Eastbound and Down: A Review

Lou CappettaAnalyst IIFebruary 16, 2009

If you have been on Bleacher Report at all the past few days, then you have probably noticed advertisements all over the sight for the debut of HBO newest original comedy program, titled "Eastbound and Down."

It debuted Sunday, Feb. 15 at 10:30 PM, sandwiched between "Flight of the Conchords" and HBO's current flagship original program "Big Love."

I have been a long-time fan of most of HBO's original programming. Shows like "The Sopranos," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Entourage," and "Costas Now" are some of the most well-written television shows ever.

While I will admit that after "The Sopranos" ended its run, I haven't gotten into the newer shows on HBO, I was hoping to change that with "Eastbound and Down."

Hailing from the minds of creator and star Danny McBride and executive producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, "Eastbound and Down" is the story of Kenny Powers, a  brash, hard throwing, mullet wearing, cocaine and steroid using, overweight relief pitcher who burst on the baseball scene in 2001 when he got the save in the final game of the championship.

Since then, however, Powers' career and behavior has gotten worse, and we find him now back in his old hometown living with his brother Dustin, played by John Hawkes (American Gangster), and his wife Cassie, played by Jennifer Irwin (Still Standing). It's your classic fish-out-of-water story.

Powers has taken a job as a substitute gym teacher in his old school, only to find that his high school sweetheart April (Katy Mixon, Four Christmases) is also teaching there, along with her fiance, Principal Cutler (Andrew Daly, Semi-Pro), who is so enamored with having the great Kenny Powers at his school he doesn't see that Powers is looking for a love re-connection with April.

The premise is funny for it's awkwardness, but it's been done plenty of times before.

I am not the biggest Will Ferrell fan. I like some of his stuff (Elf, Kicking and Screaming), and I absolutely hate some of his other stuff (Talladega Nights, Semi-Pro).

At his best, he is funny for being a child in an adult's body. At his worst, he is vulgar for the sake of being vulgar, low brow, and obnoxious.

Unfortunately, the premiere episode of "Eastbound and Down" was closer to the latter. If you closed your eyes and just listened, you could have mistaken it for "Talladega Nights" or "Anchorman."

The actors all play their parts well, especially the supporting cast, who really sell their disgust (or admiration in the case of Principal Cutler) for Powers.

I think the show has potential, plus HBO has only ordered six episodes to this point, so it may be worth it to give it a chance.

I probably will, but so far I really liked this show and this idea the first time I saw it...when it was called John Rocker's life.