Bored to Death: The Case of the Stolen Skateboard
(S01E04) "I'm almost done. Just three more tugs!" - Ray
After I screened the first three episodes of Bored to Death early last month, I had resigned to not watch it ever again. For the most part, save for Ted Danson's performance, there wasn't much I found funny about the show. Add in last week's weirdo installment featuring Jim Jarmusch and I wasn't sure what to think. Given the premise of the show, last week's episode didn't even feel like the same program. It was like they took a script from something else and just had the Bored to Death ensemble act it out.
But then HBO went and renewed it for a second season and I figured, hey - maybe I'll cover the rest of the season for TV Squad. Well, I'm glad I did. Despite numerous shortcomings, "The Case of the Stolen Skateboard" is easily the best episode of the series thus far. And Ted Danson? Still very funny.
With Jonathan back on the prowl for cases, Ray's girlfriend Lea offered up a conundrum for Jonathan to investigate. Her friend Allison (played by Parker Posey) had a son and his skateboard was stolen. At first, it didn't seem like much of a case, especially since Allison knew that Francisco, a neighborhood bully, was the person who took it. She obviously needed some muscle, not a fake private detective, to get the skateboard back and as a result, Jonathan didn't really seem like the right man for the job.
However, Jonathan and Allison's brief flirtation and kiss created enough intrigue for me to care if he succeeded or not. It started to fall flat, though, when we learned he was doing to case pro bono. With his already low (or in this case, non-existent) fees coupled with his "bribe everyone" mentality, how does Jonathan ever expect to make this business profitable? He's three for three on cases and has nothing to show for it. Not even a go at Allison in bed, since her sick son took precedence over any hanky-panky. He can't even get paid in sex properly.
A few more thoughts...
- As funny as Ray's predicament in this episode was, why exactly is he even in the show? Other than being Jonathan's unreliable conscience, is "funny b-plot where Ray gives lesbians his sperm" reason to keep him around?
- Who exactly is Bebe Neuwirth's Caroline? I got the impression she was a rival editor trying to sign Jonathan away from George. If that's the case, why wouldn't he go? All George does is smoke Jonathan's pot and put him in endless think fast situations - You're a celebrity interviewer! You're a food critic!
- Highlight of the episode? Definitely the skateboard chase as all the teenagers came after Jonathan, who was riding his skateboard like a tiny bobsled. Reminded me of the classic scene from Seinfeld when George was being chased by all the elderly folks on his Hov-A-Round.
As for George, like I said, Danson is the real shining point here. I'm not sure which moment was creepier - his recollection as a boy of being turned on by a prepubescent girl with tiny blonde armpit hairs or his recent arousal by a grown woman with some serious Paula Cole "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone" underarm bushes.
Four episodes in, I'm curious to know what everyone else thinks. Was HBO's renewal justified? Does Bored to Death have longevity potential? Or are you bored already?