The men of Bored to Death love each other. Not in the sharing a bed sense, though the characters played by Ted Danson, Jason Schwartzman and Zach Galifianakis do that in Season 3, which begins Monday. It’s the sort of brotherly obsession that allows men tender moments between the homoerotic jokes.
Schwartzman plays Jonathan Ames, a struggling novelist who moonlights as a private eye, bumbling through Brooklyn mysteries such as stolen sperm and missing screenplays. The character is loosely based on the author Jonathan Ames, who is the show’s creator and once drove a taxi while he was a struggling novelist. During a dinner Tuesday to kick off the new season at the Waverly Inn, Schwartzman said he knew within two minutes of meeting Ames and watching him break crackers into his soup that he had found a lifelong friend.
“Our goals kept changing over this lunch. First he was this writer that I loved, then he became a teacher, then he became my son,” he told the cast and press gathered in the restaurant’s back room, which feels like a greenhouse converted into a cozy living room. “Then he became my brother, then we became sisters for a little bit. That was weird. Especially when we went to the bathroom together.”
The love goes both ways: Ames even got ordained so that he could marry Schwartzman and his wife in 2009. He said that from the moment he started writing Bored to Death, he had Schwartzman in mind for his namesake hero. Then he gave Jonathan Ames two best friends: Ray Hueston (Galifianakis), an illustrator of beautifully perverted comic books, and George Christopher (Danson), a relic of a magazine editor whose childlike innocence and love of marijuana make him a limited father figure to Jonathan and Ray.
They all have a tendency towards sexual misadventure and a self-involvement that prevents them from getting close to women but only strengthens their codependence on each other.
“Why aren't we emotionally available?” Jonathan asks his friends halfway through the new season after failing to deliver on a promise to the girl whose virginity he took. Ray’s girlfriend has just caught him cheating with an octogenarian (Olympia Dukakis) and George has blown things with his singing coach, played by Mary Steenburgen, Danson’s wife.
“We are, but just not to women,” George replies.
George shares his initials with another New York old media figure –- and the restaurant he opens in Season 3 is modeled after the Waverly Inn, which has renamed itself George on Jane this week, replacing its sign with the one used in the show’s production and offering themed cocktails.
“It’s named George on Jane because the George character has beautiful fond memories of a love affair he’d had on Jane Street,” Schwartzman explained. “He’s a very sexual character, like Ted, so it’s called George on Jane.”
Danson smiled his warm, square smile and took the mike to praise Ames and Schwartzman, who claimed he was wearing Danson’s underwear.
“I called Jason and I was so impressed he knew who I was because he’s a young person and he’s hip and I’m 63,” he said. Danson described Ames, who was struggling with a glass of spilled white wine and a pen leaking through the pocket of his new tweed jacket, as “one of the most unique, authentic, innocent, sweet, kind, perverted people I know, with a tinge of sadness, which is my favorite kind of writer.”
Galifianakis is shooting a movie in L.A. and had to miss the dinner, but Ames joked that he and Schwartzman, who was looking very hirsute after wrapping the season, were both wearing fake beards in Zach’s honor to approximate his presence.
“Even though Zach does come up to me before each take and say, ‘I can smell mothballs,’ and other rude, old comments, I adore him,” Danson said.
Oliver Platt, who thankfully returns this season to antagonize George Christopher, raised his glass to his costars as baskets of steaming, sweet rolls appeared on the table.
“I feel so bombarded with man love right now, I’m in a narcotic state almost,” he said.
Season 3 of Bored to Death premieres Monday at 9 p.m. on HBO.
See photos of George on Jane: