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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 producers
  • Jonathan Ames
  • Sarah Condon
  • Stephanie Davis
  • Dave Becky
  • Troy Miller
  • Tracey Baird
Running timeapprox. 26 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 20, 2009 (2009-09-20) –
November 28, 2011 (2011-11-28)

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.



  • Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan Ames, struggling novelist, Edition journalist, and bumbling private investigator
  • Zach Galifianakis as Ray Hueston, comic book artist and Jonathan's best friend. The character is loosely based on comic book artist Dean Haspiel, a friend of the real Jonathan Ames. Haspiel also provides Ray's artwork used in the show.
  • Ted Danson as George Christopher, libertine editor of fictitious New York magazine Edition, friend and father figure to Jonathan
  • Heather Burns as Leah, Ray's on-and-off girlfriend


  • Olivia Thirlby as Suzanne, Jonathan's ex-girlfriend (season 1)
  • Oliver Platt as Richard Antrem, fictional editor of GQ and George Christopher’s rival.
  • 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)
  • Michael Chernus as Francis Hamm (season 1)
  • 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 Harrison Bergeron, Jonathan's biological father, operator of the fertility clinic, insurance scammer and con man (season 3)


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
18September 20, 2009 (2009-09-20)November 8, 2009 (2009-11-08)
28September 26, 2010 (2010-09-26)November 14, 2010 (2010-11-14)
38October 10, 2011 (2011-10-10)November 28, 2011 (2011-11-28)

Season 1 (2009)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
11"Stockholm Syndrome"Alan TaylorJonathan AmesSeptember 20, 2009 (2009-09-20)1.00[1]
Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman), a thirty-year-old writer living in Brooklyn, casually smokes marijuana. On top of that, his girlfriend is going to break up with him. To stimulate his imagination, he publishes an ad on Craigslist claiming that he is an unlicensed private investigator.
22"The Alanon Case"Alan TaylorJonathan AmesSeptember 27, 2009 (2009-09-27)0.71[citation needed]
During a fruitless attempt to reconquer Suzanne, Jonathan receives a phone call: a woman named Jennifer (Kristen Wiig) wants him to shadow her boyfriend Gary (Peter Hermann) to determine his fidelity.
33"The Case of the Missing Screenplay"Michael LehmannJonathan AmesOctober 4, 2009 (2009-10-04)1.08[citation needed]
Jonathan has the opportunity to work on a scenario with the filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (who appears as himself) but it seems damaged when he forgets the script in the office of a therapist after an evening adventure with the therapist's daughter (Vanessa Ray). Guest stars: Oliver Platt, Laila Robins, Jessica Blank
44"The Case of the Stolen Skateboard"Tucker GatesJonathan AmesOctober 11, 2009 (2009-10-11)0.71[citation needed]
Jonathan tries to mix work and pleasure and allows himself to be seduced by a customer whose son's favorite skateboard was stolen. Guest star: Parker Posey
55"The Case of the Lonely White Dove"Paul FeigJonathan Ames & Donick CaryOctober 18, 2009 (2009-10-18)0.66[citation needed]
Jonathan agrees to search for the love of a Russian parolee in Brighton Beach, where Suzanne often noted she wanted to visit. Jonathan invites her out and is joined by Ray and Leah, who continue to experience marital/intimacy troubles. George is advised by his therapist to experiment with his sexuality to help him "find his feminine side," which might restore the waning female readership of the magazine.
66"The Case of the Beautiful Blackmailer"Adam BernsteinJonathan Ames & Martin GeroOctober 25, 2009 (2009-10-25)0.65[citation needed]
Jonathan is hired to track down a gorgeous Craigslist scammer who videotapes, then blackmails, married men. George, tired of high society's social obligations, insists on accompanying him and Ray on the case.
77"The Case of the Stolen Sperm"Nicole HolofcenerJonathan Ames & Donick CaryNovember 1, 2009 (2009-11-01)0.72[2]
Concerned over the sudden disappearance of the two lesbians who have been buying his sperm, Ray enlists Jonathan to help him track the couple down. After breaking into their apartment, Jonathan learns the pair has flown the coop—but not without leaving behind a clue that both shocks and intrigues Ray. Meanwhile, George ignores Jonathan's warnings by publishing a disparaging editorial about Richard Antrem (Oliver Platt), sending his publishing rival into a fit of rage at the local watering hole.
88"Take a Dive"Paul FeigJonathan Ames & Martin GeroNovember 8, 2009 (2009-11-08)0.63[citation needed]
Jonathan, Ray, and George prepare to fight the GQ team led by Richard. Jonathan receives phone calls threatening to publicly embarrass George, but "solves that case." George sleeps with Priscilla and she begs him to let Richard win the fight. Jonathan sleeps with Stella. At the match, Ray loses, Jonathan wins, and George lets Richard win.

Season 2 (2010)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
91"Escape from the Dungeon!"Alan TaylorJonathan AmesSeptember 26, 2010 (2010-09-26)1.05[3]
Jonathan is hired by a police officer to erase the hard drive of an S&M dungeon computer to prevent potentially embarrassing information from coming out as the officer has received word that the club is about to be raided. Leah breaks it off with Ray. George is asked to cut back his expenses by his new publisher to prevent the magazine from going under. Guest stars: Kristen Johnston, Mary Kay Place, Zoe Kazan
102"Make It Quick, Fitzgerald!"Alan TaylorJonathan AmesOctober 3, 2010 (2010-10-03)1.08[4]
Jonathan is hired by Richard to find out if his wife is cheating on him. Stella informs Jonathan that she is interested in having an "open" relationship. Ray attempts to win back Leah with a mix CD and a new comic, but finds a strange man in her bed. Guest stars: Josh Gad, Jonathan Ames
113"The Gowanus Canal Has Gonorrhea!"Michael LehmannMartin Gero & Jonathan AmesOctober 10, 2010 (2010-10-10)0.86[5]
Jonathan is dumped by Stella and then kidnapped; George finds out that he has prostate cancer, then comes to Jonathan's rescue with the help of Ray.
124"I've Been Living Like a Demented God!"Michael LehmannDonick Cary & Jonathan AmesOctober 17, 2010 (2010-10-17)0.82[6]
Jonathan hunts a valuable item for a professor (in a reference to General Sternwood in Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep); George fails a drug test and has to come up with an alibi; Ray runs into a familiar barfly as he hits the bars to celebrate his newfound prosperity after his "Super Ray" comic book is picked up. Guest stars: Kristen Wiig, Mary Kay Place, F. Murray Abraham
135"Forty-Two Down!"Troy MillerTami Sagher & Jonathan AmesOctober 24, 2010 (2010-10-24)1.01[7]
A poet whose lofty ambitions are corrupted by his having to work as a limousine driver runs into marital trouble, and Jonathan tries to bring him and his wife back together; Ray meets Kevin Bacon and isn't sure how to proceed. Guest stars: Kevin Bacon, Kristen Wiig, Zoe Kazan
146"The Case of the Grievous Clerical Error!"Tristram ShapeeroSam Sklaver & Jonathan AmesOctober 31, 2010 (2010-10-31)0.69[8]
With Ray's help, Jonathan finds Leah's dog, Little Ray, who has been dognapped; George goes into the hospital for prostate surgery. Special guest star: Olympia Dukakis; Guest stars: Laila Robins, Jessica Hecht, Kate Micucci
157"Escape from the Castle!"Adam BernsteinDonick Cary & Jonathan AmesNovember 7, 2010 (2010-11-07)1.10[9]
To celebrate Ray's birthday, Jonathan, George and Ray visit a spa. While there, Jonathan delivers a letter in the name of love. Jonathan stays after class with a student. Guest star: Zoe Kazan
168"Super Ray Is Mortal!"Adam BernsteinMartin Gero & Jonathan AmesNovember 14, 2010 (2010-11-14)0.82[10]
Ray has a stalker whom he and Jonathan track. At the magazine, George is forced to deal with his positive test for marijuana and a new slant to the magazine imposed by Dallas. Things come to a head at Comic-Con. Guest stars: Zoe Kazan, Jonathan Ames

Season 3 (2011)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
171"The Blonde in the Woods"Michael LehmannJonathan AmesOctober 10, 2011 (2011-10-10)0.24[11]
After celebrating the release of his new book, Jonathan learns some distressing familial news. George reunites with his daughter Emily and Ray spends time with his biological son Spencer. Meanwhile, Jonathan's latest case leaves him in a precarious position.
182"Gumball!"Michael LehmannMartin Gero & Jonathan AmesOctober 17, 2011 (2011-10-17)0.25[12]
On the run from the police, Jonathan and Ray turn to Howard (Patton Oswalt) for help with trying to find out who framed Jonathan for murder, while George runs interference for them in his own inimitable, marijuana-induced way.
193"The Black Clock of Time"Michael LehmannJonathan AmesOctober 24, 2011 (2011-10-24)0.30[13]
As a guest on 'The New Dick Cavett Show,' Jonathan runs into his nemesis. George is surprised to hear Bernard and Emily's news, and Ray sets off an AMBER Alert.
204"We Could Sing a Duet"Michael LehmannLuke Del Tredici & Jonathan AmesOctober 31, 2011 (2011-10-31)0.19[14]
While showing Emily a youthful time, Jonathan discovers a classified ad for a detective (Brett Gelman) impersonating himself. On a night out with Bernard, George learns that Richard Antrem has opened a restaurant aimed at hurting George's restaurant. Ray, in hot water with Leah, finds himself drawn to a lonely woman named Belinda.
215"I Keep Taking Baths Like Lady Macbeth"Tristram ShapeeroSam Sklaver & Jonathan AmesNovember 7, 2011 (2011-11-07)0.15[15]
Jonathan and George try counseling to mend their relationship, but Jonathan thinks he might have better luck by investigating a rival's business practices. Meanwhile, George signs up for singing lessons; and Ray finds himself with an embarrassment of romantic riches.
226"Two Large Pearls and a Bar of Gold"Tristram ShapeeroMike Schwartz & Jonathan AmesNovember 14, 2011 (2011-11-14)0.25[16]
George and Ray tag along when Jonathan is hired by an old college flame (Casey Wilson) and her father (René Auberjonois) to guard her family's wedding jewels. Meanwhile, the bursting of Ray's romantic bubble forces him to move in with George.
237"Forget the Herring"Adam BernsteinRachel Axler & Jonathan AmesNovember 21, 2011 (2011-11-21)0.18[17]
Rose Hiney (Isla Fisher) connects with Jonathan on some new leads. George and Ray attempt to right their unrightable wrongs.
248"Nothing I Can't Handle by Running Away"Adam BernsteinJonathan AmesNovember 28, 2011 (2011-11-28)0.23[18]
Jonathan attempts to rescue his sperm-bank father (Stacy Keach) from captors and is held captive in turn. Ray and a crew of fans dressed as Super Ray rescue Jonathan.


Although loosely based in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, the series is shot primarily on location in nearby Fort Greene, Brooklyn.[19]


The first season received favorable reviews, and holds a Metacritic score of 64/100, based on 27 reviews.[20] 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".[21] Nancy Franklin of The New Yorker determined that "excellent casting and good writing" supported the series.[22] However, in a blog for Chicago Tribune, Maureen Ryan called the story "tedious," although she praised Danson and Galifianakis' performances.[23] 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.[24]

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."[25]


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.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28] In an interview in April 2018 however, Ames said that a movie is unlikely to be made, though he was considering rebooting the series as a book.[29]


  1. ^ Seidman, Robert (September 22, 2009). "Curb Your Enthusiasm & Bored to Death pull tiny numbers compared to True Blood". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 11, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  2. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 3, 2009). "Dexter sets another series high, beats Mad Men". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 31, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  3. ^ Gorman, Bill (September 28, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Boardwalk Empire' Falls; 'Rubicon' Stays Low + Glades, Mad Men, Kardashians, Dexter & Lots More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  4. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 5, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Boardwalk Empire' Mostly Stable; 'Rubicon' Still Tiny; Mad Men, Kardashians, Dexter & Lots More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  5. ^ Gorman, Bill (October 12, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Boardwalk Empire' Plunges; 'Rubicon' Up; Mad Men, Kardashians, MLB Playoffs & More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  6. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 19, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: Kardarshians Lead; 'Mad Men' Finale Up; 'Rubicon' Finale Down; 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Sonny with a Chance' & Much More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 18, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  7. ^ Gorman, Bill (October 26, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: Kardashians Finale Way Up; Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Swamp People & Much More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  8. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 2, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: The Walking Dead Kills; Boardwalk Empire Steady; + Swamp People, Dexter, Ghost Hunters Live & Much More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  9. ^ Gorman, Bill (November 9, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: The Walking Dead Lives!; Boardwalk Empire Up; Real Housewives, Hannah Montana, Kate Plus 8 & Much More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  10. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 16, 2010). "Sunday Cable Ratings: The Walking Dead, Sarah Palin (again, still); Boardwalk Empire Drops; Real Housewives, Sonny With a Chance, Kendra & Much More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 18, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  11. ^ Adalian, Josef (October 11, 2011). "HBO's Enlightened Debuts to a Very Small Audience, Even for HBO". Vulture. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  12. ^ Seidman, Robert (October 18, 2011). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Monday Night Football' Tops; WWE RAW, 'American Chopper,' 'Housewives of Beverly Hills,' 'Bad Girls Club' & More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on October 20, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  13. ^ Gorman, Bill (October 25, 2011). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Monday Night Football,' WWE RAW, 'American Chopper,' 'Housewives of Beverly Hills,' 'Pawn Stars' & More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on October 27, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  14. ^ Gorman, Robert (November 3, 2011). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'South Park,' 'American Horror Story' Lead + 'Psych,' 'Real World,' 'Mythbusters' & More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  15. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 8, 2011). "Monday Cable Ratings: Bears-Eagles, ' WWE RAW, 'Basketball Wives' and 'Housewives of Beverly Hills' Lead Night & More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  16. ^ Gorman, Bill (November 15, 2011). "Monday Cable Ratings: Packers/ Vikings Leads Night,' 'WWE RAW' Jumps, 'American Chopper,' 'Housewives of Beverly Hills,' 'Love And Hip Hop' & More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 17, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  17. ^ Gorman, Bill (November 22, 2011). "Monday Cable Ratings: Pats/Chiefs Down, Still Leads; 'WWE RAW' Settles, 'American Chopper,' 'Housewives of Beverly Hills,' 'Love And Hip Hop' & More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on November 24, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  18. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 30, 2011). "Monday Cable Ratings: Giants/Saints + 'Pawn Stars,' 'Love & Hip Hop,' 'Closer,' 'Rizzoli & Isles,' 'WWE RAW' & Much More". TVbytheNumbers.com. Archived from the original on December 1, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
  19. ^ Goetz, Graham (2009-09-16). "'Bored to Death' on Location  — The Local  — Fort-Greene Blog  — NYTimes.com". Fort-greene.blogs.nytimes.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
  20. ^ "Bored to Death – Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. 2009-09-19. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  21. ^ Poniewozik, James. "TV Weekend: Private Eye-rony; Also, Curb's Return", 18 September 2009.
  22. ^ Franklin, Nancy. "Brooklyn Dodger", The New Yorker, 28 September 2009.
  23. ^ Ryan, Maureen. "Enthusiasm for men behaving badly on 'Curb' ('Bored' and 'Crash,' not so much)", ChicagoTribune.com, 18 September 2009.
  24. ^ "TV Weekend: Bored to Death", TIME, September 24, 2010
  25. ^ Yeah, I Love it! Magazine "Jonathan Ames about Bored to Death Cancellation" Archived 2012-01-21 at the Wayback Machine, 24 December 2011.
  26. ^ Lambert, David (June 7, 2012). "Bored to Death – Blu-rays and DVDs Announced HBO's 'Complete 3rd Season'". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  27. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (2013-01-22). "'Bored to Death' Feature Film in Development at HBO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  28. ^ Heyman, Jesse (2015-08-14). "Jonathan Ames on His New Show and the Future of Bored to Death". Vogue. Retrieved 2016-05-13.
  29. ^ Kaye, Don (2018-04-20). "How Jonathan Ames' You Were Never Really Here Made It To Theaters". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2021-01-09.

External links[edit]