Television Revision: Eastbound and Down – Season 2

Eastbound and Down S2

By Andrew Williams
December 3, 2013

Television Revision is a weekly feature in which our tuned in TV critic trawls through the best the box has to offer, giving you a primer on some of history’s finest shows (and warning you away from the specific episodes – or even seasons! – that might have ruined their reputation).

Now, this is a story all about how… Washed-up baseball pitcher Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is hiding out in Mexico after running off and destroying his relationship with former flame April Buchanan (Katy Mixon). Slowly, he becomes involved with a local baseball team and begins the long road back to professional and emotional redemption.

Eastbound and Down S2

Happy days: Your enjoyment of Eastbound & Down‘s second season (or any season, for that matter) will depend almost entirely on your appreciation of the comedy stylings of lead actor Danny McBride. The show commits so completely to the McBride approach that if you’re even a little bit out on him as a performer, watching it will be a mostly unpleasant experience. Any additional mileage will depend on how much you’ve invested in the lead character of Kenny Powers, a trumped up version of everything I’ve ever seen McBride do in every project he’s ever been involved in.

When I reviewed Season One, I summed up the series as full of unrealised potential, but hoped Season Two would start to bring the laughs on a more consistent basis. That hasn’t happened, and the series has gone backwards to a point where watching it was just a plain old chore. Gone are the supporting players from Season One, and in their place are more scenes for McBride and Steve Little as Steven Janowski (probably my least favourite character in the history of television comedy). My problem with the series is not just a taste thing; the comedy set pieces are deeply underwritten and the writers lean far too heavily on swearing and gross-out humour that doesn’t work because there’s no sense of surprise, as it’s not balanced out with anything vaguely normal.

The final frontier: If Season One was attempting to be the television version of a Will Ferrell movie, Season Two is the television version of an Adam Sandler movie. A recent Adam Sandler movie.

Eastbound and Down S2

Top three episodes: 6) Chapter 12. The arrival of guest stars Adam Scott and Matthew McConaughey gives the show a brief bump, but they still don’t have quality writing to work with. 7) Chapter 13. A return to the setting of Season One provides a few nice moments of closure, despite still not being particularly funny. 4) Chapter 10. The one time the show made me laugh is in this episode, so it gets an automatic pass.

Worst episode: Episode Two reintroduces Steve Janowski to the fold, and I remember greeting each subsequent scene he was a part of with rapidly unfolding horror. “They brought this guy back? Out of everyone, they chose this character?”

Season MVP: The best thing by far about this season is the music. Almost every episode has a featured song I would end up trying to hunt down online, and directors Jody Hill and David Gordon Green use music choices so well I temporarily forgot how little I was enjoying the rest of the show. Case in point: the use of the Miami Choral Society Children’s Choir track, ‘The Storm is Passing Over.’

1.5/5

Check out Andrew Williams’ previous instalments:

Television Revision: Eastbound and Down – Season 1

Eastbound and Down is available on Quickflix.

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