Television Revision: Eastbound and Down – Season 3

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By Andrew Williams
February 19, 2014

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… Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) finally has some semblance of his life back, until his ex drops the mother of all surprises in his lap.

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Happy days: My experience with Eastbound & Down is one of diminishing returns. Back in the grand old days of the first season, I cherished the two times this often-appalling comedy made me laugh. They were special moments, both of them, but they’re long gone now. The second season and I had only one moment of mirth together. It was brief, fleeting and I can’t remember what caused it, though I was grateful. That gratefulness only grew as Eastbound & Down’s third season passed me by without eliciting one solitary laugh. It is a joyless parade of awfulness.

It would be easy to say that Eastbound & Down just isn’t for me. That’s probably partly true (and lots of people I respect and trust do love the show), but this is also a season of a well-regarded comedy where infant endangerment is a constant source of (ham-fisted) humour. When your closest comedic film relative is Baby’s Day Out, we may need to cool it on throwing praise around. Similarly, the absolutely constant stream of misogyny, racism, and homophobia reaches a level of saturation in this season where I could no longer accept that it was just the opinions and thoughts of the characters. When it’s as charmless, repetitive and imbalanced as this, I can’t give it a pass. Just the fact the writers put these words in the mouths of their characters and then try and redeem those same characters make that impossible.

The final frontier: This is the worst season of my least favourite ‘critically acclaimed’ television program of all time.

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Top three guest stars: 1) Lily Tomlin shows up as Kenny’s mother Tammy and injects the series with a much-needed shot of humanity and comic timing totally absent elsewhere. 2) Don Johnson is every bit Tomlin’s equal as Kenny’s deadbeat father – so much so I wished the camera would leave Kenny entirely and maybe follow these two around instead. 3) Jason Sudeikis is a welcome addition to the cast for the first four episodes, and it’s a genuinely good acting performance as he portrays two completely different characters.

Worst guest star: Will Ferrell, a man I otherwise admire and respect who nonetheless inflicted this show upon the world and shall never be forgiven, shows up as car dealership magnate Ashley Schaeffer in the second and seventh episode and is never able to fit in with the tone of the show as well as you would expect, going so far over the top he may never be seen again.

Season MVP: As mentioned, Tomlin runs rings around the rest of the regular cast with her effortless screen presence and crack comic timing. Her major episode is the only redeemable element of the entire season, and she’s a good example of how a great actor can elevate terrible material.


Check out Andrew Williams’ previous instalments:

Television Revision: Eastbound and Down – Season 1

Television Revision: Eastbound and Down – Season 2

Eastbound and Down is available on Quickflix.

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