After being gone for far too long Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is back, complete with a Confederate flag and marijuana leaf covered boogie board. thankfully the series is much better at keeping the laughs coming than Powers is at catching some waves in the season premiere of Eastbound & Down. We now find everyone’s favorite ballplayer in the minors in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina playing for the Mermen. Seemingly back at the top of his game (or at least as high as it can get in the minor leagues). Powers is always best when he’s cocky and arrogant, and since that’s basically all the time, having him getting a taste of success just makes it that much better. Hit the jump for more.
While this is Chapter 14 of the story kicking off the third season, Powers is starting the first chapter of a new story of success. Not only is Powers feeling food and pitching right down the middle, but he’s got a great new companion in the form of Jason Sudeikis as Shane Dog. There’s something special about seeing a couple blowhards in cut-off jean shorts and swim trunks cruising around Myrtle beach like they own the world. For more of my take on the third season premiere of Eastbound & Down, hit the jump. Of course, while Powers has a solid career going, his personal life with love interest April (Katy Mixon), who finally gets another chance to shine this season, still seems to be on the rocks, which makes things all the more complicated for the son they have between them.
Powers’ family is back too, and it’s great to see patriarch John Hawkes sticking with the series he started even after becoming the King of Sundance Film Festival in recent years. What works best about Eastbound & Down and still lingers in this season is two sides of a coin that has raunchy comedy along with a sad story of a guy trying to hold on to any fame or success he can get his hands on. It’s a tragedy really, but with some rough around the edges comedy to make it easier to swallow. McBride hits comedy and the sad side of the story effortlessly, and an Emmy nomination really should be in order, especially with this season, as it seems to hit the heart strings a little harder than the other two seasons in its approach to Powers’ shortcomings.
Eastbound & Down is more than a comedy series and Powers doesn’t understand what a childish disappointment of an “adult” he has become. Selfish and drunk pretty much all the time, his only real friend might be alcohol. Don’t think that my sinking into the serious undertone of the comedy series means the laughs are gone though, as Powers, Sudeikis, and the return of guest stars like Will Ferrell and Matthew McConaughey, along with series regular Steve Little, still bring the kind of comedy fans have come to expect. Powers’ gift for poetry (“This gorgeous sunset is rockin’ my nuts off.”) is still ever present and maybe better than ever.
Cretor Jody Hill and Danny McBride continue to bring some of the best comedy HBO has seen with a dark twist that works for those who appreciate quality drama under their comedy, and for others who just appreciate the series on a surface level for the crude laughs it delivers.
The third season of Eastbound & Down premieres Sunday, February 19th at 10/9c on HBO.