"You think we learned anything tonight?" -JonathanAs that exchange suggests, there really isn't a whole lot of depth to "Bored to Death," but in episodes like this one, it can be an entertaining enough trifle to compensate for its lack of ambition.
"No. But that's okay. It's good to stay in the dark about things. Keeps life interesting." -George
Just as the show tends to subvert private eye cliches by putting a neurotic Jewish pot-smoker into the trenchcoat, here we got to see a traditional boxing movie as seen through the eyes of three men not really qualified for it. (Well, two; George seemed pretty good, and he does already know krav maga.)
There were a few hints of growth - Jonathan moves on to a new girlfriend and decides he'd rather write about his private eye career than this kama sutra book he proposed, George finds a way to get back in with his ex (even if he has to be humiliated in public to do it), and even Ray seems on better terms with his girlfriend - but mainly "Take a Dive" was an excuse for more goofy humor. We got Jonathan finally seeming genuinely hard-boiled (but only because his blackmailer was so inept), Jonathan and Ray's exchange about Stella (Jonathan: "She's sexy as hell, smart, Jewish, has a great vaporizer..." Ray: "Sounds like your mother."), Jonathan using his New York Times book review as smack talk during the fight, and just the spectacle of Oliver Platt as Antrem in the boxing ring.
Plus, the episode just piled on the New York hipster guest star quotient, with Sarah Vowell (as the interviewer) and Todd Barry (as the blackmailer) joining the likes of John Hodgman, Platt and the rest.
I don't know that the series ever quite entirely found itself this year, but I laughed enough to want to give it a look again next season.
What did everybody else think?