10 Things You Must Know About the Return of ‘Eastbound and Down’

By  · Published on September 27th, 2010

Kenny Powers is the ultimate antihero. Powers is a man without self-awareness who lacks proper ethics and morals and sits right on the edge of narcissism. And yet despite his selfish and cruel antics, you like him. Powers is an idiot, but a likable idiot. Eastbound and Down is on a total free fall with very little genuine redemption and high points for Kenny. He’s mean-spirited, but unbeknown to the fact.

The show is now heading into its second season, and it places Kenny in the ultimate playground for terror and laughs: Mexico.

The first two episodes play on the possibilities you imagined, and hopefully we’ll see even more to come. A lot has changed this time around and there are things you all must be braced for.

Here are the top ten things to know about Kenny Powers (straight from Jody Hill) and what to expect with the return of Eastbound and Down:

10. The dynamic hasn’t changed.

“HBO have been very cool with us this season and they were cool with us on the first season, too.” It astonishes me at times what HBO allows Hill and company to do. People keep talking about the ambition of Boardwalk Empire, but where’s the love for tonal relentlessness ambition that will apparently go “darker”? According to Hill, “HBO was on board with everything we wanted to do this season,” and that’s another sign of why this season will most likely work wonders like the previous season.

9. Kenny Powers’s mullet is no more.

Kenny Powers’s mullet is a part of what defines Powers and his image. If anything seems to be missing from this new season, it’s his signature hairstyle. Hill said that it all comes down to the fact “He’s in Mexico and trying to fit in”, and that idea makes the hairstyle change even funnier. When you see Powers in Mexico, he sticks out like a sore thumb.

8. Why Mexico?

Hill referred to it as taking it there as an event for scope, “Bigger level with shooting with 35 mm.” If you watched the first season, you know it mostly took place in Powers’s old town where he was trying to start anew but failed miserably in the end. Now in Mexico, it’s bigger and not for the sake of simply being bigger. Hill wants to take advantage of the landscapes and make something cinematic for the small screen (a feat he accomplished).

7. Kenny Powers will most likely continue to learn nothing.

If you’ve seen the show, then you already know Powers gives countless monologues on lessons. After his non-triumphant victory he speaks of learning something, and Hill concurs, “He gives all the speeches on learning life lessons, but he usually learns nothing.” Powers is a man capable of little growth.

6. The drama is still here, in Powers’ view.

“If the attention isn’t on him, he’ll get upset about it,” yes, the self-infatuation is still here – where else would it have gone? With the simplest of conflicts Hill wants total meltdowns from the side of Kenny. “Kenny is set on a goal, but you don’t know exactly what it is,” and with that he seems more lost than ever raising the dramatic and comedic stakes of his current situation.

5. Still not looking for likability.

Right off the bat you see that Kenny still has that self-importance of, “Seeing himself as the star of his own film,” and it’s always felt that way. Aspects like this could make Kenny despicable, but as Hill points out you still, “like him and find him endearing in an odd way.” While he doesn’t feel that you need to like Kenny, many still can’t help it.

4. There’s still a heart.

Hill seemed adamant on the fact that Kenny Powers isn’t as shallow as he seems,”There’s a lot of heart to him. He’s got a lot of love in him he wants to give.” Early on this season, you don’t see that. But it will definitely be back. Hill assured that Powers would stay “endearing” and “heartfelt.”

3. Stevie and Kenny Powers relationship takes the next step.

(Spoiler Alert) The first appearance the lovably creepy Stevie Janowski makes in season two is a memorable one: he’s making off-putting love to a prostitute simply to find out what Kenny Powers is like in bed. At first, Hill scoffed at the idea of this being more than subtly homoerotic and creepy, but rehearing what the scene actually says about Stevie he seemed to agree. (Spoiler Over) Janowski has always shown a questionable affection towards Kenny, and here they seem to be playing more on that.

2. Stevie Janowski taken to the next level.

From the looks of it, there will be more Stevie this season and just like Powers, he’ll be shown in a darker and bigger light. With his introduction you see him working at a Starbucks, and it’s already sad. “I don’t know if what Stevie has done for Kenny has all led to bad things,” with working at Starbucks, it seems that way. And tying into the last point Hill doesn’t consider Stevie to be either, “Gay or mentally challenged, but I hear that a lot.”

1. It’s Powers, more extreme.

“He’s a loser,” but not that typical kind. Kenny is still, “on a downward spiral, and it’s best when things don’t go his way,” and it seems like the repercussions of that may be taken further. In the first two episodes you get a nice dose of lovable narcissism from Powers: he’s turned to a life of cockfighting, visits prostitutes, is still doing steroids, steals 20,000 dollars from Stevie, and takes a pleading man’s goat; the final example obviously being the greatest offense.

Eastbound and Down is at 10:30 on Sundays on HBO.

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Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.