I honestly can’t explain why it matters so much to me that Kenny Powers is successful in his fictional comeback. Only a disillusioned idiot would think the character is anything other than a low-grade blend of arrogance and ignorance that shouldn’t be allowed to continuously unload his pain on those who would care for him.
But it does matter to me.
The first episode of season three gave me exactly what I’ve come to expect and appreciate from Eastbound and Down. It hilariously celebrated the racist and amoral underbelly of white American culture, and it did it while showcasing more than enough soul to make me think, “This is an important show.”
Is it really? I don’t completely know yet. I know that it’s a show that gets brought up repeatedly by my peers in the 20s and 30s demos. I know that Kenny’s most defining quality is his stubborn adherence to a false confidence that unwaveringly hides a fear of reality’s burdens. And I know that I’m a little bit scared about the implications of those last two sentences. So yeah, if I had to choose, I’d say this is an important show.
I hope that I don’t root for Kenny to complete his comeback because I relate to him. I don’t want that to be true of me. However, I’m coming to terms with it. I’m a believer in the God-sized hole in people’s hearts, that every person needs redemption in some form or another. Eastbound and Down didn’t even try to be subtle on this point:
There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God zombie….My story is the story of a raging Christ figure who tore himself off the cross and looked at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said, “My turn now, c***suckers.”
The formula is simple. I get it. We’ve seen the story of struggle and renewal a thousand times. I just don’t get why I’m so desperate for it to work out this time around. Don’t screw it up, Kenny.