Bored to Death

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Bored to Death
An opening title for Bored to Death
The opening title screen for Bored to Death features a detective novel with a film noir-esque cover
Detective dramedy
Created byJonathan Ames
StarringJason Schwartzman
Zach Galifianakis
Ted Danson
Heather Burns
Opening theme"Bored to Death" by Coconut Records
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes24 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Jonathan Ames
  • Sarah Condon
  • Stephanie Davis
  • Dave Becky
  • Troy Miller
  • Tracey Baird
Running timeapprox. 26 minutes
Production company(s)
Original networkHBO
Original releaseSeptember 20, 2009 –
November 28, 2011
External links

Bored to Death is an American comedy series that ran on HBO from September 20, 2009 to November 28, 2011. The show was created by author Jonathan Ames, and stars Jason Schwartzman as a fictional Jonathan Ames—a writer based in Brooklyn, New York City, who moonlights as an unlicensed private detective. The show also stars Ted Danson as George and Zach Galifianakis as Ray, both friends of Jonathan. On December 20, 2011, HBO cancelled Bored to Death after three seasons and twenty-four episodes. Development of a television movie subsequently began in January 2013.[1]




  • Olivia Thirlby as Suzanne, Jonathan's ex-girlfriend (Season 1)
  • Oliver Platt as Richard Antrem, fictional editor of GQ and rival of George Christopher
  • Laila Robins as Priscilla, George's ex-wife and Richard's current wife (Seasons 1–2)
  • John Hodgman as Louis Green, a pompous author and rival of Jonathan
  • Jenny Slate as Stella, an organic food co-op member and pot smoker who becomes Jonathan's lover (Seasons 1–2)
  • Zoe Kazan as Nina, Jonathan's student who later becomes his girlfriend (Season 2)
  • Bebe Neuwirth as Caroline, Jonathan's literary editor
  • Patton Oswalt as Howard Baker, the owner of a spy shop that Jonathan, Ray, and George occasionally visit for gear
  • Kristen Wiig as Jennifer "Trouble" Gladwell, a barfly and one of Jonathan's first clients (Seasons 1–2)
  • Jonathan Ames as Irwin, a Jewish man who Ray finds sleeping with Leah (Season 2)
  • Richard Masur as Ira Ames, Jonathan's father (Seasons 2–3)
  • Allyce Beasley as Florence Ames, Jonathan's mother (Seasons 2–3)
  • Mary Kay Place as Kathryn Joiner, a frank employee of a company that is helping Edition tighten its financial belt (Season 2)
  • Halley Feiffer as Emily, George's daughter who disturbs him with her engagement to an older man (Season 3)
  • Olympia Dukakis as Belinda, an older woman with whom Ray cheats on Leah (Seasons 2–3)
  • Mary Steenburgen as Josephine, George's singing teacher and girlfriend (Season 3)
  • Isla Fisher as Rose, Jonathan's girlfriend. She is later revealed to be his half-sister, conceived in a fertility clinic that subsequently burned down as part of an insurance scam (Season 3)
  • Stacy Keach as Jonathan's biological father, operator of the fertility clinic, insurance scammer and con man (Season 3)
  • Michael Chernus as Francis Hamm (Season 1)


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 8 September 20, 2009 (2009-09-20) November 8, 2009 (2009-11-08)
2 8 September 26, 2010 (2010-09-26) November 14, 2010 (2010-11-14)
3 8 October 10, 2011 (2011-10-10) November 28, 2011 (2011-11-28)

Season 1 (2009)[edit]

When Jonathan's girlfriend Suzanne breaks up with him, and his career as a writer is floundering, he finds himself with a lot of spare time on his hands. Inspired by a Raymond Chandler detective novel, Jonathan posts an ad on Craigslist, advertising himself as an unlicensed private detective. He easily solves his first and second cases, which involve a missing person and a cheating boyfriend respectively.

Jonathan attempts to reignite his relationship with Suzanne, but he is unsuccessful. George introduces Jonathan to film director Jim Jarmusch and is given an opportunity to write for him, but fails to produce any material before Jarmusch changes his mind. Ray agrees to donate sperm to a lesbian couple, although against Leah's will. In another attempt to win back Suzanne, Jonathan arranges to take her to Brighton Beach with Ray and Leah. However, Jonathan also tries to solve a case while with her, and it ruins the night. Seeking adventure, George joins Jonathan and Ray as Jonathan tries to steal from a notorious blackmailer. Ray and George establish a friendship for the first time while waiting for Jonathan, sharing their love of marijuana. Ray learns that the lesbian couple he supplied with sperm were actually reselling it to other couples, and the couple has since fled town. Jonathan meets and beds a new woman, Stella.

George, Jonathan and Ray get into an argument with GQ, a rival magazine. Both groups agree to a boxing match to settle their conflicts. The GQ team is led by Richard Antrem, the new husband of George's ex-wife Priscilla. Before the match, George sleeps with Priscilla and she begs him to lose due to Richard's ailing heart. Ray loses his fight, but Leah is proud of him. Jonathan beats his critic, and George intentionally loses to Richard.

Season 2 (2010)[edit]

Three months later, Jonathan is continuing his work as a private eye, after his second book has been rejected. He is also teaching writing classes. Leah breaks up with Ray after several failed attempts at finding common ground in the relationship. Richard Antrem asks Jonathan to spy on Priscilla to see if she is having an affair. Unaware that George is the other man, Jonathan agrees. Richard later catches George with Priscilla and realizes that Jonathan had been covering for him. Ray attempts to win Leah back, but he goes about it in the wrong way, and accidentally catches Leah in bed with a man named Irwin. George goes to a urologist (a woman who has taken over from his previous doctor) and is diagnosed with prostate cancer. He then begins dating his new doctor.

Stella wants to pursue an open relationship with Jonathan, but then decides to go back to her old boyfriend, and shortly afterward Jonathan is kidnapped. George and Ray try and fail to rescue him while high on cannabis, and are captured by the kidnappers but then released with help from Jonathan's parents. Ray then briefly dates Jennifer Gladwell. After one of Jonathan's clients suggests he writes about his cases, Jonathan begins writing a story to submit to The New Yorker. Ray's latest comic book character, Super Ray, becomes a success, earning him critical and financial gain. Kevin Bacon approaches Ray about portraying Super Ray in a film series, but Ray ultimately turns him down.

After selling Edition NY to a publishing group to help the magazine make it through the tough economy, George's column is canceled, and he begins questioning his worth at the company. When George is admitted to hospital for his prostate surgery, Jonathan discovers that his doctor has diagnosed the wrong patient with prostate cancer, leaving George cancer-free, but it leads to his doctor girlfriend leaving him.

A week later, George quits his job at Edition NY because his bosses in Dallas want the magazine to be more right wing, and for George to spend time in drug rehab after a mandatory test shows he is a user of marijuana. Ray receives numerous emails from a stalker and eventually discovers a Super Ray doll with the nib of a knife in its shoulder, left for him on his doorstep. Jonathan discovers the home of Ray's stalker but fails to catch him before Comic-Con, where Ray would likely be attacked. Ray's stalker is revealed to be Irwin, the man he found sleeping with Leah, and Ray is stabbed in the shoulder with an X-Acto knife. While in the hospital, Leah comes to visit Ray and the two reconcile. As the two kiss on the hospital bed, George and Jonathan walk out and discuss making the most of their hopeful yet uncertain futures.

Season 3 (2011)[edit]

In this season, Ray enjoys the companionship of a much older woman, describing the relationship as "Elder Love," and has his marriage proposal to Leah rejected harshly. Jonathan, shortly after his father reveals he had been sterile, appears on "The New Dick Cavett Show" and is contacted by a woman who has a lead on the records of a fertility clinic where Jonathan had been conceived, so both could identify their biological fathers. Jonathan tracks down his and finds him to be a hat seller in trouble with loan sharks. George opens a fancy restaurant in lower New York City known as George on Jane, opposes and then accepts his daughter's decision to marry an older man, and falls in love with his singing coach.


Although loosely based in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, the series is shot primarily on location in nearby Fort Greene, Brooklyn.[2]


The first season received favorable reviews, and holds a Metacritic score of 64/100, based on 27 reviews.[3] In a Time blog, James Poniewozik praised the "interplay between the low- and high-life of New York" and the casting choices, calling Danson's portrayal of George a "scene-stealing role".[4] Nancy Franklin of The New Yorker determined that "excellent casting and good writing" supported the series.[5] However, in a blog for Chicago Tribune, Maureen Ryan called the story "tedious," although she praised Danson and Galifianakis' performances.[6] Variety's Brian Lowry called the series "too precious and quirky for its own good," instead wishing the series revolved around Danson's character.

Reviews of the second season were favorable. Jennifer Armstrong of Entertainment Weekly said "the charm is in the details" and added that the "genius of Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis" strengthened the program. TIME's Poniewozik wrote positively of the second season.[7]

Following Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bored to Death had an audience retention rating of 92 percent of the total 1.1 million person audience according to Nielsen ratings.[citation needed]

Bored to Death won the 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Main Title Design, against other nominees including The Pacific and Nurse Jackie.

On December 20, 2011, the day Bored to Death was canceled, petitions on several websites including Facebook started circulating. Jonathan Ames responded to this by stating "It’s very sweet. I don’t want to discourage it, but I’m embarrassed."[8]


HBO Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video released the complete first season on September 21, 2010, the complete second season on October 4, 2011, and the third season on September 4, 2012.[9]

Potential movie[edit]

After much speculation, it was announced in early 2013 that HBO would revive Bored to Death in the form of a feature-length network film. In March 2014, Jonathan Ames announced he was nearly done writing the script.[10] In an interview in August 2015, Ames said he had done two iterations of the script, neither of which was quite right, and planned a third.[11]


  1. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 22, 2013). "'Bored to Death' Film In The Works At HBO". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Goetz, Graham (2009-09-16). "'Bored to Death' on Location  — The Local  — Fort-Greene Blog  —". Archived from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
  3. ^ "Bored to Death – Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. 2009-09-19. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  4. ^ Poniewozik, James. "TV Weekend: Private Eye-rony; Also, Curb's Return", 18 September 2009.
  5. ^ Franklin, Nancy. "Brooklyn Dodger", The New Yorker, 28 September 2009.
  6. ^ Ryan, Maureen. "Enthusiasm for men behaving badly on 'Curb' ('Bored' and 'Crash,' not so much)",, 18 September 2009.
  7. ^ "TV Weekend: Bored to Death", TIME, September 24, 2010
  8. ^ Yeah, I Love it! Magazine "Jonathan Ames about Bored to Death Cancellation", 24 December 2011.
  9. ^ Lambert, David (June 7, 2012). "Bored to Death – Blu-rays and DVDs Announced HBO's 'Complete 3rd Season'". Archived from the original on June 9, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  10. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (2013-01-22). "'Bored to Death' Feature Film in Development at HBO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  11. ^ Heyman, Jesse (2015-08-14). "Jonathan Ames on His New Show and the Future of Bored to Death". Vogue. Retrieved 2016-05-13.

External links[edit]