Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Eastbound & Down

Smell the Movies
Smell the TV

Transmitted:February 2009 - April 2012
Country of origin:USA
Genre:Comedy of ego
Starring:Danny McBride, Steve Little, Elizabeth De Razzo
No. of seasons:4

Highly rated HBO comedy is a mix and match affair.

The plot:
Years after he turned his back on his hometown, a burned-out major league ballplayer returns to teach physical education at his old middle school. Still trying to reclaim his fame he starts on a comeback, righting his previous wrongs, but things, inevitably, have a habit of going awry.
(Synopsis taken from the Eastbound & Down Wikipedia entry)

HBO have a bit of a habit of creating shows that are critically acclaimed, though limited in mass appeal.
Here, they may have something that no bugger watches.
Though much loved by broadsheet critics and Guardianistas, this seems to have been completely ignored by the tabloid hacks, meaning that barely anyone seems to even know it exists.
Playing out as a comedy drama, with no recaps, this could be viewed end to end as a three hour movie. Six episodes in all, each just shy of the half hour mark, it certainly treats its viewers as grown ups, and there is also, pleasingly, a dearth of catchphrases, the script instead relying on either situational humour, sweary humour, or the uncomfortable, squirm in your seat comedy that Ricky Gervais so favours, lead character Kenny Powers a worthy successor to David Brent.
But then come some problems.
As a comedy drama, occasionally it does veer into sentimental territory, a tonal shift that sits awkwardly. You know how it goes. The music changes. Suddenly everyone gets dead serious and we are taught a lesson about life.
Get fucked.
Hate those bits but, luckily, they are infrequent.
Danny McBride’s portrayal of ultra-male Kenny Powers borders on the cartoonish, but it also treads a neat line in lampooning male machismo, showing us up for the imbeciles that we truly are.
Patchy, then, and occasionally as irritating as it is entertaining, with seasons two and three already in the bag, and a fourth on the way, I’m still not quite sure whether to persist with this oddity.

Find an episode guide here:

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