HBO takes a slapstick turn on 'Eastbound & Down'

TV Review


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Mullets on HBO, who woulda thunk it?

The premium cable channel, better known in recent years for its neurotic shrink dramas and culty comedies (think: "Flight of the Conchords"), takes a turn toward the slapstick with the broad comedy "Eastbound & Down" (10:30 p.m. Sunday).

Danny McBride ("Drillbit Taylor," "Tropic Thunder") stars as mullet-sporting Kenny Powers, a washed-up baseball star who winds up back in his hometown teaching gym class at Jefferson Davis Middle School.

"Sometimes when you bring the thunder, you get lost in the storm," Powers says wistfully in one of his few profanity-free moments.

Politically incorrect and proud of it, Powers moves in with his brother (John Hawkes) and family, where his profane tirades raise a ruckus.

The humor in "Eastbound" is a far cry from the cerebral comedy currently en vogue on shows like "The Office" and "30 Rock," but that doesn't mean "Eastbound" can't do sly humor that falls left of center.

When the middle school principal offers Powers a fruit smoothie, Powers replies, "Nah, I'm straight."

During one of Powers' screaming tirades, he comes to realize he's been in the wrong, but he continues shouting anyway, saying, "I'm not gonna stop yelling! Because that would mean I lost the fight!"

Will Ferrell is among the show's executive producers and the comedy in "Eastbound" is in the style popularized by Ferrell's films. There's clearly an appetite for that brand of humor, but I'm not sure it's the same audience that watches "Conchords," which will serve as the lead-in for "Eastbound."


Contact TV editor Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1112. Read the Tuned In Journal at post-gazette.com/tv .


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