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“Eastbound and Down”: A delayed reaction

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I may regret saying this but …”Eastbound and Down” has grown on me. Kenny Powers, the foul-mouthed, bellicose cretin at the center of the show, has grown on me. I can’t explain why.

I pretty much sat slack-jawed through the first episode, not believing what I was seeing, or hearing. It’s hard to describe specifics without giving too much away, but suffice it say that Powers, played by Danny McBride, is an ex-Major League pitcher in the mold of John Rocker. He’s not just politically incorrect, he’s just wrong on every level of his life.

We meet up with the mullet-headed Kenny a few years after he’s been drummed out of the game for a steroid scandal, and he’s hitting near rock-bottom. All he’s got to his name is his truck, his jet ski and his audio book of the Kenny Powers guide to life, a relic of the brief moment when he was a big wheel in baseball.

He’s now reduced to moving back to his North Carolina home town and moving in with his well-meaning older brother, his churchy sister-in-law and their three young kids, and he takes a job as the P.E. teacher at his alma mater, Jefferson Davis Middle School.

Powers’ old flame from high school days now works as a teacher there, and she’s Eastbounddmbb engaged to the nebbishy principal, but he’s determined to win her back, etc. He also reconnects with his hard-living, beer-swilling old friends, including the owner of a local dive bar, Clegg (played by series co-creator Ben Best pictured left), who helps Powers self-medicate.

The premise isn’t all that unusual, but the setting is. You can tell that the show is shot North Carolina with local extras. The tweens and teens in the middle school scenes don’t look like L.A. kids who are angling for their SAG cards.

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