The Blog Formerly Known as Rebel Prince

Cult TV, Gen Y rants, and endless opera.

Bored to Death: “Escape from the Dungeon”

Posted by therebelprince on September 28, 2010

It’s nice to have Bored to Death back in my life. This show really got me last season, in spite of a few growing pains, and it seems with this episode that they’ve refined some of the kinks, while proving that others are just the nature of the show.

Jonathan’s storyline was suitably scattered, and it was kind of nice to see him get the job done. The best episodes last season were when – in spite of, or because of, his unusual techniques – Jonathan succeeded against the odds. It allows us to see him as a real person, in spite of the gumshoe trappings. Sure, his second book was humiliatingly rejected and he ended his day trapped in a leather hood. But on the other hand, he has a job and a girlfriend-of-sorts who actually likes him. And Kristen Johnson? Suitably awesome.

Still not sure how I feel about Zach Galifianakis’ storyline. It’s a peculiar addition to a show that – at 25 minutes – could probably use the extra time on detection. Watching the breakup scene, I felt as if sometimes the plot deliberately mangles the standard sitcom tropes (in spite of their man/woman differences, these two have some kind of understanding), but I’m uncertain as yet. Consider this a placeholder opinion until the show does something to convince me one way or the other.

But seriously, it’s all about George Christopher. In the last few years, Ted Danson has really become TV’s go-to guy for awesome. He’s conniving and self-serving on Damages; boorish and parodic on Curb Your Enthusiasm; and here he’s just a genuine pleasure to watch. Last season, George was an afterthought. A delightful afterthought, yes, but one whose contributions to the plot felt perfunctory. His best moments – his almost (?) gay encounter with Romany Malco; the season-ending fight – were clearly tangents, however much the show tried to link things together.

So, at the end of the day, I remain uncertain of this show. I really enjoy watching it each week, but at the same time it is very clearly three TV shows (of different genres, no less) rolled into one. Jason Schwartzman’s portrayal helps to pave over the cracks, and in many ways this stylistic inconsistency allows the series to tell whatever story it feels like each episode, and never feel (further) out-of-place. Yet, I can’t help but think that this uncertain melange of genres is a strange decision for a show which relies on our knowledge of genre to make its central conceit amusing each week.

Diverse observations:

* Any show that can give us the completely serious line “that could be an aneurysm in your penis!”  deserves at least some attention.

* The best moment of the episode: Jonathan, fleeing pathetically trapped in a leather hood, stops to fix a chair that he knocked over.

* I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Mary Kay Place and Zoe Kazan, so: Mary Kay Place! Zoe Kazan!

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3 Responses to “Bored to Death: “Escape from the Dungeon””

  1. […] Bored to Death: “Escape from the Dungeon” […]

  2. Maxine said

    yo i love this show. zach g is hilarious, and it’s like flight of the conchords – it makes the city somehow more beautiful by adding back some of that mystery and danger to seemingly ordinary situations. or something like that?

  3. h1FhzCt said

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