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Eastbound & Down: The Fourth Season
HBO Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/13/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/14/2014
You know those annoying people who complain that there's never anything new and different on TV? I'm one of them. Every season, we get another bumper crop of shows about cops, lawyers, and doctors. Hasn't Hollywood run out of those stories yet. Every once in a while a somewhat original show sneaks through, but for the most, a lot of show are interchangeable. Fortunately, the growth of shows on cable has brought us some unique products, and few are as unique as Eastbound & Down, whose fourth and final season has just come to Blu-ray Disc.
Eastbound & Down follows the adventure of Kenny Powers (Danny McBride). Kenny was once a star pitcher in baseball, but he allowed substance abuse and lust to ruin his career. He moved back home to North Carolina, where he was reunited with his old flame, April (Katy Mixon). In addition, Kenny gained a sidekick/scapegoat in Stevie (Steve Little). After spending time in Mexico and Myrtle Beach in attempts to reclaim his lost baseball glory, Kenny has returned to North Carolina to settle down. He now lives with April and works at a car rental company. However, through happenstance, Kenny runs into his old friend/nemesis Guy Young (Ken Marino), who now hosts his own sports talk show. Guy invites Kenny on the show and he suddenly finds that he's discovered his way back to fame. As with anything he undertakes, Kenny goes overboard with the show, and begins to alienate those around him, including the new friends he and April have made. Will the hard-headed Kenny realize the error of his ways?
I consider myself to be pretty jaded and unflappable, but I often found myself being shocked by some of the material put forth in Eastbound & Down. Why? Two words -- Kenny Powers. Kenny may be one of the most bizarre characters every portrayed on television. His ego is so inflated that he has no idea what he is doing and how it effects others. Despite the fact that he constantly makes mistakes and bad decisions, he simply keeps moving forward, or rather, downward, and he drags everyone along with him. While life has highs and lows, Kenny's personal feelings about himself rarely dip because he is in such denial. Unlike Hank Moody onCalifornication, who is well aware of his emotional roller-coaster, Kenny assumes that it's everyone around him who has problems.
Therefore, Season Four of the series opens up a new can of worms in several ways. First of all, placing Kenny not only in suburbia, but in a ďcommonĒ household creates all sorts of bizarre situations in which Kenny insults his neighbors and introduces them to many a vice. Not surprisingly, Kennyís parenting skills arenít very good, especially when it comes to bringing home a family pet. Then, Kenny finds himself in the spotlight on TV, and, of course, he imagines himself to be the star of the show, when heís actually alienating others. And then we have Kennyís foray into mall food... All of these elements lead to jaw-dropping and laugh-inducing moments where Kenny does or says the last thing that any civilized person would. Itís this element of surprise which keeps the show going.
Which brings us to the series finale. How can a show which has brought us four seasons of paint-peeling profanity and a lifetimeís worth of scatological references end? With one of the weirdest finales ever, thatís how. Forget your Cheers or your MASH, this is how you close out a show. I wonít spoil it for those who havenít seen it, but it contains death, birth, jet cycles and surprising cameos. I was in total awe when I first saw this episode and when the Blu-ray Disc arrived, I immediately watch it again just to be sure that I hadnít dreamt the whole thing.
In some ways, it will be sad to see Eastbound & Down go, but the show had a good run and it certainly left an indelible mark. Kenny Powers proved that you can somehow love and hate a character simultaneously and I think that we are all secretly jealous of how Kenny says whatever is on his mind. In the process, Danny McBride grew as a star and proved that there is no one better at playing characters who are full of themselves, no matter the situation. Television is full of sitcoms, but it may be a while before we seen another one as wild as Eastbound & Down.
Eastbound & Down: The Fourth Season gave us all a new word for condiments on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment. The two-Disc set contains all 8 episodes from the show's fourth season. The show has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 38 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is very good, revealing every line in McBride's face and the depth is nice. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.8 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The music often provides palpable subwoofer effects. The TV studios scenes reveal good surround sound effects. The stereo effects display good separation and are detailed at times.
The Eastbound & Down: The Fourth Season Blu-ray Disc contains several extras which are spread across the two Discs. Disc 1 opens with a 90-second "Season 3 Recap" so that we are up to speed. The Disc contains the following AUDIO COMMENTARIES: "Chapter 22" McBride, Writer/Director Jody Hill, Consulting Producer John Carcieri, actors Steve Little, Jillian Bell, and Tim Heidecker: "Chapter 23" McBride, Hill, Carcieri, Editor Jeff Seibenick, Little and Elizabeth de Razzo; "Chapter 24" McBride, Hill, Carcieri, Little and Bell; "Chapter 25" McBride, Hill, Bill, Heidecker and Ken Marino. The AUDIO COMMENTARIES continue on Disc 2 with: "Chapter 26" McBride, Hill, Carcieri, and Little; "Chapter 27" McBride, Hill, Marino, Bell, and Heidecker; "Chapter 28" McBride, Hill, Carcieri, Seibenick, Little, De Razzo and Jennifer Irwin; "Chapter 29" McBride, Hill, Carcieri, and Little. The Disc contains 18 DELETED SCENES which run about 23 minutes. Of course, most of these scenes focus on Kenny and there are some nice moments here. Finally, we have an 11-minute reel of OUTTAKES.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long