Film/TV

Death Becomes Him

Bored to Death, the HBO series adapted from a Jonathan Ames short story, has the Brooklyn hipster set giddy with anticipation. The show is about a writer named Jonathan Ames (played expertly by Jason Schwartzman) who, after breaking up with his girlfriend (Olivia Thirlby) and reading a little too much Raymond Chandler, decides to become a private eye, advertising his services on Craigslist, while palling around town with his editor (a riotously funny Ted Danson) and bumbling best friend (Zach Galifianakis). It's a hilarious and clever take on being a slightly aimless, slightly alcoholic young person, with the added bonus of eerie noir undertones. It's not surprising how spot-on the whole thing is, given how involved Ames has been in the project.

The 45-year-old writer, who is a fixture in the downtown performance-art scene, is known for his wonderful, semi-autobiographical essays, short stories and novels (The Extra Man is currently being adapted into a film starring Katie Holmes and Paul Dano). In addition to penning the script for Bored to Death, Ames says, "I was on the set from the first shot until the last shot every day." And since the Jonathan Ames character in the show is based on Ames himself, "Jason came to New York before we started shooting, and basically we hung out every day for a month. I think Jason ultimately is a much better version of me than me." So will Bored to Death do for scraggly Brooklynites who wear plaid and eat locally-farmed pork products what Sex and the City did for West Village ladies clad in Manolos who live off of Magnolia cupcakes? "I think that's unlikely," says Ames.

Bored to Death airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9:30 p.m.

Double the Flavor
Bored to Death is a show about a writer named Jonathan Ames based on a short story by a writer named Jonathan Ames, included in The Double Life Is Twice As Good.

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