Episode Title: "Chapter 14"
"What makes a man, is it the power in his hands? Is it his quest for glory? Give it all you've got, to fight to the top. So we can know your story."
I never thought I'd be able to open a review with a quote from the theme song of "Orgazmo" by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. But for Kenny Powers and "Eastbound and Down," it just seemed appropriate.
Picking up over a year after the end of the second season, the third season premiere of "Eastbound and Down" shows us that Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is once again a star pitcher in major league baseball. Or at least on the MLB minor league team, the Myrtle Beach Mermen. Given Kenny's less than stellar physical condition, it's probably a good thing that he is now a closer for his team. And it's clear that Kenny still has some fire left in his arm despite his complete lack of discipline. Imagine what kind of ballplayer this guy could be if he actually dedicated himself to improving his game.
But instead, Kenny coasts by on his talent alongside his new friend and teammate, Shane (Jason Sudeikis); who also looks like he washed up in the majors before finding himself back in the minors late in his career. In the locker room, the rest of the Mermen barely tolerate the duo as they proclaim themselves the rulers of Myrtle Beach and act like they're the best players on the team.
For Kenny Powers, life is play and nobody plays harder than KP. Whether he's rocking a Confederate flag covered boogie board or getting high at all opportunities, all is right in the world for Kenny Powers.
Except for the baby. Did I mention that Kenny has a son named Toby now? Courtesy of Kenny's long time love, April Buchanon (Katy Mixon). Kenny blows into Toby's first birthday party four hours late while brandishing a dildo and acting like a dick. There's something oddly appropriate about that.
We soon learn that Kenny hasn't exactly been father-of-the-year, as April mentions that he's not paying his child support, he's neglecting his duties as a dad and he is still randomly sleeping with other women. In Kenny's defense, he tried monogamy for three months but it didn't take.
Hilariously, Kenny's gift for his son is a Playstation 3; which he argues will be better for the baby's eyes because of the high definition in blu ray disks. At the very least, Kenny isn't cheap about the gift, but he avoids physical contact with his son like the plague. When Kenny's brother, Dustin Powers (John Hawkes) and his wife Cassie (Jennifer Irwin) try to pass off Toby to his father, Kenny tries everything from hiding behind balloons to keeping his arms to his sides just to keep his physical and emotional distance.
In a weird twisted way, it's understandable why Kenny is so reluctant to embrace his son. Kenny never really grew up and he's enjoying his extended childhood well into his '40s. Having a son is supposed to change that. Instead of pretending to be a grown-up, Kenny would actually have to become one to really meet the needs of his son. And why should he do that when Kenny can just pawn off all of the parenting onto an over-stressed April?
Kenny even has the nerve to blame all of his relationship problems on April in the middle of Toby's birthday party, while cussing up a storm in front of several underage guests before offering up a toast: "To f***ing Toby! Not to f***ing him. To, like, he's cool." That's classic KP.
When April shows up on his doorstep with Toby in tow, Kenny plots to get intimate with her by setting up Shane to babysit Toby while Kenny gives April a taste of his life through binge drinking, cocaine and a night out on the town including carnival rides, miniature golf and the occasional drunken fight. Their antics on the golf course were especially funny when April attacked a woman who called her a bad mother while Kenny blamed the other woman's young son for his parents getting beaten down.
If nothing else, Kenny knows how to get a woman in bed. And he seals the deal with April by telling her that he's lost without her. But in the morning, Kenny wakes up alone, with a used prophylactic sticking to his face and April nowhere to be seen. But she left him a note telling him that she isn't herself and that she'll be in touch. She also left Toby.
It should be pointed out that Kenny once abandoned April at a gas station rather than admit that his return to the minor leagues had fallen through. In a way, this is April's revenge. Now Kenny has to be a father, whether he wants to or not. And if you're expecting the baby Toby to help Kenny experience personal growth and become a better person in the process… then you haven't been watching this show for the past two seasons.
Kenny Powers is incapable of change. Kenny Powers is going to be a horrible father. Between Kenny and April, Toby's gonna have issues his entire life. But it should be fun to watch Kenny trying to deal with the one thing he never wanted: responsibility.
Like it or not, Kenny's going to have to be a man now.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.