Bored to Death is an American comedy series that premiered on HBO on September 20, 2009. As of 2011, three seasons have aired, each consisting of eight episodes. 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. The third season premiered October 10, 2011. HBO cancelled Bored to Death on December 20, 2011. In June 2012, an HBO representative confirmed that discussions have begun about making a television movie about the series.
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.
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 on the 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.
In this season, Ray enjoyed the companionship of a much older woman, describing the relationship as “Elder Love,” and had his marriage proposal to Leah rejected harshly; Jonathan, shortly after his father revealed he had been sterile, appeared on “The Dick Cavett Show” and was contacted by a woman who had a lead on the records of a fertility clinic where Jonathan had been conceived, so both could identify their biological fathers; George opened a fancy restaurant in lower New York City known as George on Jane, opposed and then accepted his daughter’s decision to marry an older man, and fell in love with his singing coach.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this television series: