Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Eastbound & Down" to Stick Around

One of the best things about "Pineapple Express" was Danny McBride as Red, the dude who just wouldn't die and made birthday cakes for his dead cat.

Now, as the NYT's ArtsBeat blog reports, we can definitely expect to see more of McBride on the small screen. His "did they really just do that?" HBO comedy "Eastbound & Down" has been picked up for a second season.

When I heard McBride would be starring in "Eastbound & Down" I was thrilled. Weekly doses of McBride uncensored? Yes, please. McBride plays Kenny Powers, a redneck, ex-major league baseball pitcher--curly mullet included. Powers is unapologetically inappropriate at all times and enjoys the finer things in life like jet skis and ecstasy. I was really disappointed when my overall reaction to the first couple of episodes was, "meh".

I didn't hate it, but it was nowhere near as funny as I thought it would be. It felt like a skit gone too long or just too ugly. Or maybe it's that I'm not a fan of shows or movies about really stupid/ignorant people (see, "My Name Is Earl"). After a while, the joke gets old. It's not surprising that E&D is produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions, they're the guys behind Funny or Die, because Powers feels like a baseball version of Ferrell's "Talladega Nights" character, Ricky Bobby. The difference is McBride's Powers is more surly and has a harder edge. McBride doesn't bring any of that wide-eyed, innocent quality that makes Will Ferrell's know-nothing jerks somewhat likable.

Still, McBride is one of those comedic actors that can be funny without saying a word and he brings an authenticity to his characters that I love. That being said, I took the time to catch up on E&D on demand. The season is only six episodes long. I'm glad I did. The last three episodes make the series. Finally, I was laughing out loud. This was mostly due to the relationship that emerges with Powers' adoring nerd sidekick, Stevie (Steve Little). Here's a clip of Kenny and Stevie in action:

Look for Season Two in 2010.