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Bored To Death: "Forty Two Down!"

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This week continues the trend started in "I've Been Living Like A Demented God!", and not just the exclamation pointed title. The characters' dynamics are being held up to the light. Louis Green was our magnifying glass last week, and this time it's a confluence of outside factors.


Jonathan, George, and Ray spend most of their time apart, though Jonathan and Ray kicks things off together (with George taking Ray's place by the end). Kevin Bacon has asked to play Super Ray in a possible film adaptation, so Ray—after  more killer Galifianakis physical schtick that covers a baby in iced coffee—sets off to meet the actor and end things with new girl Kristen Wiig. Meanwhile Jonathan heads off to meet his new client, a woman who suspects her husband is cheating on her. He's not, though, simply depressed about being fired from his job and realizing he's a failed poet. This is something Jonathan can relate to, and because he's a meddler, he agrees to help the man reconcile with his wife and get his life back on track.

There's not much actual detective-ing that's happened on Bored To Death this season. I don't know if I miss it, though. It was nice to catch glimpses of Brooklyn's seedy underbelly through Jonathan's cases, like when he headed to Brighton Beach in season one. This season, clients have all hired Jonathan as more of a private low-stakes mercenary. It thrusts Jonathan much further into the fold, and as a result he's quickly found himself in some compromising situations. The show needed some kinetic energy, and it found some. Tonight's big action moment comes at the end, when Jonathan and George go to meet the sad former driver at the diner; in a desperate move to win over his wife, the guy decides to rob the place. Jonathan attempts to talk him out of what feels like a superfluous crime, fails, and George manages to get it done. Then holding the gun, George posits that the thing isn't even loaded just as it fires into a glass pie display.

The show is rarely ever surprising in a shock kind of way, and this moment broke up the episode's otherwise sleepy tone. George spends most of his time lounging around his office and learning his column, the one he's been doing for 20 years, is going away. Ray eventually meets up with Kevin Bacon only to decide that the actor's not worthy of Super Ray; this comes after a physical confrontation that escalates at a steady pace…until Ray reaches back to punch someone and accidentally plows his fist into Kevin Bacon's face. Again, the surprise sends a jolt through the scene before it, which was surprisingly subdued given it found Bacon and Kristen Wiig sharing the screen.

"Forty Two Down!" is about how characters outside the core three can change things on a dime. The episode chugs along at a nice pace, but is strongest when the outrageousness of the world cuts in. Plus, more good news: Bored To Death is becoming a more distinct comedy with every outing.


Stray observations:

  • "I listen to a lot of NPR."
  • The Brooklyn Inn looked weird on the inside, like they were using a set despite clearly showing the actual facade. On that note, does anyone know what coffeeshop they always go to? I think I live by there.
  • "It's not me, it's you."

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