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Eastbound & Down Recap: Best Friends Are Dope

In addition to its quest to offend every possible creed, color, or sexual orientation, Eastbound & Down has always been concerned with what truly makes a man. Is it walking up to a wolf you got on Craigslist and chained up in your garage and feeding it a cut of Shop-Rite meat? Is it having an awesome car and blinding white suits? Is it being able to get it up? Or is it being a stable, reliable suburban husband able to tune out his own low-level depression whose wife says stuff like, “We have to stop at the gas station, I’m all out of pads”?

Guy Young’s answer would be the same as Kenny’s at his very worst. He’s all of Kenny’s shittiest traits wrapped in a Varvatos suit and Aqua Velva. He can’t even handle losing one of those bullshit obstacle courses on Sports Sesh, the non-competitive blow-up kind that Kathie Lee and Hoda would do after a few glasses of white. As soon as affable ginger Forney beats him, despite Kenny’s denials that Guy would really be that petty, we know better. Kenny pledges to protect Forney from Guy’s wrath.

But Guy’s flashiness has blinded Kenny to his utter douchery, and he’s not afraid to vocalize his feelings about their bond. “You’re fastly becoming my very best friend, dude.”

“A best friend is a good thing to be,” Guy replies smoothly. (Not for Shane, it wasn’t — we get a callback from Kenny to Jason Sudeikis’s role on the show.)

“Best friends are fuckin' dope to be.” When will Kenny realize that he’s Guy’s lackey, not his friend?

To illustrate said dopeness, Guy invites Kenny to be on his team in an upcoming charity dragonboat race. (“Ah, and this is Oriental in origin?”) But first, he has to pick a charity. All the flashy ones, it seems, are taken. The only one left is, and I quote, “poor black kids.” As Kenny and Stevie approach a basketball court in the hood, complete with a lone outdoor couch à la The Wire, Kenny asks, “Why are you taking me to the set of City of God?” These are Normal Poors. Kenny wants legless orphans with spinabifida. But Stevie insists that downwardly mobile neighborhoods are up-and-coming. “Dangerous minds, Urkel. White guilt, man, get with the program.”

Thus begins Kenny Powers’s Extra Innings After School Baseball Class, which involves KP sitting backwards on a chair in classic Cool Educator position, spouting slang words to prove that he can Relate to the Youth. He informs them that his mission is to improve their baseball field, which features, among other delightful idiosyncrasies, a used tampon stuck to second base. “[And] we’ll get a goddamn brand new couch,” he promises. 

April, meanwhile, is engaged in the social pettiness typical to bored people in McMansions: Dixie and Gene — referred to in previous recaps as the White People — have been excluding the Powers from Spaghetti Night and she wants to know why. (It’s because Gene told Dixie that Kenny punched him.) Kenny, being a dick, spins it so that April thinks she potentially offended Dixie when she got hammered at the water park. In actuality, of course, it all goes back to Kenny forcing the two husbands to keep his temporary lack of judgment with copious yayo and Hot Jessie a secret. The Powerses crash Spaghetti Night and April confronts Dixie. For a second there, it looks like Kenny is going to be honest about the night’s events, and he is, initially — but he turns on Gene, claiming that he got unprotected blow jobs and Tel watched, jerking off. Thus, he throws others under the bus to protect himself. Total Guy move.

Stevie is still having erectile dysfunction. It’s 100 percent mental. Kenny advises him not to wear as many plum shirts.

Guy’s dragonboat race charity event is about as showy as you would expect. Disgraced former Sports Sesh co-host Dontel Williams reemerges with gusto, intent on beating Guy’s team, and tells Kenny he’s glad to be away from Guy, who is a piece of shit: “And I’m not telling anything you don’t know.” Of course he’s not. But, again, blinded by the dopeness. Guy’s retort: “You’re just obsessed with me!” Of course he would think that. He also lamely insults Forney’s very sweet wife who brought a homemade pastry, and also is heavy, which you’d think would be a go-to dis, but no: “She looks like a man, with those man fingers, and I’m not gonna eat that fucking bullshit cobbler.” Even Kenny looks confused.

Ultimately, the dragonboat race is neck and neck until Guy orders Kenny to push poor Forney out of the boat because he’s supposedly dragging the whole team down. Kenny hesitates, but ultimately follows Guy’s orders. They take Dontel’s team and bring Guy’s AIDS (and Kenny’s Poor Black Kids) to victory.

“Feels nice to win!” crows Guy.

“Yeah, it does,” Kenny says halfheartedly. Let’s see if the rest of this season’s arc involves Kenny realizing that being a stereotypical macho poseur who has no qualms with pushing hapless gingers out of dragonboats isn’t what makes a man. Feeding that Craigslist wolf kind of does, though.

Extras:

  • Kenny cradling that robot like a baby.
  • Kenny: “The bell is for symbolisms.”
  • Maria needs to get her own show.
  • Can we talk about the number of flaccid penises, or parts of penises, we’ve seen lately? (On the show, not, like, in our personal lives.) It feels like more than usual.
  • The exchange when Guy and Kenny meet each others’ wives: Guy: “How’d you land a woman like that?” Kenny: “Fucked with her head for a while. Never fails. Your woman’s good, too, she looks like that one from Transformers.” Guy: [Super-sincere] “I met her in a bathroom stall.”
Photo: HBO