Oh no, guys! Could the bromance be over? Are George and Jonathan really broken up? Does the whole situation remind you of some lame Entourage plot? Why do we need to labor over such shitty cliffhangers, Bored to Death? It might be because this episode was a pretty lackluster affair and needed something interesting to happen (aside from Ray having sex with Olympia Dukakis, which…I’ll get to in a minute). But either way I don’t particularly care for it. We all know that George and Jonathan will be bonded at the hip again soon enough, so why bother with this shit?
The wedge driven between them was especially contrived – we have to suffer through another episode that keeps the gang apart, but this time Jonathan gets paired with Emily so she can annoy him instead of her father. It’s very frustrating to see Halley Feiffer languish in this role and show us glimpses of what a charming actress she can be. But Emily is such a cartoonish fool, the glimpses stay just that and mostly she’s going on about being a plushie and her plums and on and on and on.
Jonathan is enlisted by George to go out and show her a fun youthful time, but George for some reason fails to mention that Emily is in AA. When she ends up drinking and getting punched in the face by a friendly gay man in a tiger suit, George blames Jonathan and tells him he’s disappointed and wants to go on a break, and it all just feels a little forced. Bored to Death rarely gets too dramatic, so any such attempt is just jarring, no matter how muted the argument.
I will say, however, that I very much enjoyed Brett Gelman as Jonathan’s double in the mystery of the week, a creepy mirror image Jonathan whose every line delivery was a little unsettling (a specialty of Mr. Gelman’s). Here’s a guy who decided to become an unlicensed snoop not for the romantic, noir-y feeling but because he’s a sex-obsessed weirdo who likes spying on people. It was a gentle poke at the inherently unreal premise of the show and Gelman was perfect casting, nailing every perverted twist on a Hammett or Chandler line, which was basically all of his dialogue.
While all that’s going on, George runs into his nemesis Richard Antrem (Oliver Platt) who is running a copycat restaurant to try and take down George’s and has employed Louis Green as a busboy. Platt and Danson bounce off each other well, as usual, but since this episode is following Jonathan’s escapade with Louis, it feels like a retread. Plus, the rivals’ restaurants warring to be more local than the other is a bit of a simplistic gag, and the idea that one specific restaurant would be put out of business by the other in New York City is ridiculous, unless they’re next door to each other.
George bonding with Bernard was fine, and David Rasche was enjoyably earnest as ever, but confining George to this mostly static, slow-moving storyline is just a huge mistake, and it looks like we’ll get at least another week of it while he and Jonathan are on the outs (I’m sure it won’t take long for them to figure it out). I am also increasingly fearful that all this talk of George’s bond with Jonathan is going to lead to the lame twist that George is actually the sperm donor the Ames family used. That would seem to be too obvious for this show, but it’s dropping so many hints about it that I am fearful.
Oh, before we go, I almost forgot about that weird sideplot where Ray had sex with Olympia Dukakis. Respect to Ms. Dukakis – she was dry and funny in her dinner conversation with a moping Ray, who has his millionth fight with Leah over a lot of annoying little things. I don’t know if we’re even supposed to sympathize with Leah here, who is largely mad because her children ate a piece of factory-raised chicken for the first time in their lives. But Ray is being childish and wacky as per usual, complaining about only getting to see Jonathan three times a week and the like. The whole relationship has never made any sense from a dramatic standpoint because we don’t care if they’re together or apart.
So let’s have Ray carry on with Olympia for the rest of the season! Why not! As long as she gets to run around with Jonathan and George and everyone gets to have some fun for once. I don’t tune into Bored to Death for domestic squabbling or relapse drama, but that’s what I’m getting right now. Cut it out!
Galifanakis demonstrates his adeptness for physical comedy in the bathroom cleaning scene. Loved him flinging the toilet brush out of the bowl.
Jonathan shows off: “As a youthful bachelor, I live off white wine and avocados.”
“Your endings are weak, and I found a typo.” “My endings are intentionally vague!”
Richard likes bossing Louis around. “I love humiliating him. You can see how deep it cuts.”