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RATED NOT RATED
STUDIO HBO Studios
RUNNING TIME 311 Minutes
•Dinner with the Shaeffers extended scene
•Every Time Someone Fucked Up Our Show (outtakes)
Eastbound & Down follows deluded, burned-out, former major-league pitcher named Kenny Powers, who after fleeing his hometown in North Carolina spent a soul-searching Season 2 in Mexico as “La Flama Blanca” – and ended up returning to the States a changed man. Or is he? Picking up a year after Season 2 ends, the still-audacious Kenny brings his “f*#ked up behavior” to Myrtle Beach, SC – a tourist destination filled with fireworks stores, mini-golf and underage boozing – and somehow resurrects his baseball career as the closer for the minor-league Myrtle Beach Mermen. Even as he postures himself as the King of Myrtle Beach, Kenny struggles to come to terms with growing older, both in his personal life, and professionally with the arrival of up-and-comers (including a Russian pitcher) who challenge him in the league. Along the way, he befriends a veteran catcher named Shane (Jason Sudeikis of Saturday Night Live), a kindred spirit who ends up teaching Kenny a cautionary lesson about overindulgence.
Danny McBride, Katy Mixon, Jason Sudeikis, Steve Little, Elizabeth De Razzo
Kenny F’n Powers saves the best for last. You’re welcome.
Eastbound and Down season three brings our hero(?), Kenny Powers back home to the United States after a long and arduous journey through Mexico in season two. His adventures there included failures in cockfighting and at love, but also saw Kenny’s triumphant return to baseball. He successfully joined the Mexican Winter League and while donning the name “La Flama Blanca”, once again became a dominant relief pitcher. As season three begins, Kenny sets his sights on returning to glory and ultimately returning to the major leagues.
Sound ridiculous? It was ridiculous…and fantastic. Somehow season three tops it and delivers even more laughs.
The beauty of season three is that it takes what is already funny about the show and finds ways to freshen it up without seeming repetitive or rehashed. This isn’t just about a washed up Kenny Powers and his super ego or delusional outlook again. Season three is about Kenny’s struggles with fatherhood, his relationships with teammates, family and friends, and his alpha male battle with the new young buck on the baseball scene. If that all sounds oddly serious for this show, worry not. Eastbound and Down doesn’t play it straight while conveying those themes. Instead, it pretty much makes a complete mockery of them. Kenny fathers his new found son by adorning his room with “kick ass shit” like Playboy pictures and neon panther posters. He uses vibrators to make the child’s toy dinosaur (appropriately named Dildosaurus) walk across the room. Kenny and new best friend and battery mate Shane antagonize teammates with constant middle school banter in the locker room that includes racist comments and obnoxious dancing. Finally his struggles with accepting Ivan, the Russian fire-balling relief pitcher, onto the team are the most entertaining albeit ridiculous bits of the season. Kenny’s ideas of initiation and male bonding include ordering Ivan to enter a cave and “murder a rat” or scale a construction site naked.
As you may have guessed by now, a great deal of Eastbound’s genius comes from its myriad of awesome supporting cast members and cameo appearances. Will Ferrell himself returns as Ashley Shaeffer, car dealership mogul (who is actually a caricature of professional wrestling legend Ric Flair) to bring back more ridiculous hooting, screaming, racism and closet homosexuality. The character is genius. Matthew McConaughey also returns as slimey major league scout, Roy McDaniel, a character that allows McConaughey to go way over the top and deliver some great comedy.
Steven returns as fan favorite Stevie and is in fine form this season. He attempts to stand up for himself against Kenny at the request of his new wife Maria (Elizabeth DeRazzo), but it’s pretty evident his heart isn’t in it. Kenny Powers is his one true love. He fights this inner battle in his spare time between having sex with funeral goers in his car and shaving off all of his body hair.
The addition of Jason Sudeikis (SNL) as Shane, Kenny’s best friend and minor league catcher works perfectly as Steven’s (Steve Little) main competition for the position of Kenny’s personal lap dog. As if we weren’t enjoying Sudeikis’ work enough, he manages to up the ante as Shane dies suddenly, giving him the chance to reemerge as Shane’s much less fun (but yet hysterical) twin brother.
Another great addition to the cast is Ike Barenholtz as Ivan Dochenko, Russian pitching prodigy and DJ extraordinaire. His broken english war of words and wits with Kenny are without a doubt top highlights within a season that is full of them.
Kenny Powers has come a long way. From overnight sensation, to cast out, to substitute teacher, to independent league journeyman, to Mexican winter league star and all the way back again. You would think such a journey would humble a man. Maybe make him reflect on the importance of following one’s dreams and always remembering the things that are really important in life. Not on this show. Not Eastbound and Down. Not Kenny fucking Powers.
The only complaint I have about season three was the ending. The very ending of the final episode to be exact. I will not spoil it in this review, but I felt like the show hit a perfect endpoint with about 5 minutes left to go in the series finale. The subsequent “twist” just seemed a little cheap. Maybe the creative team lost it’s way for just a second and played this one angle too straight. It just didn’t ring true to me after watching this great show for three seasons. Kenny Powers wouldn’t go out like that. All in all, the ending does not take away from this season or series at all. I have already watched it several times and will again.
The two disc set comes with audio commentary tracks for every episode, most of which include McBride and various other cast and crew. These tracks are loaded with laughing and joking about what is actually happening on screen for the most part, but there are some funny behind the scenes stories as well. The “Dinner with the Schaeffers” feature is basically an extended take of the dinner scene with Ashley Shaeffer (Ferrell) and family. “Every Time Someone Fucked Up Our Show” is a collection of deleted scenes and outtakes. It’s a ton of material with varying quality, but there are plenty of extra laughs to be had in these special features.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars