Eastbound & Down
For all of its shocking antics, the six-part HBO comedy series Eastbound & Down is everything you’d expect from the makers of such sort-of edgy, sort-of funny juvenilia as The Foot Fist Way and Pineapple Express. Danny McBride plays the egomaniacal Kenny Powers, a washed-up pitcher (think Rod Beck’s looks with John Rocker’s personality) who epitomizes every repugnant stereotype of the steroid era. No longer able to throw his trademark fastball, Kenny reduces himself to teaching gym at his hometown middle school, where he assembles a nerd entourage too starstruck to notice that he’s a cruel, disgusting pervert. There are laughs, and McBride has a way with gutter syntax (e.g., introducing his party date as “my fuck buddy”), but the tone is so uneven that the dark twists in the plot seem cheap.