Last night’s season and possibly series finale of Eastbound and Down, the Best Fucking Show on Television, was probably the least “funny” episode of the entire show, for two reasons. On the one hand, the first three quarters of the episode in which Kenny thinks that he’s going back to the major leagues, stand in direct confrontation with the New York Times critic’s suggestion that the show would fall short without a redemptive arc. Just the opposite. This show would fall short because of a redemptive arc. The reward of a renewed career in baseball feels like an overly pat and traditional Hollywood conclusion, and feels disappointing and weak in the face of Eastbound’s relentlessly dark reality. Of course, that’s not how the show ends. Kenny Powers is not going back to baseball. And this is the second reason that the show wasn’t as “funny” last night, although it was just as perfect as always: this is some darkness right here. After the recruiter calls Kenny to tell him that the deal is off, Kenny looks at his family and the woman he stole away, and obviously can’t tell them the truth, he’s Kenny Fucking Powers, the Bullet-Proof Tiger. His brother says, “You better get going, it’s gonna get dark soon,” and Kenny says “Yeah, it is gonna get dark,” and five minutes later he’s ditching April at a gas station. Yikes.
This show needs a second fucking season, you guys.
I’m all for short-run perfection. There’s no reason to drive a TV show into the ground with unnecessary episodes. But this show can’t possibly be done. We need just one more season, and then we can put this in the museum with the other art. And I’m not just saying that because the season finale ended so inconclusively. I think when this show does end for good, there will be plenty of loose ends that will never be resolved. But if this season ran out the unreality of redemption, going all the way up and through the tragically failed victorious battlefield speech*:
then what is on the other side? If people don’t change, and if losers can’t win, then let’s see what that looks like. I bet it looks super sad and fucking hilarious.
*Not to mention last week’s incredible parody of the winning home-run stadium lights blow out at Schaeffer BMW.