As Eastbound & Down begins its final season I think it’s time to reflect on all the life lessons we have learned from the show’s lead character, Kenny Powers, played by the awe-inspiring Danny McBride. For those of you who don’t know, fallen baseball legend Kenny Powers is the REAL AMERICAN ANTI-HERO. Walter White and Don Draper can eat shit. Oh, and he also happens to be a sharp satirical take on this wounded white male phenomenon that seemingly defines quality TV drama – but that’s besides the point.
In the words of La Flama Blanca himself, “I’m the man who has the ball, I’m the man who can throw it faster than fuck. So that is why I am better than everyone in the world. Kiss my ass and suck my dick. Everyone.”
Here are some life lessons he’s taught us over the years:
1. You should be defined by your past.
When we meet Kenny Powers he’s a disgraced MLB pitcher whose crazy partying and penchant for courting media controversy have left him broke and unemployable. He moves back to his hometown to take a job as a high school gym teacher, but he never stops living in the shadow of his former glory. Because of this he eventually claws his way back to the majors. And, unlike fellow reformed baseball vet Sam Malone, he makes sure that sobriety never, ever plays a role in his life. The life lesson: growth and change are overrated. You’ll never escape your past so honestly why try.
2. There’s no such thing as a quiet victory…
…Or a graceful exit. Like most of us, Kenny Powers has some haters. What the rest of us are doing wrong, however, is trying to approach these haters with some semblance of tact or social grace. That’s a huge mistake. A quiet victory is basically still admitting defeat. Kenny likes to ramble off long, impassioned speeches whenever he bests an opponent. Even when you haven’t yet come out ahead, make sure your enemies know how much you despise their very existence just in general.
3. A true friend should be taken for granted.
Kenny would be nowhere without his trusted sidekick and assistant, self-proclaimed “best friend” Stevie Janowksi – and you won’t ever catch him admitting that. Stevie takes hero worship to a disturbing level, but Kenny knows that’s just a prime opportunity to take advantage of a fellow human. From the moment he frames Stevie for a drunk driving accident these two are destined to be besties. All that shit about valuing friendship is fine but also consider your ability to abuse and leverage a person’s loyalty to your greatest advantage.
4. Act now. Apologize later.
Some of the more endearing moments on the show occur in the rare instances where Kenny admits he’s made a mistake and apologizes to one of his inferiors. Obviously they forgive him, since he is the man. Why worry about offending people when you can just back-peddle later on? It makes you look like an even more awesome person by pretending to be emotionally vulnerable in the half-second that you aren’t insulting someone.
5. You are an American and your consumption habits should reflect such.
Live like the filthy rich American that you are. What others may perceive as tastelessness you know to be pure unfiltered badassness. Develop a penchant for water sports and look into jet-ski ownership. Learn to self-medicate as needed (see: “I’m gonna have a fucking panic attack. I need four Xanax and two Miller Lites.” Sounds effective, right?) When your friend is dying of a cocaine overdose, make sure he consents to will you his sick custom-detailed truck. Life’s all about getting paid and getting laid. Don’t ever forget that talent is innate but swag can and should be bought.
6. The hair makes the man.
Kenny’s signature mullet commands respect and melts the clothes right off hot biddies everywhere. Being a person of substance doesn’t count for crap if you walk around looking like your average douchebag. Dress outlandishly, learn to rock a bro tank, and cultivate an iconic style reflective of your inner greatness.
(PS – I’ll risk redundancy in saying that Eastbound & Down is a satire. I’m a little worried someone out there is reading this and thinking that I’m an even more hateful affront to humanity than most of the real and fictional pro athletes our country idolizes).