What impressed me most about [Danny] McBride in Foot Fist Way was its complete lack of sentimentality. Where most comedians and comic actors beg for the audience’s sympathy and love, McBride seems eminently comfortable inhabiting characters with seemingly no redeeming facets whatsoever. McBride’s deluded Tae Kwan Do instructor wasn’t a diamond in the rough who just needed a little love and direction. He was mildly psychotic; Foot Fist Way originally ended with him murdering his cheating floozy of a wife without suffering much remorse.

-Nathan Rabin, The Onion AV Club

The self obsessed man-boy isn’t a new character to comedy. Recently, we’ve seen its emergence in the form of Adam Sandler characters and all the loveable slackers in Judd Apatow movies. But where those modern day clowns eventually reach their inevitable moment of redemption through overcoming some sort of incredible odds and realizing their supposed destiny, Kenny Powers in Eastbound And Down has absolutely no interest in such pursuits.

Powers is cruel, egomaniacal, mean, reckless and hilarious in his ubridled selfishness. He’s the id reimagined by a generation raised without fathers and desirous only for their own fame in a world that’s only useful when it’s obedient and bending to their demands. But mostly he’s funny. The humour of it all rests in Powers obliviousness to his own absurdity.

We’re first introduced to Powers as a nineteen year old rookie, entering the final game of the World Series for Atlanta and “bringing the thunder” with a huge strike out before “getting lost in the storm” as a journeyman reliever whose constant drop in velocity finds him unemployed and miserable “several shitty years later.”

Like so many failures, Powers goes back home to take advantage of the only people in his life that will still allow him to take advantage of them: his family which consists of a stepped on brother and his not so willing wife. He somehow becomes a substitute teacher in order to give the IRS wages to garnish, and on his first day of work he comes across his former girlfriend and her new fiance, the principal of the school. Despite Powers’ flirtatious efforts toward his former lady friend, there seems to be more attraction from his awkward new boss and the creepy starfucker vibe that he gives off.

This one scene sets the table for the series. It’s got all the makings of a typical romantic comedy, only the viewer is left unsure if the romance will between Powers and himself, Powers and his former flame April or Powers and a sycophantic follower. Speaking of which, Kenny is also reintroduced to Stevie Janowski, a small memory from his early high school days which was pushed out to make room for newer, more important memories.

Shortly after, we see the first sign of Powers actually realizing he’s behaving badly when he catches himself yelling at his nephew and calling his sister in law a “church bitch.” However, instead of dwelling on the short moment of self awareness, Powers yells through the whole incident, even while apologizing, as if to hope that the noise will keep him from hearing. He then immediately goes to drown the threat of a moment of enlightenment with drugs and alcohol at a realistic watering hole.

Powers then goes on to completely misunderstand the well thought out speech that his brother gives him, that in any other television show or movie would’ve been the life altering wake up call that the child like protagonist so desperately needs. The big league pitcher turned P.E. coach. is so inspired to believe that he’s better than everyone else that he enters the school the next morning dancing to music that he only hears in his head.

Delusional, oblivious and hilarious.

Randoms

I wonder if we relate to Powers character because this is how we all secretly want to behave, but we laugh in order to cover up our guilt over that desire.

I thought the blacks in Baltimore were bad, but they’re nothing compared to the fags in San Francisco.

One thing I’d like to watch for throughout the series is the degree to which Powers is a clown. I wrote earlier about how the humour of the show comes from his obliviousness to his own folly. Even the idea that he used to perform in costume as a baseball player lends to this theory.

Her name is Rose named after Miss Kate Winslet in the movie Titanic

What’s his name? Fucking Shrek?

Sure, I’ve been called a xenophobe. But the truth is I’m not. I honestly just feel that America’s the best country and all the other countries aren’t as good.

For someone who is so self-obsessed, Powers is almost completely devoid of self awarness.

I play real sports. I don’t try to be the best at exercising.

Is that Manny from Modern Family?

Yeah I hurt myself, I hurt my nose.

I don’t want to interrupt but I just saw two six year old boys raping a girl in the hallway.

Can I wear the Scream mask?

I know I’m missing a ton of lines, what were your favourite?

Eastbound & Down will be airing on The Score television network at approximately 11:15 PM on Monday nights. Immediately after each episode we’ll have a review up reviewing reviewing the show.

Next week: