Finding a new comedy show on TV can be a risky business. Sometimes it can be hard to tell from the first few episodes how good a series will become. Sometimes it can take more than an entire season to find its feet (I’m looking at you Parks and Recreation).
Despite a lukewarm reception to both Go On and The League, both are now staples of my comedy diet. So I tend not to put too much emphasis on the first few episodes of a show. On the other hand sometimes you can just tell.
Eastbound and Down tells the story of Jack Powers (played by Danny McBride), a washed-up Major League baseball player who moves back to his home town to teach at his local school.
Straight away some of you might know exactly what to expect. Danny McBride is not a name associated with subtle comedy. This is a show absolutely full of swearing and jokes about sex. It is completely crude, sometimes the joke is a sentence with a swear word in it. This is not necessarily a bad thing and the first ten minutes of the pilot episode used this to great effect. However, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere with it. The whole joke is that he is a washed up star with a man-child attitude.
Now, it might be that the show is finding its feet, but this is not really hitting the marks in the same way the creators/writers did on the big screen. McBride and Ben Best co-wrote the even more foul-mouthed medieval stoner fantasy epic Your Highness, whilst Jody Hill wrote the uneven but occasionally brilliantly deranged Observe and Report. Here, what they’ve written is fine it just doesn’t really work.
The acting from all the cast a fine, though there are several supporting characters who seem pretty insufferable.
Overall, this seems more like a SNL sketch stretched out into a whole series and from the first couple of episodes seems to be about as successful as that track record indicates.