The Kenny Powers redemption arc is tracing a whiplash pattern in this final season of Eastbound & Down. Every time it seems our hero is on the verge of reforming his bad boy ways, he finds a way to twist the moment inside-out, discovering new and uncharted realms of bad behavior in the process. It happens again this week at Spaghetti Night, a weekly get-together with the boring neighbors that April and Kenny crash after realizing they’ve been disinvited. (Well, April masterminds the party-crashing; Kenny would be content to stay home and watch TV while cradling his new robot pal.) Just as Kenny appears to be confessing to his drug use and attempted infidelity at the water park last week, he turns the tables by accusing Gene of having “unprotected oral sex” while Tel watched and jerked off.
That’s not how the rest of us remember it, but it’s another reminder that keeping to the straight and narrow is never going to come easy for Kenny Powers. Not that we’d want it to, judging from the so-far lackluster new cast additions on the domestic front. The problem with intentionally boring characters is that it takes a deft comedic touch to make them funny, and Tim Heidecker, whatever his past accomplishments (and I can’t say I’m super-familiar with Tim and Eric) hasn’t delivered. He’s just sort of henpecked and schlubby, which is the bare minimum the role calls for. Jillian Bell fares somewhat better as his ballbusting wife Dixie, but then again, she has a little more to work with.
Kenny’s work life is another matter. The season continues to reap dividends from the Sports Sesh storyline, which kicks off this week with a ridiculous Big Brother-style competition in which the panelists must slide through a “birth canal,” chug a beer, spin around a baseball bat, and so on. Kenny cares nothing for winning the competition, preferring to hang around the beer station, but fellow panelist Forney is fired up to win the Double Dog Challenge. This doesn’t sit well with sore loser Guy Young, and as we’ve learned, when Guy isn’t happy with a fellow panelist, he unleashes his attack dog Kenny Powers.
That’s what happens during the Dragon Boat Classic, a charity competition Guy invites Kenny to join, provided he can come up with a cause to champion. Enter Stevie, who proposes a baseball clinic for underprivileged youths (or as the charity inevitably comes to be called in Kenny-speak, “Little Black Kids”). The highlight of the episode may be Stevie’s “street talk” during the baseball session with the completely unimpressed youths. (“Word. Fresh. Badonkadonk.”) The lowlight is the continuing saga of Stevie’s limp dick (foreshadowed by Kenny driving over a rocket Stevie has set up in the street just before it’s about to launch), but at least that subplot appears to be resolved by the end of the episode.
The Dragon Boat race itself finds Guy reverting to form. Falling behind a team captained by the exiled Dontel and displeased with Forney’s poor rowing, he orders Kenny to knock their Sports Sesh colleague into the water. Kenny obliges, but it seems clear that he’s beginning to resent his position in the pecking order. The episode began with Kenny instructing his son Toby in the ways of the alpha male, by throwing chicken chow mein to his wolf Dakota. By the end Toby has learned the lesson, but Kenny has realized he’s not the alpha after all; he’s the wolf being thrown the raw meat. If we know anything about Kenny Powers, he’ll be looking to pounce on Guy Young sooner than later.
Lest I’ve given the impression that I’m completely opposed to weewee humor, I should note that my biggest laugh of the episode came when Kenny informed one of the costumed servers at Guy’s party that “your scrotum and some of your testicles are leaking out of your diaper.”
It’s not an Eastbound & Down episode without at least one scene of Kenny acting like a complete dick, and here it comes on the golf course, with KP overcompensating for his guilty conscience by frisking his neighbors for pocket change, tossing their golf ball away and running over Gene’s clubs with his cart.
I love that Kenny’s robot has become a continuing character. I think that robot is destined for great things before the season is over.
My favorite nonsequitur of the week: Guy Young describing Forney’s plus-sized wife as looking like a little boy. Even Kenny was confused.
Kenny: “The bell is for symbolisms.”
Stevie: “Every celebrity with a butthole wants AIDS, but this is not the 1980s.”