Chapter Nothing: The Epilogue
by MOLLY LAMBERT
So I don't know about you, but I thought the Eastbound & Down finale was perfect. People seemed wary of this episode because the penultimate one was already so perfect it seemed mere folly to try topping it. But that's what Kenny Powers is all about; the dramatic gesture, the needlessly flamboyant exit, topping your own prior self-top.
I may have teared up slightly when we found out the baby was Kenny's. I didn't see it coming because I am very good at not jumping ahead in plots. I know everyone else figured it out the moment we saw April was pregnant, but I am kind of an idiot. Or maybe I just didn't want to think about it! Like Joan Holloway's baby being Roger's!
I don't understand anyone who didn't enjoy this season of Eastbound & Down. You will all miss Mexico secretly forever, just like Kenny. Comparisons to season 2 of The Wire are apt. Maybe it is my own personal affection for Mexico borne out of growing up in Southern California but I thought it was just as good as last season. I had no problem adjusting to the new setting and new set of characters. I miss them already.
The best way around the sophomore slump is a curveball. And after your debut you're always a sophomore. Somebody will declare you over every time you come out. Like as much as I wish the new Kanye album were all Workout Plans I respect that his creative journey zigzags. Although seriously cool it with the guest appearances Ye. And stop trying so hard to impress the elite rich white art world. They're not worth it at all.
Michael Peña's performance in this season of Eastbound & Down is my favorite thing of all time ever lately. His performance in Observe & Report is also a fucking tour de force, as is Danny McBride's cameo in that film. Several people whose opinions I really respect told me they hated Observe & Report, but they were ALL TOTALLY WRONG. One person who liked it a lot was Quentin Tarantino, another person is Molly Lambert.
I think Observe & Report is awesome. I think Seth Rogen is not totally right for the part, which seems tailor-made for Danny McBride, but that actually makes him way scarier because Rogen is so believable as a normal repressed guy who's kind of a wingnut. I think Anna Faris gives the best supporting performance in her already stellar career of supporting performances. I could write a sonnet about Jody Hill's direction.
I guess I love Jody Hill's direction so much because it's exactly what I aim for as a writer: sloppy enough that it looks like you're barely trying, but then the sloppiness is actually totally practiced and honed and purposeful. I like Jody Hill's Eastbound episodes a little more than David Gordon Green's precisely because they just fit my own aesthetic so deeply, which I kind of feel is Eastbound & Down's true aesthetic.
David Gordon Green is just more interested in traditional visual composition and nice shots and framing and other film school shit, and Jody Hill is decidedly not and always nails the tone perfectly. Tonal inconsistency is its own kind of tone. Some of the funniest things from the first season involved the complete personality shift in Principal Cutler. Fuck consistency. Fuck a direct route. Take the long way home.
I am still thinking about the Mad Men finale weeks later. Mostly I am still thinking about Megan, but that is the effect she seems to have on people. I know I didn't spend this much time thinking about Mad Men after last year's finale, where Don marched into a shitty bachelor hotel on a downtown New York City set in the rain. I don't even know if it was really raining or if that is just my imagination embellishing things.
But this year's finale I have felt compelled to watch again since the moment I saw it, although for whatever sado-masochistic pleasure-delaying reason I haven't watched it yet. Maybe because it will remind me again that Mad Men is over (and now so is Eastbound) and I need to find other things to enjoy in the world in the seasonal interim and I know nothing I replace them with will compare to my two truest televisual loves.
At least there's still 30 Rock, for the time being. And in a just world Parks & Recreation will come back soon. I would like Liz Lemon's next boyfriend to be McNulty. Can you make that happen world, since you have been so decent about granting my innermost wishes lately? God already greenlit a third season of Eastbound & Down, so I'll catch you motherfuckers on the flip next year in Myrtle Beach. I'M FUCKING AUDI.
Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She tumbls but not all that much, twitters all the fucking time, and is our nation's foremost producer of fuego.
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