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Eastbound and Down: The Complete First Season - television series DVD / comedy DVD / HBO DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Danny McBride, Katy Mixon, John Hawkes, Andrew Daly, Jennifer Irwin, Ben Best
Creators: Ben Best, Jody Hill, Danny McBride   Distributor: HBO
DVD release: 30 June 2009   Runtime: 180 minutes
(2 discs)
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Features: Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Subtitles (English CC, English, French, Spanish), Select episode audio commentary, "Making Eastbound & Down," Kenny Powers: Greatest Hits, Schaeffer Motors commercials, Deleted Scenes (Sweet Shit We Didn't Use), Outtakes (All the Times Someone Fucked Up the Show), Stevie's Dark Secret

Danny McBridehas developed somewhat of a cult following after his hilarious martial arts instructor in Foot Fist Way, followed by his turn as the drug dealer in The Pineapple Express. In Eastbound and Down, an HBO series executive produced by Will Ferrell, McBride dives into a role tailor-made for him as washed-up ex-major league pitcher Kenny Powers.

Kenny was once a hard-throwing closer whose claim to fame was his 101 mph fastball and catch phrase after every strikeout (which can't be printed here). Through arrogance, drug abuse and an inability to get along with anyone, his career flames out quickly. He finds himself back in his old hometown, reduced to living at his brother's house and considering job employment as a PE teacher at the local middle school yet still clinging to delusions of grandeur, be it a return to the big leagues or rekindling a romance with his old flame, now the art teacher at the school (gorgeous Katy Mixon).

McBride's strongest comic gift is that he can take a character without any redeeming qualities whatsoever and still make him somewhat likeable. Kenny has nearly every bad quality imaginable: he's rude, cocky, foul-mouthed, sexist and racist. He takes advantage of the kindness of others as well as the few pathetic souls who still worship what Kenny once was. He also abuses drugs, be it steroids or coke. Still, McBride lets enough vulnerability peek through that you can't help but start somewhat pulling for the guy.

Not every aspect of the show works. For one thing, while the crude language is funny, there is simply no way Kenny could get away with using the language he does in front of his middle-school class, particularly at a school set in a small Southern town. Secondly, a few too many characters seem blinded to what a jerk Kenny is (save, thankfully, for his brother and sister-in-law, two of the strongest and funniest characters in the series). Third, the series seems to lose a bit of steam during the season; the first couple of episodes simply seem much funnier than the final two.

Still, the series is worth a look. It's quite funny for most of its run, and Kenny, obnoxious as he is, is fun to watch. (Note: two episodes feature cameos by executive producer Will Farrell as a hilariously smarmy owner of a local car dealership).

  • Making Eastbound & Down
  • Kenny Powers: Greatest Hits
  • Schaeffer Motors Commercials
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes (unlike some outtakes, these are hysterical, especially when Farrell goes off script as the car salesman)
  • Stevie's Dark Secret (darkly funny)
  • Audio Commentaries
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reviewed by Trent Daniel
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