After four seasons, HBO's baseball satire, Eastbound & Down, starring Danny McBride, ended its run tonight.
Four years ago, Eastbound & Down - created by Jody Hill, Ben Best and McBride - made its auspicious debut with McBride playing Powers, an aging larger-than-life baseball pitcher who's despearately trying to hold on to what's left of his professional career. He's an obscene loudmouth who uses every drug imaginable. His best friend Stevie (Steve Little) is a loveable sychopant. Danny has the hots for April (Katy Mixon). There's a lot of partying and some baseball in the first season.
For Season 2, Kenny goes to Mexico in hopes of revitalizing his career. While they're in Mexico, Kenny reconnects with his scoundrel father (Don Johnson) and Stevie gets married.
In Season 3, April and Kenny have a kid. April dumps Tobey on Kenny, who has absolutely no parenting skills. Kenny signs with a minor league team in Myrtle Beach (Matthew McConaughey plays the scout who signs him) and finds a rival in the team's promising Russian closer.
In this year's Season 4, domestic life with April and their two children doesn't agree with Kenny. He gets a gig on a daytime sport talk show, but Kenny implodes just as the show drops in his lap and April files for divorce. As it turns out, Kenny and April stay together and move to New Mexico. The finale, directed by Hill, ends with a movie within the episode (Kenny's screenplay) that's fantastic, encapsulating the rest of Kenny's life and ultimate death in, of all places, Africa. Sacha Baron Cohen and Lindsay Lohan make guest appearances.
For me, Eastbound & Down stopped being riotously funny during the middle of Season 3 and continued to some extent this season. What started out as a hilarious vehicle for McBride had gone sentimental at times. But I'll always applaud the show for its sports theme, drug use, crazy characters, scatological dialog and outrageous scenarios. Though he's sure to continue to do well in movies, McBride may never find a meatier TV role than Kenny Powers.