If you’re not watching EASTBOUND & DOWN…

…you deserve a midnight visit from this guy.

vf-mcbride1

 

Get with the program. It started out as hilarious, and it has become something so much more in the four episodes I’ve seen so far. Brilliant.

Here are my initial thoughts on the show from my Trailer Trash column in Inpress:

“…it chronicles the downward spiral of one Kenny Powers, former baseball great (his catchphrase: “You’re fuckin’ out!”) who blew his big-time career in a whirlwind of coke, steroids and egomaniacal, racially-insensitive statements to the media. Forced to move back to the suburbs and shack up with his big brother’s family, Kenny finds himself scratching out a living by teaching PE (no, not Public Enemy) at his former high school. It would seem like he’s hit rock-bottom but Kenny lives by a mantra that only years of entitlement can engender: “I am better than everybody else.” And despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he’s going to make sure no one forgets that.

Kenny is played by the magical and awe-inspiring Danny McBride, who basically picked up and walked away with any moments of Pineapple Express that James Franco hadn’t already stolen. He and collaborators Jody Hill and Ben Best (their low-budget comedy The Foot Fist Way brought them to the attention of Will Ferrell and Judd Apatow) are definitely testing a few boundaries with Eastbound & Down – it’s all very well to have a central figure who’s a buffoon (cases in point: David Brent, Alan Partridge) or a snarky bastard (paging TV’s Dr House) but Kenny is a full-throttle, all-American asshole who seems close to irredeemable. There are only a couple of scenes in the Eastbound & Down pilot that give any indication that he’s someone worth spending any time with. But McBride has an unruly charm that can’t be denied, not to mention an underlying sweetness that can’t stay completely buried. (One online pundit made a very astute observation: picture him as The Wizard of Oz’s Cowardly Lion. Works, doesn’t it?) Combine that with his utterly uncompromising performance – the first episode has him yelling insults at little kids, snorting lines of coke, insulting a variety of minorities and tossing a topless woman from his jet-ski (not a euphemism) – and you’ve got an anti-hero for the ages. Or at least the first half of ’09.”

And it must be said that the upward trajectory of Eastbound & Down makes me extra psyched for this little gem (brought to you by the same people):

You’ve got Faris, LIOTTA and a when-did-this-guy-become-piss-funny Michael Pena. You’ve got some jet-black Rogen. And you’ve got mo’ McBride. Be there.

ITEM! The New York Observer seems to think poor taste is something to brag about. Chumps.

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