east

“When life’s sun sinks in the west / lord, may I have done my best / May I find my sweet peace and rest / in that happy home of the blessed”

These are the words uttered as episode 6 of Eastbound and Down comes to a close, and as it was hinted at a week prior, Kenny Power’s sun seems to be sinking.

When Eastbound and Down started, it was the story of a man who was basically thrown out of baseball and forced to substitute teach. The story seemed like it was going to be about a man who learned to humble himself, and adapt to his new circumstances. We quickly learned that Kenny would refuse to do this, and that he would stop at nothing to get back in to baseball. Yet in last season’s faux ending, we saw him finally return to the majors only to throw it away to be with April.

The tragic ending was that Kenny careened of a cliff and died on his way to tell April how he felt, and it was a powerful ending. Kenny was the man who learned the error of his ways, but it was unfortunately too late (an ending I wish Breaking Bad had done, but that’s another story for another time). But then Season 4 begins, and well, it turns out Kenny is alive and well (A finale I just loathed, I mean it was a really touching ending until that) and that not baseball, not love, not family matter to him, all that matters is fame and glory.

Last week we saw Kenny was buying April Purses filled with money, installing pools, playing with water jet packs, and quickly compromising his future at “Sports Sesh”. He keeps “cutting in” to Guy Young’s segments, which not only compromises HIS future at the company, but the long time Janitor Clarence, who thinks Kenny is funny.

The home-front isn’t much better as Kenny refuses to go to couple’s therapy, which makes April inform everyone that she is considering “other options” to which Kenny replies that divorce is for losers, and that she’s free to marry their waiter, Marilyn Manson, if she thinks he can provide the same life.

Realizing that he could both lose april, and doesn’t want to, Kenny decides to do what he always does and throw money at the problem! It’s the same thing he did with his brother the week before (Kenny buying Dustin’s children Automatic Weapons was probably a Top 5 Moment of the show). Kenny tries to throw April a big party with her friends and buy her presents, but much like with Dustin, this doesn’t work on April. When Kenny tries to force April to sing Karaoke, she says “I don’t want any of this”, but she’s talking about more then Karaoke or a party. It culminates to one of the greatest scenes in the show in which Kenny has a complete meltdown about how nothing he does is enough for April and that he doesn’t want to go back to being her “bitch boy”.

It’s a perfect Eastbound and Down scene because it straddles the line of darkness and humor in the way that made the show was great in Season One. Kenny and April are having such a real, depressing fight in such a realistic scene, yet he charges out of the house still talking on a microphone and throwing jewels at people, It’s perfect.

It’s scenes like this that makes the show draw comparisons to that of Breaking Bad. We have a lead character who we may not root for, who seems to get worse and worse, and the show loves to play with our feelings towards the characters. But the difference with Kenny Powers and Walter White is that I think Kenny truly DOES want to make things right with April, but he just literally doesn’t know how. Making money and being famous is what matters to him, it’s what’s always impressed people. Kenny doesn’t know HOW to be a friend, or a father, or a husband, whereas Walter White DOES and yet chooses not to! Which is why Kenny earns some of my sympathies and Walter does not.

The Show does a brilliant job of getting us back on board with Kenny after his meltdown, that when he shows up to work to beg for his job with Guy, we believe him, and we hope Guy listens. Instead Guy goes into a long speech about how Kenny is a loser, and so is pretty much everyone who isn’t him, and that he could shit in his hand and the audience would eat it, because he literally is greatness.

Kenny reveals his microphone is on, that the audience heard Guy, and that he is thusly vanquished. I loved this because in any other show or movie I may have seen the hot microphone thing from the beginning of the episode coming back in the end, but they really tricked me here. They brought Kenny so far down, that I legitimately believed he was apologizing to Guy, and I thought Guy would listen, it shocked me when he tore Kenny down.

So In the end Kenny has lost his family, but saved his job, his enemy is vanquished, but will he rest in the happy home of the blessed or Careen of a cliff to his death again?

Side Notes:

  • Maria’s fake tits are just ridiculous.
  • Stevie Not Being Allowed at April’s party was classic.
  • Yes the waiter in the Roller Rink is played by Marilyn Manson; so bizarre.