Fans of hilarious, unrepentantly crude, and life-lesson-phobic television rejoice: HBO has just picked up Eastbound & Down for a second season, which will air sometime in 2010. I’m thrilled, because I was worried about its future. When Danny McBride’s comedy about a foul-mouthed, steroid-sticking, drug-gobbling, incomprehensibly arrogant, washed-up baseball phenom-turned-gym teacher began, HBO barely gave it any press at all. Usually, they send out multiple episodes of their series in advance (as they did with season 2 of Flight of the Conchords, which was premiering at the same time), but with Eastbound there was deafening radio silence. It seemed odd that they wouldn’t be bragging about having a Will Ferrell-produced project featuring a rising star like McBride, who had just appeared in two comedy hits, Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express. And yet we had to request a screener, just so Ken Tucker could give it an A-. It was as if Eastbound was the fat, racist family member the network didn’t want anyone to know about. When, in reality, Eastbound was the fat, racist family member they should have introduced to everyone.
I loved the show as soon as I saw it: McBride’s Kenny Powers was a masterwork of crudeness, so much so that I can’t really quote anything he said here. (Though I am partial to this statement from his motivational tapes: “If there’s one thing I hate, it’s losing. If there’s two things I hate, it’s losing and cancer.”) But I was amazed at how many other people discovered it on their own; it was so good that HBO couldn’t keep it a secret. I went to a dinner party during the show’s second week, and three different people, knowing I cover TV for EW, came up to me in a kind of weird daze, and said, “Have you seen this show Eastbound & Down? It’s hilarious!” They had this weird disbelievingly look on their face as they said it, as if they’d made this really weird and wonderful discovery and wanted to share it, but weren’t quite convinced it hadn’t just been a bizarre dream. I imagine this is the same look people have when they’ve just been abducted by aliens and seduced by a really hot martian.
I’ll be curious to see where season 2 goes. Kenny seemed humbled last season, even before his offer to come back up to the majors fell apart. Will he go back to being his self-centered self? We last saw him driving away from town, having dumped April — the old girlfriend he convinced to leave her husband and run away with him — at a gas station. Will he come back to town and get his gym teacher job back, allowing him to call a whole new class of kids some variation on the word “wuss”? Will creepy car salesman Ashley Schaeffer (Ferrell) be waiting for him with a crowbar? At least we can hope for a tearful reunion with his vaguely brain-damaged acolyte, Stevie.
Did you join the Eastbound cult? And how did you discover it? And do you have trouble quoting it in mixed company?
More ‘Eastbound & Down’:
Ken Tucker: TV Review: ‘Eastbound & Down’
Snap Judgment: ‘Eastbound & Down’ premiere
Danny McBride: The next Will Ferrell
Ken Tucker: ‘Flight of the Conchords’ and ‘Eastbound & Down’: Which ended funnier?