Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bored to Death - Season 3

I can't talk about this season of Bored to Death without first mentioning how completely bizarre and messed up the final scene is. I don't want to really say what happens, especially because the whole story of that point was reached is convoluted and the meat of a lot of the season. I'll just say that it involves the main character of this show deciding to do something that is at once dishonest, wrong even if he was being honest about it, and illegal. It was very unsettling, especially since the show seemed to be treating the concept like it was no big deal, just something that might happen in a slightly weirder reality than her own. It just seemed like a big leap to take, and I don't see the value in taking it.

And that messed up finale is just part of why I thought this season was a bit disappointing. When it was working, it was as funny as the show's ever been, with three really great comedic actors playing very well off each other and getting into some truly exciting and amusing capers. The supporting cast featured great guests both returning and new, such as Olympia Dukakis and Stacy Keach. When the show knew what it was doing, it was a heck of a lot of fun. But some of the time it just didn't seem to know what it was doing. Part of what was neat about the show in the first place was how it just played off hardboiled crime stereotypes by taking familiar case concepts and having them get solved by a pretty unlikely detective in the innocent, pleasant Jonathan Ames. That he often got to do so while getting high with a depressed independent comic artist and an eccentric older gentlemen added to the fun.

But that aspect of the show seemed somewhat sidelined this year, as both Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson seemed to get a lot more to do than Jason Schwartzman despite him being the theoretical character. Danson's performance was definitely off the charts this year, but I like the show more when it's a play on detective stories and not a light-hearted drama about a man trying to come to terms with his selfishness and be a better father and lover. Several story threads lasted for multiple episodes, and there just wasn't enough space for what the show started as in the first place. I'm all for TV series evolving over time, but a lot of the stories weren't interesting enough to displace the core concept as much as they did. It's still a fun show, but there were a lot of small issues this season that got capped off by a major one. The show's ratings are abysmal on Monday night so I don't know if it will be back, but I'm fine either way at this point. I'd like to see more, but 24 episodes is nothing to sneeze at for something this odd.

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