Eastbound & Down – Season Three
Wasting no time in kicking things into high gear for its third, and reportedly final, season, HBO’s crass, low-fi, comedic masterclass has fast-forward more than a year from where we left off in season two’s south of the border finale, with Kenny “Fucking” Powers (the irresistible Danny McBride) reunited with the heavily pregnant love of his life, April (Katy Mixon).
Now in South Carolina as closing pitcher for the Myrtle Beach Minor League ‘Mermen,’ Kenny swiftly abandons any fleeting notions of parental responsibility and personal growth in favor of cruisin’ for college ass in his Can-Am Spyder – because, lets face it, the jet-ski just wasn’t overcompensating enough. As Kenny remarked in season two: “Sometimes when you bring the thunder, you get lost in the storm.”
Still sporting the mullet and cut-offs, and flanked by his equally obnoxious clone of a wingman, Shane (Jason Sudeikis, excellent), Kenny continues to wage war on good graces, good taste, and good manners, complimenting the base tans of black people, assaulting jailbait surfers, and generally piling enough, self-absorbed, self-centered, and self-serving, boorish bullshit on top of itself to reach the moon.
A man seemingly powered by booze, coke, and the inexhaustible, unworthy sense of his own ability and stature, the rise, fall, and ongoing drunken stupor of Kenny Powers is a staggering achievement in comedy. Danny McBride’s now signature shithead stands as a shining testament to the conceit that if you simply push a character full force, further and further into the realm of the unlikable, you will eventually come around full circle and arrive at someone who, through sheer force of will, has compelled you to cheer for him till you’re hoarse – or at the very least be so shockingly captivated that you can’t look away.
Specializing in profanity-laden, semi-delusional monologues that by now are almost a form of poetry, Danny McBride has really transcended the sub-par Will Ferrell knock-off that this role originally threatened to be. The fact that the casual racism, underlying misogyny, and spectacularly inconsiderate disposition comes off so naturally is what makes Eastbound & Down work so effectively. Where as another actor might make this material sound trite and overwritten, McBride never offers anything less than complete authenticity.
Alongside Katy Mixon are the returning John Hawkes and Jennifer Irwin, as Kenny’s long-suffering brother and sister-in-law, respectively. Also back is Matthew McConoughey’s agent and Will Ferrell’s used car dealer – Kenny’s nemesis. In addition to fatherhood, this final season also sees Kenny face fresh challenges on the field in the form of Russian pitching sensation, Ivan Dochenko. How will Kenny handle a pretender to his throne? We’re not sure, but if nothing else it’ll certainly be quotable, that’s for sure.