Kenny Powers is a former baseball star forced to grow up and deal with the consequences of his fall from fame. Although he is an egomaniac with a short fuse, you cannot help but root for him. Eastbound and Down follows his life as he is forced to make decisions that could ultimately show him there is more to life than being rich and successful.
Kenny Starts Over
In the premiere, Kenny is adjusting to his new life away from the professional baseball spotlight by moving in with his brother. In desperate need of income, he gets a substitute position as a physical education teacher in the hometown he once turned his back on. Although it is not an easy transition, the reunion with old flame April comes at exactly the right moment. Unfortunately, she is working as a teacher at the same school and happens to be in a serious relationship with the principal. By the wrap-up of the season, he accepts an offer to return to baseball in Tampa only to find that the deal has fallen through. He cannot break the news to his family or April, who has chosen to leave her fiance to join him, so he leaves them in the dust on his way to Mexico.
Across the Border
Powers’ story continues in the next season of Eastbound and Down with him recuperating in Mexico. He is now playing baseball for a local team and finds new love with a singer named Vida (Ana de la Reguera) after learning that April has moved on. Stevie (Steve Little) is his assistant and only real friend willing to stick around with the insults and ever-growing ego. Stevie finds love with a girl named Maria (Elizabeth De Razzo), helps Kenny reunite with his father (Don Johnson), and is there to pick up the pieces when their relationship goes sour. Eventually, the three of them decide to leave Mexico and go back to their hometown of Shelby. The reunion with April does not go exactly as planned as she is already pregnant, until she drops the bomb on Kenny that the baby is actually his.
Baseball and Fatherhood
Once again, it seems that Kenny has chosen the selfish route and landed himself on a baseball team in Myrtle Beach. Along with new player Shane Dog (Jason Sudeikis), the team does not care much for their similar bad attitudes and lack of respect for others. Powers makes a surprise appearance at his son Toby’s first birthday party and then gets a visit from April a few days later. Their reunion is short-lived as he wakes up from a night out with her to find that she has left him and the baby behind. Stevie and Shane butt heads over the position of Kenny’s best friend until Shane dies one night of an overdose. Dark clouds seem to loom over Stevie as he also runs into marital problems that drive Maria away, though there is no keeping the two apart. Powers struggles to deal with his own desires to play baseball while feeling stuck raising a son. April finally resurfaces to reclaim Toby, and Kenny accepts a job offer in Texas. At first, he is his usual stubborn self and wants nothing to do with family, but he quickly decides to quit baseball to become an honest man.
Eastbound and Down Wraps Up
The final season of the show introduces us to a brand new version of Kenny Powers. He has married April, and they have a new daughter named Shayna. Just as you may begin to think he is a changed man, it turns out to only be a screenplay covering for the reality of being a horrible husband and dad. Both are miserable, and he quits his job to dig into a stash of drugs. Season 4 seems to play out as a repeat of similar struggles between having a family and being famous once again. Working on a talk show called Sports Sesh puts him back in the limelight he cannot help but crave. In a change of direction, Powers seems to grow in complexity as he realizes that it’s finally time to improve himself and his relationships. An open-ended conclusion to the series makes it clear that Kenny Powers may resurface one day to pick up where the story left off.
An Underrated Favorite
Premiering as an HBO original series, Eastbound and Down seemed to fly under the radar for a lot of viewers. At times, it can be laugh-out-loud funny or surprisingly emotional as you cannot help but want everyone to have their own happy ending. Danny McBride shines as the rude and rugged star Kenny. The on-again/off-again main love interest is played by the charming brunette Katy Mixon. Additional regulars and major recurring cast members, such as Will Ferrell and Don Johnson, keep things interesting. You can watch Eastbound and Down online if you want to enjoy the jokes again or happened to miss any episodes. It is sure to be an instant classic for all comedy fans that enjoy crude, outrageous humor. Eastbound and Down did not win any awards, but it gained enough notoriety to get five nominations for outstanding cast, breakout star, best actor in a comedy, and best episodic comedy.