Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ambassador Kenny Powers: Season 2 Preview of Eastbound & Down

Sunday is challenging Thursday for the best TV-watching day of the week. Sunday morning you have your choice of political talk shows to watch how representatives from both sides of the aisle talk out of both sides of their mouths. Once they finish, the NFL begins.

If spending 7 hours parked on the couch watching football is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Finally, if the Sunday night NFL game isn’t for your liking (and really, how can the Jets-Dolphins snoozer be), HBO provides more than ample programming to keep you glued to the television.

A show that is worth dropping the $14/month that HBO costs, premieres its second season this Sunday at 10:30, and runs for 7 weeks on the reg, is Eastbound & Down.

For those not lucky enough to see season one, Eastbound & Down is the story of retired (though not by choice) major league pitcher Kenny Powers. Kenny burst onto the national scene as a hard-throwing, even harder-partying, bigoted, drug using, steroid-abusing, womanizing reliever whose ego grew to the size of Barry Bonds’s head. This attitude was tolerated as long as he was throwing darts, but when his fastball became more of a changeup Kenny ended up out of baseball.

Kenny didn’t have a smart retirement plan for all his millions. Just like part of the title of his autobiography, he was “fucking out” of money. He found himself down on his luck and forced to move in with his brother and his family in Shelby County, North Carolina. Kenny was living with his brother, sister-in-law and their three young children. Is there a better role model for impressionable youth to live with? All kids are eventually pressured to swear, smoke, drink, and fight. Isn’t it better they learn it at home, like Bing Crosby’s kids did?

Kenny’s goal in season one was to make it back to the big leagues. While waiting for his arm to get in line with that dream, Kenny passed the time as a substitute gym teacher at Jefferson Davis Middle School. Isn’t it time for places in the South to stop being named for people who led a rebellion against the country? I’m pretty sure in England there are no George Washington or Alexander Hamilton high schools. Plus they never dressed in drag to avoid capture.

It turned out the object of Kenny’s desire, April, also taught at Jeff Davis. April and Kenny had a history that went back to high school. She’s the one woman who Kenny gets butterflies for. Unfortunately for Kenny, April was engaged to the principal of the school. Fortunately for Kenny, April’s fiancĂ© couldn’t compete with Kenny’s bravado and they shared an intimate encounter at April’s house. More unfortunately for Kenny was when they did get together, he finished before it ever got started, if you catch my drift. This quick start embarrassed Kenny and he let his feeling be known on the subject. To which I quote, “I’m super super sad….I’ve been stripped of all my god given talents…including the talents to be able to have sex with any woman I choose, to throw a fuckin’ ball fast, or to not prematurely cum in my pants. Sometimes I just don’t even know which one hurts the most.”

The man should write for Hallmark.

Just like how Batman had Robin, Martin had Lewis, Thelma had Louise and Sacco had Vanzetti, Kenny has Stevie. Stevie Janowski was a teacher at Jefferson Davis, went to school with Kenny, and idolized him his whole life. Once Kenny returned to Shelby County, Stevie’s life improved greatly. That is if you consider emulating the archetype of an asshole an improvement. In Stevie’s case it probably was. Hanging out with Kenny gave Stevie confidence he never had before. Granted it was confidence to go shirtless at a party and openly display steroids in public, but confidence nonetheless.

Another person who capitalized on Kenny Powers’s return to the Tar Heel state was Ashley Schaeffer, he of Ashley Schaeffer BMW. Ashley Schaeffer is part Nature Boy Ric Flair and part Will Ferrell. Well, he’s mostly Will Ferrell since that’s who plays him. Ashley Schaeffer owns the car dealership that serves as the setting for numerous memorable scenes from season one. What other car dealership can you go to where if you’re a man and hesitant about buying a car, a saleswoman will give you a handjob with her mouth? Or if you’re a woman with the same caution to buy, a salesman will finger you with his penis? And people say the South is conservative.

This season involves Kenny Powers playing baseball in Mexico. He also dumps his 80’s style mullet for a more early ‘00s style cornrows. What could go wrong for a guy with loose morals in a country where college kids go each spring because the U.S. bars aren’t as forgiving on underage drinking and bathroom sex?

On Sunday at 10:30 we’ll all find out. Are you fucking in?

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