Bored to Death: Season 1, Episode 4 “The Case of the Stolen Skateboard” (B+)
It’s two in a row for this show as its quality continues to improve. It’s interesting how similar this show is to by HBO’s other freshman comedy from earlier in the season, “Hung,” is terms of development – I wasn’t impressed with the first two episodes and then from that point on I really liked it. Jonathan’s latest case and his rather inept solution to steal the skateboard right out of some thug’s hands leads to devastating career consequences for him, and I think they were played out perfectly in this episode. Their smashing in of the window took a wonderfully long time, and it seemed for a while like they wouldn’t actually go through with it and Jonathan might be safe from his troubles inside the confines of the restaurant, which were ultimately shattered by his pursuers. The ending shot with them catching up to him (remarkably similar to the closing scene of this week’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” as it happens) was fantastically done, and it’s better suspecting that Jonathan is being beaten up off screen rather than actually seeing it happen. The opening scene with Ray in the bathroom and his wife freaking out while his lesbian friends discuss their plans for his sperm was entertaining, and Jonathan was a great stand-in for the audience point of view, realizing the awkwardness of the situation but unable to escape it. Just like last episode, Jonathan’s investigation and the case aren’t front-and-center; he just grabs the skateboard and goes rather than hanging out at hotels or stalking his ex-girlfriend all episode. Much better.
In other news, "Bored to Death" has been renewed for a second season, which will begin production in 2010.