzman, while Danson and Galifianakis contribute to two), a few deleted scenes, a surprisingly lengthy selection of outtakes (19min), and a lot of behind-the-scenes featurettes.
While its life was abruptly and unfairly cut short (yet 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom both ran for four seasons — go figure), Bored to Death: The Complete Third Season should serve as a modest example of how television should be. Hell, I’m ready to hand it an award for just being a show that got Ted Danson and David Rasche to appear onscreen together.