After the first season premiered in 2009, Eastbound & Down and its main character Kenny Powers (the wonderfully vulgar Danny McBride) have developed more than just a cult following and this HBO series is widely considered one of the best comedies on cable. The eagerly awaited second season consists of seven episodes and, like the first season, can be viewed in one sitting, which makes a season more like a thematic sequel than an actual show. In the last episode of the first season, Kenny Powers left behind the girl he loved, April (Katy Mixon) and his hometown of North Carolina for greener pastures...This is why season 2, picking up right where season 1 left off, finds Kenny in Mexico.
Kenny, sporting cornrows, is in Mexico and using the alias Steve. This is more out of necessity than want, as he's been living off of the credit cards of poor Stevie Janowski (Steve Little). Kenny enjoys his life in Mexico, making money as a cockfighter with a new sidekick Aaron (Deep Roy) and becoming friends with his neighbor Catuey (Efren Ramirez). Still struggling to get over April, Kenny finds a new love interest in the form of Vida (Ana de la Reguera). The setting is different, but it's still the same Kenny Powers. Depressed as ever, Kenny sees his chance for a comeback by playing for the Mexican baseball team the Charros, owned by the very rich Sebastian Cisneros (Michael Peña) and coached by the nurturing Roger Hernandez (Marco Rodríguez). As Kenny begins to settle into his existence in Mexico, Stevie appears at his doorstep and reminds Kenny off all that he left behind.
The seven episodes are spread across two discs (with Ch. 7-10 on disc 1 and Ch. 11-13 on disc 2) and feature Jody Hill and David Gordon Green sharing directorial duties. Both directors know McBride and the material well and don't stray from the tone established by the other when handling their directorial duties. Despite its Mexico setting, season 2 was filmed in Puerto Rico and the locale is frequently beautiful, as well as being a good substitute for Mexico. Kenny Powers is as strong a protagonist as ever and McBride relishes in this character, once again turning his colorful use of profanity into an art form. The new additions to the cast are good too, particularly Deep Roy (who once played the Oompa-Loompas in Tim Burton's Charlie & the Chocolate Factory) who is surprisingly funny and vulgar while Rodriguez brings a distinct warmth to his role as the Coach.
All the episodes are written by Shawn D. Harwell, Jody Hill, and Danny McBride and it's been said that season two is substantially weaker than season one in the writing department. It's true that the writing is not as strong, but it doesn't seem like an issue of the writer's running out of ideas. In fact, credit must be given to them for not allowing Powers to be a one-dimensional character, which he could be very easily. There's still a knack for un-p.c. humor written around well-placed emotional material. The jokes take aim at anything possible, including a well-placed rant against 3D and while some jokes are not as funny as season one, the writing remains effective. The final scenes are pretty predictable, but still feel rather poignant. Some have said the tone has grown darker as well and it has, but perhaps only a notch above the first season. Any misgivings about this season aside, Eastbound & Down remains one of the best comedies on TV.
There are two surprise celebrity appearances, which are quite amusing. For those reading here, they'll remain a surprise. Eastbound & Down has been renewed for a third season, which McBride has said will be the final run for Kenny Powers. It's sad that such a brilliant show will end after such a short time, but it's best to end it on a high-note. This second season may not be as effective and creative as the first season, but most viewers will be happy enough with it to simply want HBO to bring on season three. It's the same Kenny Powers, the same mean-spirited humor, and the same raunchy material that made audiences embrace this character in the first place. Season two falls short of being brilliant, but it's a worthy companion to a great show.