On the one hand, I should be mad that the whole Jonathan/George breakup story went exactly as I thought, with them reunited after half an episode apart and everything quickly forgiven. The show even pulled the dastardly move of having three weeks elapse between the episodes to ratchet up the drama of their rift a little bit. But it doesn’t really matter, and I don’t care, because we got another great caper episode out of all this nonsense and it’s the most fun the show’s had all season. I don’t know why this is the second time we’ve had a loose, drawn-out two-parter in this eight-episode season, but both times it has meant one lackluster episode followed by a great action-packed one.
Here, we start out with George and Jonathan on the outs and not speaking to each other, although they are going to couples therapy sessions with a doctor who makes her patients massage her feet (a brief, cute turn by Sarah Silverman). Antram’s restaurant has survived its rumored rodent infestation and is putting George out of business (which is again a ridiculous concept, but whatever). Ray is still carrying on with Belinda, behind Leah’s back, and may or may not be developing an addiction to oxycontin.
To win George back over, Jonathan endeavors to find out just where Antram’s restaurant is getting its organic food, all of which is supposedly coming from within 50 miles of the city. It’s simple stuff – he and Ray tail Louis, who is driving to a C-Town nearby, then they bring George in and a madcap chase ensues, ending up with Louis further disgraced, George playing the honorable man by demanding a level playing field, and Jonathan restored to the glory of being George’s best friend, planning to see Hemingway’s houses with him and all that jazz.
I compared the Jonathan/George breakup last week to the bromance-obsessed Entourage, which isn’t something I meant negatively – it’s just well-worn territory, even though we’re coming from a very different angle here, obviously. But Danson and Schwartzman have a very nicely-pitched chemistry, a mix of father/son and pot buddies, and the closing moments of the episode were very sweet – I definitely wanted to be getting into that orange car to go drink Bloody Marys at 10 in the morning after a night of adventuring.
The sideplots were not quite up to snuff with the A-story, although they were very short and to the point and Emily did not show up once, which is a bonus in my book. Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson’s real wife, showed up as a pothead singing teacher and romantic interest for him, which I’m sorry, did absolutely nothing for me. Obviously they’re a cute pair and George is always at his best while childishly high, but this is like the zillionth time the joke has been that they’re really married and dammit, I’m sick of it. There was Curb Your Enthusiasm, of course, and Ink (where they were divorced but really loved each other), and I think she was on Becker. Soon she’ll show up on CSI, I can only imagine.
With Ray, well, I don’t quite know what to make of his misadventures. His scenes with Belinda aren’t bad at all, and there is a real domestic drama unfolding here – the scene where Leah fellates him was fraught with guilt on his side. But Bored to Death isn’t really a show I’m turning to for domestic drama, even a skewed version in which every character has their own weird peccadillos. I liked how Galifanakis handled the aborted break-up with Belinda (who lays on the guilt about these being her closing years) but I can’t quite say that I’m interested by it.
But forget all that. We had a shopping cart chase, Sarah Silverman’s feet, a welcome re-appearance by Patton Oswalt (who should have stuck around longer, but did a hilarious run away from George’s car), and a quickly snuffed-out love affair between Ray and Louis that definitely has some potential. I was pretty delighted watching this episode, and that’s what I want from my Bored to Death, so I say, bravo.
The title of this episode is mysterious to me. Did I miss something?
“Other than coming in my pants all the time, I used to be pretty normal,” Ray notes, sagely.
George sums up his complaint against Jonathan's night with Emily succinctly. “She also smoked dope and saw a stuffed animal have anal sex.” “You told me to show her a good time!”
Pretending to be a food inspector, Jonathan terrifies one of Antram's kitchen workers. “I'm a Yankee fan. But I also like the Mets if that's your thing!”
Belinda has a way with words. “You know how I feel after we make love? Like an iron's been on top of me and I get all straightened out like a piece of linen.”
So does Ray, in describing their lovemaking: “It was like all her past selves fanned out in front of me like a deck of cards.”
Louis on his time in jail: “I felt like Primo Levi.”
He edits Jonathan even as he's being chased by him. “You stole my phone!” “Of course I did! What a trite thing to say.”