Sports comedy has been proven time and time again with films like Caddyshack, BASEketball, and Invincible.
Because you're not Kenny F*cking Powers, that's why.
Eastbound and Down is the story of a down and out Major League pitcher by the name of Kenny Powers, played with balls of steel by Danny McBride. McBride, along with costar Ben Best, and director/screenwriter, Jody Hill (Observe and Report), delivered us a pilot season earlier this year that's 1 part Talladega Nights, 1 part swap meet/monster truck rally, and 2 parts Miller High Life. It's as American as a beer with your peanut butter and jelly, and the funniest thing on TV since 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'. The fact that this show was conceived in a kiddy pool should tell you something about it. This is Middle Class America with a beer in its hand, a joint in its lips, and a f*ck you in its heart.
Kenny Powers, once the hottest pitcher in the MLB (and the most badass motherf*cker alive) has been let go from the league and all his sponsors. He's forced to move in with his brother back in his hometown, taking a job as a substitute PE teacher at the local Middle School, "just so the IRS can garnish my f*cking wages!" Not the ideal gig for a guy used to throwing Puerto Rican p*ssy parties with the Spoonman from Soundgarden. But here he is, living with his brother, Dustin, and Dustin's wife and three kids. Kenny's brothers' family provides a wholesome counterpoint to his crude and drug fueled lifestyle. His brother (played by HBO Veteran, John Hawkes) is the total opposite of Kenny. A reserved and quiet man, it is hilarious to watch him deal with his coked up, megalomaniac brother. "Turtle walk your ass out here, Dustin." Dustin's wife, Cassie (Jennifer Erwin) is even further away on the spectrum from the Kenny Powers persona. She's what Kenny calls a "church bitch." Cassie and Kenny have a somewhat genuine relationship as siblings-in-law. Cassie helps Kenny sell a bunch of his old sh*t on Ebay, and Kenny comes to her for advice about women. And he always seems to have an empty High Life can that she can throw away for him. Kenny's even so comfortable with their relationship that he has no problem waking Cassie up in the middle of the night when something goes wrong with Ebay. "Cassandra...In-Ter-Net."
There are others in Kenny's world outside of his new family unit. Co-creator, Ben Best plays Clegg, Kenny's drug buddy. Their entire friendship is summed up in their first meeting. "Powers, step into my office. Let's do some blooow," says Clegg.
"Finally, motherf*cker," responds Kenny, and what follows is one of the most accurate depictions of two dudes doing coke that I have ever seen in television, or film. Music and life is discussed with the utmost passion. Hugs are traded. At some point a left-handed mandolin is produced...good times. But Clegg and Kenny's friendship is founded on drugs, making me wonder how well it will hold up if one of them gets sober.
Just as Clegg is Kenny's drug buddy, Tracy (Sylvia Jefferies) is Kenny's f*ck buddy. Tracy must be short for Trainwreck, because this chick is a mess. Two words: dental dam. Not much more needs to be said.
Kenny's after bigger game than that trash bag Tracy though. A past flame is rekindled in the form of April "Bigcannons" Buchanon, and an enemy surfaces in the form of her fiancé and Kenny's new boss, Principal Terrance Cutler. Katy Mixon plays Kenny's past love and a teacher at the Middle School, and Kenny wastes no time trying to win her back, fiancé-be-damned. And Cutler couldn't be anymore clueless to the fact that Kenny's trying to bang his wife-to-be. He's just in awe that he's the boss of THE Kenny Powers. Andrew Daly is amazing as Cutler, playing an admiring and borderline obsessive fan to Kenny, as well as his condescending boss.
Kenny get's two more rivals in the forms of BMW Car Lot owner, Ashley Schaeffer, and Kenny's nemesis from the MLB, Reg Mackworthy, played by Will Ferrell and Craig Robinson respectively. Will Ferrell sports a platinum blonde wig and a two-sizes-too-small suit with no socks in his role as sleazebag car dealer, Ashley Schaeffer. Kenny seeks out Ashley, hoping to set up a celebrity meet-and-greet at Ashley's lot with Kenny as the main attraction. Kenny and Ashley's visions clash though, and when Kenny doesn't work out, Ashley brings in Mackworthy; the man single handedly responsible for getting Kenny dropped from the League. Craig and Will are classic in their roles. Will Ferrell's hair is perfect, and Craig Robinson is just getting funnier and funnier with each performance.
But if anyone on this show were to get the MVP award, it would have to go to Steve Little, for his role as the terrifyingly creepy band teacher, Stevie Janowski. Stevie and Kenny went to high school together. "I wore a cape sophomore year," says Stevie to Kenny on their first meeting in the Middle School lunch room. Kenny doesn't remember sh*t though, and shrugs Stevie off. But Stevie is persistent, and he feels he has a job to do by helping Kenny out of his slump. "Anything you want, Kenny Powers," Stevie assures Kenny. And he proves it time and time again throughout the season by taking the heat for Kenny, like when Kenny crashes Stevie's car drunk, or by driving him to Ashley Schaeffer BMW so Kenny can throw some bricks at the cars, or by pulling the school fire alarm for Kenny so he can get the whole school out front for his farewell speech. Stevie Little and Danny McBride are the shining light of this series. Each second that they grace the screen together is comedic gold. Their complete opposite personalities and life styles make for some of the funniest dialogue and interactions on the show. These two are the real reason to be watching this show...that, and Katy Mixon's beautiful, beautiful rack, of course.
Sports comedy has been proven time and time again with films like Caddyshack, BASEketball, and Invincible. These movies have shown us that sports are hilarious, and even more so, the people who play them; especially when those players are overweight drug addicts or deranged Greens keepers. Eastbound & Down taps into that classic notion that any *sshole can play a sport, but can they be good is the question?
Kenny Power's was good once upon a time. Hell, he was the best. Nobody could touch his sh*t. But Kenny has lost his pitch, and now he's back home, trying to not only find his pitch, but his destiny as well.
It's sports comedy, buddy comedy, and stoner comedy. It's crude, politically incorrect, and offensive. "I thought the blacks in Baltimore were bad, but they're nothing compared to these f*gs in San Francisco." It also has a few dramatic and tragic qualities. You have this superstar who is suddenly cast down to the bottom of the pit and finds that it can be real lonely down there. No one respects you. The only person who will blow you is Tracy. And nobody wants to give you "the time of f*cking day." It's sad to see Kenny, such a vibrant soul, shut down by all these pieces of sh*t that surround him. Kenny unfortunately finds out that people just want a piece of you when you're on top, and nothing to do with you when you're not.
But Kenny will bounce back. He just needs to listen to a bit more of his audio book, 'You're F*cking Out. I'm F*cking In' by Kenny Powers, so he can realize that he's still that man with a mind for victory and an arm like a f*cking cannon.
Get me paid, bitch.