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October 10, 2015

Review: Bored to Death - The Case of the Stolen Sperm

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 2nd 2009 11:28AM
Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate, and Jason Schwartzman
(S01E07) "I don't mean to be rude, but I was transporting chilled semen." - Ray

What a great way to set up the season finale! At this point, I'm not sure Bored to Death has turned out to be anything like what HBO originally green-lit, but, despite its many ups and downs, it sure has been fun to watch.

Not only did last night's episode feature the return of two plots, that, when originally introduced, seemed like throw-away gags (Ray's sperm donations; George's rivalry with Richard Antrem), but it also featured one helluva line-up of guest stars. It bodes well for season two and even though we still have one more episode left, I'm feeling a lot better about the direction Bored to Death is taking when compared to Hung.

When we first found out that Ray was donating his semen to a lesbian couple, it sort of just floated by rather quickly. It provided a few laughs and made Lea and Jonathan uncomfortable, but overall, wasn't that memorable. However, to bring it back like this, as a case with personal meaning for Jonathan and Ray was a really nice touch on numerous levels. Not only did it elevate Jonathan's private detective status in Ray's eyes, but it also brought the two characters together more than we've seen.

It would have been nice to get a little more closure on the whereabouts of "Lisa" and "Michelle" (I was really hoping for a confrontation between them and Ray about the black market sperm sales) but it did at least lead to that brief moment between Jonathan and Suzanne. He's chipping away at her slowly.

As for George and Richard (Oliver Platt), this whole situation is just beyond funny. When we first met Richard, the editor of GQ and a rival publisher, the implication that he was gay, and in love with George, again seemed like a set-up for a quick laugh. He married George's ex-wife in what George viewed as an attempt to get closer to him.

But now it seems as though Richard is taking it even farther. He's editing the second edition of a coffee table book that George helmed the first edition of and even went as far as getting his own Jonathan-esque lackey in John Hodgman's Lewis Green. The set-up to this whole feud is completely absurd and it culminated with that scathing editorial George wrote. Can you really compare someone to the anus of a starfish and get away with it?

A few more thoughts...

  • I already mentioned Platt and Hodgman, but the ep also featured Jenny Slate, Samantha Bee, and a second appearance by Bebe Neuwirth as Jonathan's book editor. Pretty good casting.
  • Anyone else find Lea's flip-flopping a little annoying? I couldn't believe she suddenly gave a crap about Ray's sperm simply because it was stolen. She made it clear she doesn't want kids with him, so why is this an issue for her?
  • When did Jonathan learn how to expertly pick locks?
  • Did you catch a glimpse of the comic? It was called "Janet to the Rescue!" The unicorn makes a comeback!

So, we got a "to be continued." Should be an interesting boxing match. George vs. Richard and Jonathan vs. Lewis makes for a good double bill. However, there are two things that could really impact the fights -- Ray's involvement and the fact that most of the publishing community loved George's editorial rant about Richard. The finale is called "Take a Dive." Sounds like there might be some money to be made here.

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Mike Rogus

I imagine he picked the lock with the "easy lock pick" they purchased from the spy store and later used on the blackmailers house in the previous episode. So I wouldn't call him an expert lockpicker, he just has an easy tool.

November 02 2009 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike Rogus's comment

Yeah, an easy tool.

November 03 2009 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It felt as if we lost an episode or two in there -- Jonathan seemed so much more competent and comfortable in his P.I. role, and didn't waver 'til that moment on the (final set of) lesbians' front porch. I don't recall -- was BtD originally commissioned for eight episodes, or were a couple of them cut for budgetary reasons after production began? If so, that would explain the gap.

That's my only complaint about this episode. The series has really grown beyond its original constraints. I'm glad there's another season in the works, as I'll miss it when it's over.

November 02 2009 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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