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July 30, 2014

'Eastbound & Down' Season 2, Episode 4 Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Oct 18th 2010 7:30AM
['Eastbound & Down' - 'Chapter 10']

Kenny Powers is a firestorm of vulgarity, a man obsessed with plumbing the absolute depths of humanity. We watch every week to see him do his thing: Curse, offend, string together misinformation, not bathe, and do it all with more flair and bravado than the previous week.

But, what can Kenny do to keep us interested? There are only so many hookers and drugs and friends and dress codes he can abuse, and how many references to sex toys and/or breasts before even Stevie himself says, "alright, Kenny! We get it!"

Everyone has different answers for those questions, and it's the job of 'Eastbound & Down' to keep us from finding them.

Turns out, Kenny's "proposal" to Vida had him back on top ... according to Kenny. But, then again, has there been a time when he didn't think he was the man? His delusions of grandeur being fueled by fan hysteria, a life with Vida and Tony, and jet skis ... lots of jet skis. It's how we should all go about "Makin' the world your bitch!"

Kenny's manager tried to help Kenny, using his own career turmoil as a cautionary tale, but it served only to confuse Kenny, and when Kenny's confused he lashes out with a stream of ignorance and profanity that often ends with him blacking out in a bathroom stall. As usual, Kenny missed the point, which was intended to make him get serious about baseball.

Vida made a point of dedicating a song to her friend, The White Flame, and Kenny took umbrage, insisting that he was her boyfriend. It was clear that neither were on the same page concerning their relationship status. With a prostitute and someone as oblivious as Kenny, this kind of thing could go on for quite some time, if only because Kenny's too wrapped up in himself. Stevie rekindled the Eduardo Sanchez issue, and Kenny quickly shot it down. He was happy, sexing Vida, and Stevie creeped-out even Kenny when he said "I wish I was your dick, man!"

Wishes can come true, and back at home they did for Stevie who showed that as much as he wants to be/thinks he is Kenny Powers, he has a heart ... and it genuinely cares for Maria. She came to treat Stevie, and through all his nonsense about scaring her away with his "alphaness," she made her move, and Stevie was indeed Kenny's penis ... a larger, one would imagine, cleaner version.

Kenny set up some studio time for Vida at Sebastian's mansion, and her debut song was eerily auto-biographical as she sang about a life with a lot less Powers. Sebastian's interest in Vida was clearly more than professional, another of the subtleties of life that fail to register on Kenny's radar. "I'm lying here, watching the stars. Wishing I was very far from here. He's lying next to me, and he's fast asleep. If he could only disappear. Oh God I feel so alone here! I wanna be free! I wanna be by myself, by myself, by myself." A catchy hook, for sure, but apparently you have to sing it to Kenny for him to get a clue. He started to pick up on the mood, and yet again misinterpreted it through his lens of self-involvement. Watching Kenny try to make the song reflect his own take on their relationship was sadly poignant, although watching him do the Kenny Powers remix was sadly awesome.

Showing how badly he missed the point of his manager's story, Kenny entered the next game on a donkey-powered cart to the dulcet tones of Poison while tossing beers to players and fans in true White Flame fashion. This got him ejected from the game, but the fans ate (and drank) it up. The show itself is an interesting take on entertainment, specifically sport, as it often throws the concept of "success" into question. To Kenny, success is recognition without accomplishment. To be loved regardless of why he is loved. He'll do whatever the public wants in order to get it, and baseball's not the ticket.

Naturally, Kenny was benched for the next game, and he did not take it too well. He insisted that giving the people what they want is the most important thing, and oddly enough, his manager thought it was baseball. Their shouting match ended with a "Kenny giving the finger" montage for the ages, even though he gave the finger with his thumb out, which completely dilutes the power of the gesture.

Tony accompanied a suspicious Kenny to the studio late at night, only to find Sebastian performing salacious acts upon Vida's "marginalia," marking the beginning of Kenny's descent. "I thought you were the whore with the heart of gold! Instead, you're a whore with a regular whore's heart!" Kenny proceeded to bust up Sebastian's studio in a fit of rage and heartbreak.

He bolted home, only to find Stevie and Maria wrestling naked inside each other. Predictably, Kenny took advantage of the only thing he could control in his life: Stevie. He made him break up with Maria out of spite/jealousy in the wake of his own romantic misery.

The only place Kenny can go to shock us, is down. He needed to hit rock bottom and have an actual moment of reality in his life. Who knew it would take the form of showing up hammered, "giving birth" to a soccer ball, tossing it in the air and shooting it with a handgun before tossing the gun to a young girl in the stands.

Stevie pleaded with Kenny to let him stay with Maria, but when Kenny said no, Stevie did what he does best -- he tried to make Kenny love him again -- this time by finding the enigmatic Eduardo Sanchez who turned out to be ... wait for it... Kenny's dad, played by Nash Bridges himself, Don Johnson.

'Eastbound & Down' airs Sun., 10:30PM ET on HBO.

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and he'll get you fries with that. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

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