Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Bored To Death: "Super Ray Is Mortal!"

Illustration for article titled Bored To Death: "Super Ray Is Mortal!"

Easily the best episode of this show's run, "Super Ray Is Mortal!" demonstrated Bored To Death's ability to handle multiple callbacks. The show has always represented wish fulfillment for Jonathan, and this season allowed Ray and George to get in on the game. This final episode effortlessly pulled in more minor characters, too, resulting in a tight 30 minutes where no scene felt wasted or out of place.

Last week, I complained that Jonathan had not made much progress this season in terms of his break-up with Stella and his rejected novel. It turns out that he'd been growing all season, it simply took a series of increasingly disastrous scenarios to bring it out of him. The catalyst comes at the beginning: Jonathan has just spent an evening with his hottie blond student ("Yo, teach!") and is glowing from the conquest. She, however, is about to become homeless, and thus the budding relationship has a practical side. She wants to move in. Immediately.

Jonathan asks for a few days to think about it, and receives a frantic call from Ray  at his ramshackle bachelor pad. Ray has discovered he has a stalker, having received 12 emails and one surprisingly well-stitched Super Ray doll complete with a shaggy vagina. Ray is freaking out, and Jonathan, likely happy to have a welcome distraction from his personal dilemma, is more than willing to throw himself into the case. He calls in a favor with the cop whose job he saved—allowing the cop to have his own wish fulfillment moment, involving a request for a lady-parts doll of his own—and they track the stalker to a hostel. The guy hears Jonathan and Ray waiting in his room, he bolts, they give chase, and Jonathan leaps to the roof of an adjacent building and twists his ankle. Not only have the "villains" on this show become more aggressively action-oriented, but so, too, has Jonathan risen to the occasion.

As much as the show builds tension in these adrenaline-fueled moments, Bored To Death is still a show about small-time action blown way out of proportion. In the next scene, Jonathan heads to his interview for a creative writing professor position and comes face-to-face with Louis Green yet again. Louis goes in first, and Jonathan peeks into the keyhole just in time to see Louis showing the interviewer Jonathan's Craigslist ad. Never mind the fact that any smart interviewer would probably immediately disqualify a candidate who spends the whole time badmouthing the other candidates—even if he does know the interviewer beforehand—but Jonathan thinks this is going to give Louis the upper hand. He storms in, and the two chase each other around the room (Louis running, Jonathan hobbling) and the interviewer calls security. It's the biggest moment in Jonathan and Louis' feud, not counting earlier when they slapped each other in the waiting room. Delighting in these lit geeks fighting is a pleasure unique to Bored To Death.

So, too, is the conclusion of the episode: Ray is stabbed with an X-Acto knife, Jonathan punches the real Jonathan Ames wearing a yarmulke in the face, and Leah rushes to Ray's side in the hospital, ready to get back together with him like a scene out of every dorky guy's fantasy. We end on Jonathan and George—who had just quit his job after a hilariously intense chat with Jim Gaffigan—musing on the entertainment value of Brooklyn. It's not a trip overseas, but it's always a trip, and Bored To Death's ability to mine the mundane has never been on finer display.

Jonathan is the kind of guy who will let a girl he just met move in. He and George know it's going to end terribly, but he does it anyway. No one can sabotage Jonathan's life more than he's already doing to himself. Bored To Death is a case study in high-brow sadomasochism, and Ames has used this second season to perfect its self-serious, high stakes tone. Let's do this again, eh?


Stray observations:

  • John Doe Smith: "His fake name is lacking."
  • "I don't want you to be in pain anymore."
  • "Nobody disobeys a handwritten sign."
  • "Oh, you're limping. That makes me happy."
  • "I like visions."
  • "Is it safe to eat the stalker's food?"
  • Most offensive magazine cover ever?
  • I wonder how much that girl wants to date George for him, and how much for the myth that is George Christopher. Will his granny panty-dropping powers continue without the masthead?