Guess who's back from near-death?! Despite Eastbound & Down co-creators Jody Hill and Danny McBride's repeated declarations that their third season was always meant to be their last, HBO has now picked up the show for a fourth season of eight episodes. First of all: Hoor-fuckin'-ay. Second: What just happened?
Sunday-night television really put my emotions through the washing machine this week. While Pete Campbell was measuring himself for stereo coffins on Mad Men, Kenny Powers went out on a high/low note in the best series finale since The Sopranos left Tony holding Schrodinger's cannoli. I welled up a little when Stevie and Maria declared their independence from Kenny and choked laughing when he pushed Stevie's face in her tits. I was all set to bawl when I seriously thought La Flama Blanca was muerto, and ready to kill him when he came back with Ponyboy Curtis blond hair. What made Eastbound & Down such a cut above most comedies was its capacity to arouse real emotional reactions. Combining indie-film naturalism with '80s action-movie bombast, it was as truthful as it was absurd. The show could do something as willfully zany as the Ashley Schaeffer plantation subplot and somehow keep me invested in Kenny's moral development like it really fucking matters. As refreshing as it was to see such an unapologetic prick when Eastbound & Down started, it was equally exciting to explore the depths of Kenny's secret sweetness through the next two seasons.
It's obvious that the team behind Eastbound & Down are fans of Michael Mann's '80s archetypal series Miami Vice — the casting of Don Johnson as Señor Powers Sr. is just one of many shout-outs to Mann's sweaty Southern neon noir. Herewith, a tribute to Don "Eduardo Sanchez" Johnson and all things Miami Vice.
"The cop show just graduated to the '80s." A reel of every NBC (old slogan: "Let's all be there!") promo commercial for Miami Vice. "Feel it coming this fall."
Kenny Powers was a 1970s stuntman who ghost-stunted for the more famous Canadian stuntman/daredevil Ken Carter during a famous failed jump in 1976. Ken Carter publicly promised to jump the Saint Lawrence River in a Lincoln Continental augmented with rockets; the process of building the car and ramp was documented in a Canadian documentary called The Devil at Your Heels. Carter got ABC to pay him $250,000 to broadcast the stunt on Wide World of Sports, but as the date approached, he realized the jump was likely impossible and chickened out. (Evel Knievel visited the site and personally judged the potential for success highly fucking unlikely.)
Since talking about last night's episode of Eastbound & Down would be impossible without inventing an entirely new language, your palate cleanser from all the Oscar coverage is not a recap. It's a Kenny Powers dubstep K-hole. Let's motherfuckin' go!
"Kenny Powers" - Control/Kthulhu
This wobbly track from Control/Kthulhu is called "Kenny Powers," samples the man himself, and is perfect for recutting Season 1's MDMA-fueled school dance sequence.
The Hollywood Prospectus podcast is now weekly and free to cover any topics in the pop culture universe. To celebrate, Chris Ryan and I talked ... mostly about TV! Our conversation ranged from The Simpsons’ 500th episode to whether a Friday Night Lights movie is a good idea (we even supplied some better ones; you’re welcome, Peter Berg!). We also touched on the glories of Eastbound & Down, the sorrows of Life’s Too Short, the finale of Downton Abbey, and the continued zombie stagger of The Walking Dead. There’s even some talk about the Oscars and why, just maybe, we don’t care so much about them anymore. Listen now, and if you happen to know Josh Lucas (or his agent), tell him to listen, too! We’ve got the perfect part for him!
Liev Schreiber has taken on his first regular television job: the starring role in Showtime’s Ray Donovan, a family drama with comedy elements about a Los Angeles “fixer” who solves problems for celebrities and rich people but can’t work out the issues in his own private life. Sounds great! Only one question right now: How long through the first episode until someone yells out at Liev, “You’re the fixer fix it!”? Grade: A- [Deadline]