'Eastbound and Down' recap: Kenny has a new roommate
The pudgy White Flame with a mullet strides through the sands with his boogie board, which is emblazoned with what could pass as his personal coat of arms, a marijuana leaf and a Confederate flag. (In fairness, the man is more than those symbols would suggest -– his board should also have plenty of porno.)
On his way to the shoreline, he does what he does best -– kick the sands of insult and alienation into everyone’s faces. He ogles the bikini-clad ladies, tells a black couple he admires their base tan, and then repels the locals by violating all known surfing etiquette.
Ladies and gentleman, hide your children because Kenny (you know what word belongs here) Powers is back for season three of “Eastbound and Down.”
It’s been said that travel broadens the mind, but in Kenny’s case it’s only made him fatter, and maybe dumber. He's abandoned his struggling south of the border persona of La Flama Blanca and is now back to a semblance of his former self -- an ace relief pitcher, now for a minor league club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Kenny really hasn’t changed that much, but the world around him has. The man who finally chased his father down last season (one Eduardo Sanchez, played by Don Johnson) has become a father himself. Kenny and April have a son, Toby -– a name Kenny hates because it’s a “slave” name from the TV mini-series “Roots.” Kenny thought his son should be called “Neill.”
If last season was about Kenny working out his father issues, we can see already that this season is about how Toby’s father anger develops. It’s safe to say after episode one that Kenny isn’t going to win Father of the Year award. Kenny’s inner child just isn’t ready to embrace the real small child from the same gene pool in front of him.
Much of the action takes place at Toby’s first birthday party. April has thrown a lovely bash for the little man -– balloons, cake, presents and even a magician -– then Big Daddy Kenny crashes the party brandishing a sexual aid. Let’s see the magician work with that thing!
We quickly see the special bond between father and son, which is to say, there isn’t one. When offered a chance to hold the chip off his block, Kenny says no. But Kenny says yes, yes, yes to drugs, alcohol and a host of laugh-out-loud inappropriate comments including one in reference to his son “Does he even know what planet he’s on?”
The party also reveals April’s exhaustion over essentially being a single parent. She asks Kenny’s sister-in-law if she ever regretted having kids and losing all her freedom. For shame! Mothers do not ask such questions, and April must be happy and fulfilled every single second of motherhood and never ever express doubts. But she has doubts.
Next thing you know, April and Kenny are enjoying a slice of their old life –- a kid-less evening of hard partying and getting into an unexpected but welcome fight at the miniature golf course. (Toby is being babysat by one of Kenny’s low-life clubhouse compadres, played perfectly by Jason Sudeikis, who is headed for a sycophant fight of the first order when Stevie returns.)
The couple returns to Kenny’s apartment to discover Toby is still alive and later Kenny confesses to April that he’s been lost without her.
Next morning, Kenny finds himself alone. Or is he? We hear a baby’s morning wail – and mamma is gone, gone, gone! (She left a note.)
Just a father and his son – alone and together at last!
-- Martin Miller
Photo: Kenny Powers crashes the party. Credit: Fred Norris / HBO