TV reviews: Eastbound & Down

By
From the February 16, 2012 edition

Moving forward a year since last season, we see that things have changed for Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) even if he still remains very much the same. Now pitching for the Myrtle Beach Mermen and enjoying the good life on the “Redneck Riviera” — strutting the shores with his Confederate flag/marijuana leaf-emblazoned body board, partying with his new catcher Shane (Jason Sudeikis) — Kenny seems without a care in the world.

But don’t forget, last season ended with April (Katy Mixon) telling Kenny she was pregnant with their child. When Kenny heads back to North Carolina for his son’s first birthday, it’s obvious how incapable he is of being a father.

Going by the first three episodes, Season 3 looks as unabashedly offensive (sensitive parents beware) as it is outrageously hilarious, but that’s the beauty of “Eastbound & Down.” Kenny is the most deplorable person in the world, yet watching his antics is endlessly entertaining, even to the point where we eventually root for him.

That doesn’t mean we’re supposed to identify with him, although sadly, I’m sure some out there do. Despite his narcissism, racism and self-destructive nature, we want Kenny to be the champion — more so in life than on the mound — he claims to be.

It’s unclear whether Kenny can earn the redemption he so badly needs, and creator Jody Hill (“Observe and Report”) is not one for happy endings; just look at the first season’s conclusion. But let’s hope Kenny finally takes his own words to heart: “Undaunted, I knew the game was mine to win. Just like in life, all of my successes depend on me.”