Friday, March 6, 2009

Eastbound & Down

Ever since seeing Danny McBride in Andy Samberg's Hot Rod, I've been a fan of his bombastic assholitude. Since then he's gone on to memorable roles in Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder, and starring in The Foot Fist Way, as a small town Tae Kwon Do instructor. I dunno why I never gt around to reviewing that one- I'm buying the DVD and will rectify that soon. It's as hilarious as this show, which plays Monday nights on HBO.
In Eastbound & Down, McBride plays Kenny Powers, a has-been baseball player who used to be a pitcher with a killer fastball in the '80s. He still packs the mullet, the ego, and the attitude, but now has a beer gut and debts to pay instead of a magic arm and the world on a platter. He's living with his brother's family, working as a substitute Phys-Ed teacher at a local school, and drives around listening to his own audiobooks in a monster truck towing his Jet Ski. The show rides on this character he has created- someone so full of himself and obviously past whatever prime he had, and unable to let it go, that every moment of his life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel. There is not a likeable atom in his body, so unless you can laugh at someone like that, this isn't for you.

He's backed up by some relative newcomers who will be big soon. Katy Mixon (photo gallery), a busty brunette best known for Four Christmases, shows her comedic chops as the old flame Kenny holds a torch for; her husband, the school principal (Upright Citizens Brigade alumn Andrew Daly) is the perfect nerdy fan, but is still driven to apoplexy by Kenny's shenanigans. At home, Kenny's brother Dustin (John Hawkes, Me and You and Everyone We Know) and his wife Cassie (Jennifer Irwin) have their Christian hospitality put to the test, and the kids swerve from being terrified of their bellowing beast of an uncle. But he also charms them, because at heart he's just a kid who never grew up. But that kid is more like Eric Cartman from South Park than anything else.
McBride's Will Ferrell has an episode-long cameo as the sleazy owner of a car dealership, and who knows who'll show up next. His buddy and co-writer of the show Ben Best plays an old cokehead friend with aplomb. McBride was in Tropic Thunder, so I wouldn't be surprised if Ben Stiller dropped in sometime. Let's hope this has stronger legs than HBO's last 30 minute comedy, Louie C.K.'s Lucky Louie, which despite being hilarious, disappeared off the radar one season in. HBO has a bad track record with any show that's not a blockbuster, but this is the most I've laughed at a TV show in a long, long time.

2 comments:

Katie said...

1- It's not a monster truck, it's a Ford Bronco! I know this because I've always wanted an old bronco like his. I would look totally hot in one.

2- Lucky Louie blew. I'm a huge Louis C.K. fan but that was the most awkward sitcom I had seen in a long time. It was like watching a really weird play (super fake apartment set included) with some moments of hilarity. Eastbound and Down is very different and will hopefully not meet the same fate!

Tommy Salami said...

You're from the South, that's why it looks normal to you :)

But I agree that is the most appealing year of the Bronco besides the first few. And you'd look hot in one, if you dressed appropriately (Daisy Dukes, a tied off shirt, barefoot)

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