Lit geeks, amateur sleuths, and brownstone Brooklynites, rejoice! Our favorite HBO sitcom, Bored to Death, has returned for a third season — and last night’s premiere was a lot of fun. This year, it seems we’re looking forward to a whole lot of daddy issues: There’s Jonathan searching for the sperm donor who is his biological father, George coming to terms with his daughter’s relationship with a much older man, and Ray trying to grow up just enough to be a responsible part-time parent to his own baby.
Although we enjoy the show’s hilarious story lines and overarching themes, we get at least as much pleasure out of its details — the literary references, the in-jokes, the real, New York City locations. So, this season, we’re launching a weekly series of Bored to Death footnotes. Follow along with us as we go minute by minute, shouting out places we recognize and explaining some of the show’s oddball allusions — and feel free to point out anything we may have missed in the comments.
1:02 — Hey, the store where Jonathan is having knives thrown at him in celebration of his new book is one of our favorite Brooklyn spots, BookCourt!
2:08 — George’s new organic, local restaurant, George on Jane, is a hilarious parody of Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter’s exclusive West Village spot, the Waverly Inn. If you look closely, you can even see a ridiculous mural that riffs on Edward Sorel’s painting of downtown legends on that restaurant’s walls.
2:58 — Jonathan now lives in the apartment directly behind the clock in the recently converted Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower, at 1 Hanson Place in downtown Brooklyn. Although that’s a pricey address, he explains to his parents that “because of the clock, everything trembles once an hour. That’s why the rent is so cheap.”
4:32 — While Jonathan is waiting to track a woman due in on a train at Grand Central, he and George enjoy a meal at the historic Grand Central Oyster Bar, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013. “I don’t know if it’s the placebo effect, but I always feel so virile after eating oysters — like I should mount a woman immediately,” says George. “But you always feel like that,” Jonathan points out. In fact, although their stimulating effect was long considered to be an urban legend, a 2006 study found that there may actually be biological proof that oysters are an aphrodisiac.
6:45 — Oh, hi, Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee! Glad to see you reprising your role as Ray’s son Spencer’s “nice” lesbian mom.
9:30 — George’s “60 Is the New 45” profile appears in a magazine that’s been designed to perfectly mimic New York magazine’s layout, font, and style.
11:00 — George’s daughter Emily met her new, older boyfriend at séance. “We were trying to communicate with the original designer of Fiestaware,” she explains. In case you’re not familiar, that would be a wildly popular line of brightly colored, ceramic dishes that debuted in the 1930s — and the designer in question was one Frederick Hurten Rhead.
12:40 — Jonathan tells his client that the woman he’s tracking has disappeared into Room 1547 at the luxurious Iroquois Hotel in midtown. If you’d like to do the same, it’ll run you at least $370 a night.
22:18 — When Leah and Ray are in bed together, she’s reading Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children , and he’s paging through Benjamin Marra’s comic Night Business . (Thanks to Atomic Books for the ID!)