Stoner sitcom 'Bored to Death' is high comedy

Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan, Ted Danson as Ray,

Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan, Ted Danson as Ray, Zach Galifianakis as George wait in Leah's car in an episode from HBO's "Bored to Death." (Credit: HBO / Paul Schiraldi)

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THE SHOW "Bored to Death"

WHEN | WHERE Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on HBO

REASON TO WATCH Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis ("The Hangover"), the It Actor of the moment.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman) is a sweet, gentle, aimless 30-year-old who probably has a slightly overheated imagination that is fueled by the consumption of too much white wine and pot. He's a Brooklyn writer - some journalism, a little fiction, working on his second novel, or so he says. He has a reliable supply of weed, which causes his boorish and almost pathologically pubescent editor, Christopher George (Danson), to call him day or night for a hit.

Ames' girlfriend, finally, has had enough and she moves out, leaving Jonathan bewildered, adrift and (of course) high. On a fateful afternoon, his eyes fall upon a well-thumbed copy of Raymond Chandler's "Farewell, My Lovely." Aha! An idea: He posts an ad on Craigslist, advertising his services as a private investigator.

Moments later, the phone rings. Later, he tells his best friend, Ray Hueston (Galifianakis), that the rush of being a detective - even unlicensed, and not particularly competent - was thrilling. "It was an out-of-body experience. I was heroic."

BOTTOM LINE Danson here may remind some viewers of his Arthur Frobisher on "Damages" - not quite as homicidal, definitely funnier - while Galifianakis' Hueston brings to mind "Hangover's" Alan Garner, though not quite as drunk. What a trio of hapless, hopeless hopheads and yet . . . and yet . . . there's something lovable about them. They're definitely fun to hang with, and so is this show, which especially pops whenever Danson or Galifianakis drifts into view.

But "drift" may be the key word here - "Bored" sometimes lags and drags, as if it took a few tokes, too. But when it's funny - and "Bored" certainly can be - it's a winner.

GRADE B+

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