If you want a profession that offers normal hours, steady income and job security, consider doing anything other than being a writer. It can be an incredibly tough field to break into, but for those who stick with it and who truly love expressing themselves with words, it’s all worthwhile. The HBO series ‘Bored To Death’ explores an extreme case of writer’s block.

Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman) is a Brooklyn writer who is struggling with his second novel. His girlfriend has just left him and he has a lot of time on his hands. Inspired by a Raymond Chandler novel, he posts an ad on Craigslist advertising his services as an unlicensed private detective. Each episode, someone takes him up on his offer and he stumbles upon a wacky case.

Jonathan’s friend, Ray (Zach Galifianakis) is a struggling comic book artist. Also in the mix is George (Ted Danson) who is the editor of the magazine, Edition. Jonathan occasionally provides content for George, but more than anything, George relies on Jonathan for his companionship.

It’s really no wonder why Jonathan, Ray, and George have problems with their personal and professional lives: they spend quite a bit of time smoking pot and drinking to excess. Many of the conflicts that these characters face are their own doing. It makes sympathizing with them a little tough at times, but they are never malicious. Considering the career paths of the characters, none of them seem to spend a lot of time furthering their crafts.

Most of the comedy is situational. There are a few funny lines, but it’s really all about the improbable dilemmas that the characters get into. Think ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ or maybe ‘Seinfeld’ with a lot more drugs.

Look for some surprise cameos from some comedic heavyweights.

As perfect as Schwartzman is for his character, Ted Danson is the real surprise. His George is an extremely influential man but he often acts like a co-dependent child. Galifianakis’ Ray is a nice sidekick, but for whatever reason, he seemed underused.

Special features include: the making of ‘Bored To Death,’ series creator Jonathan Ames’ Brooklyn, deleted scenes and commentary.

The first season of ‘Bored To Death’ is a very good starting point for the series. It’s only eight episodes, so there wasn’t that much time to establish the characters, setting, situations and a consistent level of laughs. A lot of shows need the first season to built momentum before they really reach full speed a little later on.

Unrated          220 minutes         2010

When J.J. Ellis isn’t writing as the Allentown DVD Examiner, his Decent Exposure Radio can be heard on the air every Friday night from 10:30 to midnight (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or wxlvradio.com!

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