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February 13, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 13, 2009 |

Inarguably, the best parts of Pineapple Express are the scenes involving Danny McBride, the macho-dumb, drug-dealing snitch who energized a movie I thought too frequently otherwise fell flat. McBride — probably still known best to indie audiences as Bust Ass in All the Real Girls — completely steals Pineapple Express and were it not for the presence of Robert Downey, Jr., he’d have probably stolen much of Tropic Thunder, too. In his new HBO show, “East Bound and Down,” McBride teams up with his writing/directing partner, Jody Hill (The Foot Fist Way, and the upcoming Observe and Report) and creates probably the funniest television pilot I’ve seen since “30 Rock” debuted.

The show, which premieres on Sunday, tracks Kenny Powers, a once superstar MLB relief pitcher, whose catchphrase was “You’re fucking out.” He was the “man who could throw his ball fast as fuck,” but after his rocket arm began to fail him and he unsuccessfully resorted to steroids, he quickly flamed out and was completely driven out of baseball. Now, he’s just a “mashed-up asshole … trying to get his fuck on.” Broke as hell, Kenny is forced to live with his brother (“Deadwood’s” John Hawkes) and his church-bitch wife, and take employ as the small-town’s substitute coach, where he proclaims with cock surliness, “Yeah. Your new teacher cusses. Let’s get used to it, OK.” Kenny also runs into a fellow teacher, April “Big Cannons” Buchanan, his old high-school sweetheart, and tries to reignite the flame, but is shut down on the account of April being engaged to the high-school principle.

That’s pretty much the premise to “Eastbound and Down,” but it does nothing to capture the beer-swilling, dick-swinging hilarious ridiculousness of Kenny Powers. He’s a raging prick; a racist, redneck version of Ricky Gervais’ character on the British version “The Office.” He’s detestable, and completely lacking in self-awareness. He’s an egomaniacal fuck who doesn’t give a shit who he offends. The entire show is a series of crude, low-ballin’ jokes, and Kenny Powers is basically a more authentic, baseball playing, white-trashier version of Will Ferrell’s character in Talladega Nights, only a lot funnier (Ferrell also gets credit as an executive producer here).

Still, as crotch-grabbing hilarious as “Eastbound and Down” can be, it starts to wear thin after only twenty minutes or so. There’s absolutely nothing redeeming or likable about Kenny Powers, and while he makes for a great comedy vehicle, there’s nothing here to connect to. The show has zero pathos, and there’s nothing and no one to root for. Danny McBride is a scene-stealer, but it’s impossible for him to pull it off when he’s in every goddamn scene. Kenny Powers could be one of the funniest supporting characters on TV, but he’s too one-note to sustain himself for an entire series’ run.

Eastbound & Down Trailer - watch more funny videos

"East Bound and Down"/ Dustin Rowles

TV | February 13, 2009 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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