“I knew a failed writer who was mentally and emotionally unstable. He believed he was a private detective.” So go the opening lines of Louis Green’s winning story in the New Yorker’s fictional fiction contest, which beat Jonathan Ames’ entry using exactly the same inspiration—Episode 4’s bumbling raid on a heroin den—but, naturally, Green casts himself as the hero and Ames the fool.
I’m pretty sure I really don’t like Zoe Kazan, and I’m definitely sure I didn’t like seeing Schwartzman spanking her, but that girl sure knows how to wear skinny jeans. If the camera adds ten pounds, then she must weigh about 65. Their brief roleplay session is meant to console Ames for losing the contest to his nemesis, and it seems to do the trick until the two are interrupted by a school janitor. On a different show, we might expect Jonathan’s job to be threatened by such a flagrant breach of accepted student-teacher relations, but this is Bored to Death, where kindly literary types are regularly given a free pass (also, there’s only one episode left in the season).
Jonathan takes the case of a virgin dermatologist who wants to elope with his Korean girlfriend Hee Cho, but her parents (the proprietors of a spa in Queens) don’t approve of him (probably “because I’m Irish,” the doctor presumes). Jonathan agrees to a biopsy of his mole and to deliver a letter to Hee at Spa Castle (which is distractingly referred to as simply ‘The Castle’). Ames uses Ray’s birthday as an excuse to bring the boys with him. It was a clever creative choice to stage scenes at the real Spa Castle, where we get a full frontal shot of apparently every young, thin and pretty aspiring actress in NYC who is ok with nudity. We also get a perfunctory shot of the men’s locker room, but the leads stay covered up.
“So Hee is a she who’s also a he?” Yes—Hee Cho is a “beautiful transvestite” who is trying to escape her domineering parents and steals $10,000 from the spa’s safe for her dowry. After the requisite and lightning-fast chase through a graveyard, Ames delivers Hee Cho to Dr. O’Connor and the newlywed couple sails off into the moonlight on a boat that looks uncannily like the Frying Pan. The doctor shouts the results of Jonathan’s biopsy as the boat is pulling away, but his voice is drowned out by the river. At this, George offers to put him in touch with a dermatologist, who is “much better than my urologist.”
Season 1, Episode 8: “Hold Me in Paradise”
What a difference a little make-up makes: Margaret Schroeder is enjoying the fringe benefits of her new career as a glorified hooker: Lavish clothing, decadent desserts, more flattering lipstick (seriously, where can I find that shade?), and a major attitude. Her reaction to Mme. Jeunet’s appeal for help getting rid of Lucy Danziger was priceless, as were here parting words to a falling-down drunk Lucy after bitch-slapping her in the lobby of the Ritz: “The next time won’t be nearly as pleasant.”
Nucky managed to get in a few zingers of his own, and not a moment too soon: Recent episodes have called into question both Nucky’s effectiveness as the unrivaled boss of Atlantic City and Steve Buscemi’s ability to inhabit a larger-than-life leading man. As revenge against Walter Edge for backstabbing him out of highway allocation funds, Nucky pledges his allegiance to Warren Harding’s potential presidential nomination on the condition that Edge be banned from the ticket. When Edge later assures Nucky that he’ll make up for his betrayal once he’s the Vice President, Nucky snaps back: “The only chance you have of entering the White House is on a guided fucking tour.”
For a few scandalous minutes, we are led to believe that Jillian Darmody is pocketing the money Jimmy has been sending to Angela; but we later learn the culprit is Agent Van Alden, who presumably has a change of heart, but only so that he can better deny his wife’s request for fertility treatments. I suppose that kind of logic makes a certain kind of sense to the terrorized mind of Van Alden, but it still felt awfully out of place.
The story behind Nucky’s lost child had better be pretty sensational for the show to justify keeping us in suspense for eight episodes; an offense that wouldn’t be quite as grievous if it weren’t hinted at in almost every one. This week, he tells Harding’s mistress he had a son who died—after denying to Margaret (among others) that he ever had any children. Given his wife’s demise and his pining in the windows of the incubator exhibit, a premature infant death seems a likely explanation, but it doesn’t account for the protracted shroud of mystery. We can’t rule out the possibility that Nucky is Jimmy Darmody’s biological father, which would certainly be an intriguing plot development—but let’s get on with it, already.