Friday, September 18, 2009

Bored to death in Brooklyn

Once again, Jonathan Ames confuses fiction with reality with "Bored to Death," an HBO series starring Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan Ames, a young Brooklyn writer who, feeling lost, turns to the moonlighting as a private detective. Hijinks ensue.

The real Ames talks (or rather, goes off on a tangent) with the Huffington Post about what it means to be known as a "Brooklyn writer," and if his new show, which is filmed in the borough (note the classic brownstone above), is intrinsically a Brooklyn one:

Well, for years, I had no money to travel. If I could have gone somewhere else, I might have written about it. For example, I would love to go to Tel Aviv. I think that's where the action is and, also, it's on the water, which I love, but it's expensive to go there, and also my parents, being overprotective and Jewish would be worried the whole time, which is a kind of paradox -- Jewish parents not wanting their child (albeit their middle-aged, bald child) to go to Israel. It has been calmer there lately, though, and I hope it stays that way.

I could probably afford to go there now, but with the show happening I don't think I can go there and live. To write about a place you have to live there. So, in the past, I was stuck here because I had no money and now I have a little money, though not too much, but enough to go to Israel, but now, because of the show, I can't. I have to stay here and stare at the computer and read reviews and write emails and feel nervous and close to the non-action. I guess I could do that in Israel, but it seems like I should do it here. Therefore my new-found freedom is an illusion, which I'm perfectly at peace with since everything is an illusion, anyway.

What I'm trying to say is this -- I still can't leave Brooklyn. Does that make sense? And so, like a landscape painter, who paints the world around him, or rather paints pictures of the world around him, this is the landscape around me, so this is what I write about. Something like that. Though I am intrigued by the idea of an Israeli version of "Bored to Death". I don't think Tel Aviv or Jerusalem has had an iconic Private Detective, though maybe those cities do, since I haven't read a lot of Israeli crime fiction, but it could be a great setting -- lots of trouble for a dick to get into over there. Anyway, I hope some Israeli TV person somehow creates an Israeli version of "Bored to Death," in the same way that we created an American version of the Israeli show "In Treatment."

Watch the trailer to "Bored to Death" below. It premieres Sunday at 9:30 p.m.


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