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A Reason To Be Cheerful: Eastbound and Down Season Dos

August 31, 2010

Cynicism is easy. When given a brick, it takes less effort and imagination to think “That is a brick. How poor” than it does to think “That is a brick. Used correctly, it could form a small part of a beautiful building full of awesome things. That would be so badass. Let’s drink some Heinekens, find some more bricks and build the shit out of this thing”. The first reaction to the brick would leave you with nothing but a brick, whereas the second would leave you with a beautiful building full of awesome things, or at the very least a pile of bricks and a healthy beer-buzz.

Every week (ish), Quitegeist spreads a thick layer of cynicism over the new entertainment releases. In a deliberate attempt to temporarily avoid cynicism, here is Quitegeist’s newest feature, A Reason To Be Cheerful, in which we take a look at the coming month and pick out one thing, whether big or small, that should help you to keep on dragging your feet through the debris-scattered hellscape of your insignificant life for a little while longer. This month, we look at Eastbound and Down Season Dos.

A Reason To Be Cheerful, September 2010

Eastbound and Down Season Dos: Deep Inside Mexico

Premiering on HBO in February 2009, the first season of Eastbound and Down told the story of Major League baseball player Kenny Powers (played by co-writer Danny McBride). “Several shitty years” after his career burnt out amid steroid allegations and too much partying, he finds himself back in his old home town living in his brother’s spare room, with nothing but a few porn mags, a handgun and a jet-ski to show for his past glories. Begrudgingly, Powers gets a job teaching gym at his old school and, with the help of fellow teacher Stevie Janowski, sets about a misguided attempt to get back into the Major Leagues while stealing his high school sweetheart from her fiance, Principal Cutler.

What was so great about the first season of Eastbound and Down, besides the fact that it is properly laugh out loud funny, was the tightrope the viewers had to walk identifying with Kenny Powers. In some ways he’s like the American equivalent of Alan Partridge. He’s unscrupulous, self absorbed and obnoxious. He does terrible things regularly, he’s completely unaware of his flaws, and he blames everybody else for his own mistakes. He’s washed up and yet he remains blindly convinced that he can get back on top. And yet, after a while, it becomes hard not to root for him, partly because of his gung-ho attitude to life and partly because of the very human layer of pain that’s sometimes evident beneath his surface. Everybody loves an underdog, even if the underdog is an asshole.

In the show’s first season, Eastbound and Down not only told a great story with an iconic central character, it also found time to be the most rock and roll show ever. In just 6 episodes it managed to fit in binge drinking, mushrooms, arson, topless jet-ski riding, ecstasy being taken at a school disco, cocaine being snorted from the barrel of a shotgun, and scenes of blatant improvisation and borderline corpsing. So what’s to be expected from Eastbound and Down Season Dos? Well, we know it premieres in the US on September 26th on HBO, and as the title suggests the action has now moved from Kenny’s home town to Mexico, so a lot of the first season’s characters won’t be present, although word is that Kenny’s devoted assistant Stevie has made the move with him. In terms of the show’s tone, co-creator Jody Hill recently gave a revealing quote to Vice magazine: “The comedy will be similar enough hopefully that it doesn’t throw people, but there are darker elements. And we are shooting on 35mm, so the production design, all the locations, it’s going to have a bigger feel. I think we did a good job at making last season feel like a movie, and more so with this one.” If the recent teaser trailer is anything to go by, one thing is for sure- Kenny Powers is fucking BACK.

Hopefully, the above words will have convinced some people to check out Eastbound and Down. If you’re one of those people, you won’t regret it. But if you’re still not convinced, if you won’t listen to my words, then listen to my dancing feet:

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