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AICN’s First Review Of EAST BOUND AND DOWN, The HBO Pilot From Will Ferrell And The Folks Behind FOOT FIST WAY!!

I am – Hercules!!
A six-episode HBO comedy from the “Foot Fist Way” team of writer-director Jody Hill, screenwriter Ben Best and writer-actor Danny McBride, “East Bound And Down” follows a superstar major-league pitcher who finds himself reduced to serving a substitute gym coach. Besides McBride (“Pineapple Express,” “Tropic Thunder”), the series stars John Hawkes (“Deadwood”), Jennifer Irwin (“Still Standing”), Katy Mixon (“Four Christmases”) and Andrew Daly (“Mad TV”). “Noodleman,” an untested spy, says that at a recent screening he attended “the whole room was dying”:
Just saw the pilot for Eastbound and Down, the new HBO series starring Danny McBride (and exec produced by Will Ferrel). It's written partially by Jody Hill, who not only directed the pilot but also McBride's The Foot-Fist Way and the upcoming Observe and Report. The thing HBO is really trying to drive home is that, with recent R-rated comedies like Superbad, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder, etc, they thought now would be the best time to get in the Will Ferrel business, and wanted to bring characters like you'd see in those films to the smaller screen. They did a pretty fantastic job of it, too. The pilot, which was somewhere between 30-40 minutes, is laugh out loud hilarious from beginning to end. I'm personally pretty easy to please, but the whole room was dying, almost the whole time. The show's about Kenny Powers (McBride), who was essentially an all star pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. But, he gets cocky, and as he gets cockier, he gets less talented-- By the end of the first five minutes, in a gut-busting montage of Powers' baseball career, we see the rise and fall of Powers, and he's fallen so far he's living with his brother, his sister in law, their three kids, and just got a job at his alma mater (I think) as the sub gym coach. The way he speaks to people-- his family, his co workers, even the kids he's teaching, is consistently obscene, but he seems to get away with it mainly because of who he is, fallen idol or not. A perk of working as a sub for Kenny is being around his high school sweetheart, but that falters when he discovers she's now engaged to the principal of the school, a dimwitted, naive guy who loves Kenny quite a bit. The environment of the school is really quirky, which helps make it easier to swallow that a guy as abrasive and outrageous as Kenny Powers could get away with some of the things he does (which range from bad to abhorrent very quickly). His ex girlfriend and his brother seem to be the central heart of the show, and I like it better that way, rather than try to tone Kenny down and make him sympathetic, which would be nearly impossible if they wanted to retain the humor. Overall, it's definitely worth checking out, and with only 6 episodes ordered right now, I can't really forsee anyone starting the first episode and not wanting to keep up with it, just to see what fucked up thing Kenny does next (I can't even imagine, but the HBO guy promised there's some good stuff in store that even made him seem queasy). If you use this, you can call me Noodleman.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 27, 2008, 3:26 a.m. CST


    by Bob Loblaw Law Blog

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 3:26 a.m. CST


    by jaws8u

    does this start?

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 4:08 a.m. CST

    First review my ass.

    by Venardhi

    I sent you guys a review of this thing months ago. It was far less glowing because the show is pretty ho-hum as a whole. It may have played better in a theater but alone on my couch I was close to turning it off a couple times.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 4:19 a.m. CST

    I saw this at least three months ago

    by GregoryHarbin

    Although I'm thinking it was more like six. But, yeah, it was funny.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 6:42 a.m. CST


    by StarskyandHushky

    Lough-out-loud....Allow me to be the first to say: 'Plant'.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 7:52 a.m. CST

    FOOT FIST WAY was gash.

    by MaxTheSilent

    Absolute shit.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Saw it when it hit the net. Obnoxious male funny.

    by EvilWizardGlick

    Really can't have too many obnoxious male tv series can you.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 9:27 a.m. CST

    vulgar for vulgarities sake...

    by thecrimsoncurse

    and just straight boring. i never thought an actor could make the word "fuck" as annoying as danny mcbride has done here. the whole show is just crass in that red state, budweiser swilling, shotgun toting kind of way. i'll stick with "life and times of tim" thank you.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 9:56 a.m. CST


    by sonnierjay

    I thought that show was terrible; completely devoid of character development. Danny Mcbride plays the same character in every movie. I felt so bad for John Hawkes during that pool scene; you would think the director would make up a better shot where John wouldn't shake so much. Complete amateur crap.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 10:39 a.m. CST

    I thought this was going to be about Smokey...

    by expert_40

    ... and the Bandit!<br><br>Or maybe the like story of everyone's favorite actor / country and western singer Jerry Reed!<br><br>I was duped!

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 10:54 a.m. CST

    AICN left at the starting gate. Again.

    by V'Shael

    Thank god for talkbackers, who can point out that<br> a)this show was out and reviewed months ago<b> b)it wasn't all that funny <p> So we can sit back now and look at this "review" and say "Ha ha, AICN has fucking sold out again to Planty Mc Herbivore"

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 10:57 a.m. CST

    agreed. Foot Fist Way is awful.

    by necgray

    It's some of the most poorly written "comedy" in ages. It's inconsistent, the visual style screams mocumentary but it ISN'T, the narrative is all over the place... And McBride is the worst improv actor I've ever seen. I can see in his performance when he's ad-libbing. You shouldn't be able to tell from someone's performance when they're ad-libbing. If Fran Drescher in Spinal Tap can hide her improv, why can't McBride? His ad-libs also tend to be non-sequitirs or ridiculously over-the-top. Neither of which = funny. I don't understand his appeal at all.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Yeah I saw this in the summer

    by offput

    And it was ok. I wasn't falling over with laughter but it has its moments...

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Foot Fist Way was horrible

    by Garbageman33

    Horrible, I say. I don't even know where to begin with its horribleness.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Hmmm. I liked Foot Fist Way

    by My Mom Is A Whore

    I am truly alone in this world. :(

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:43 p.m. CST

    How much does HBO PR department pay?

    by Xiphos_2

    Or is the "reviewer" an unpaid intern they forced to write that plantastic review?

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:48 p.m. CST

    First review my ass as well...

    by FuckMichaelBay

    ...I saw this show 6 months ago. First review or not...This shit was funny.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Read the Script

    by Gap Toothed TV Boy

    I read the script a couple of years ago and it was painful. McBride's character was obnoxious and unfunny and none of the supporting characters were allowed to be funny at all. Curious if the pilot is the same way.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Fucking pussies

    by drturing

    "Can I wear the Scream mask" - finally a tv comedy with actual balls. Go back to your douche hipster Flight of the Conchords and your pathetic life and times of tim, which along with all the other sensitive she-ra hipster bullshit will be uncool in about... oh, six months ago. Foot Fist Way is one of the best films of last year.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 1:34 p.m. CST

    drturing, what are you smoking?

    by necgray

    Best films of last year???????? What exactly was good about that POS? The sub-par writing? The unfunny characters? The lo-fi filming technique that NOBODY took advantage of? Incidentally, I've never been able to tell when the guys in Conchords are ad-libbing. Wish I could say the same for McSuck.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Yeah Foot Fist Way sucked

    by mefrog

    Not funny. At all.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 2:25 p.m. CST

    foot fist way was shit..

    by DeviousMrBlonde

    .. plain and simple and I was even hanging with mary jane so I was in a forgiving mood. mcbride just came across as a painfully bad will ferrell wannabe. you could actually see the moments when he his brain was working trying to come up with something funny to ad lib with, which it invariable wasn't. this however, was surprisingly funny. I look forward to seeing where they go with it. he's so obnoxious and the characters around him so normal that it's funny in the best embarrassing way.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Here's where Foot Fist Way had balls when all else did not

    by drturing

    Fucking comedy these days is blighted by the simple fact that 90% of everything is a pale imitation of The Office, where Gervais and Merchant were smart enough to mix pathos with humor. In fact I thought the show was brilliant because it was depressing more than funny. We are now saturated in painfully horrible, pathetic imitations replete with awkward pauses and uncomfortable moments that try to duplicate the mannerisms of that show with none of the wit or commitment to the characters. That's the other crucial distinction - absolutely becoming the character with total whole hearted lack of irony. That's what is so amazing about McBride and Foot Fist Way - he isn't half hearted, he actually becomes this douchebag who does think he is awesome, without ever wryly letting the audience know, wink wink oh its offensive and embarassing but its just comedy. Fuck no! McBride and Hill go full fucking tilt. That's why a lot of Foot Fist Way you're not laughing. But when McBride hits one of his leftfield bizzaro lines he always kills me. I have loved the man ever since All The Real Girls, where his "i can't fuck" monologue was the stand out moment in the entire movie. It had me wondering if there was something seriously wrong with the person portraying that character. In other words, I like my comedy to have giant fucking balls instead of the twee, obnoxious, affected bullshit that clutters the airwaves with its hipster glasses and awkward pauses.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 3:29 p.m. CST

    btw im smoking

    by drturing

    some killer jack herer. does anyone have kristen stewart's phone number?

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 3:48 p.m. CST

    I've got her number

    by My Mom Is A Whore

    But I'm not going to give it to you<p>because I'm a complete bastard.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 5:07 p.m. CST

    This PLANT is brown.

    by Spacker Dave

    Time to weed it out.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Eagle vs Shark best indy comedy yet.

    by EvilWizardGlick

    It was amazing in it's office level of pathos. <p> I'm surprised it didn't get any attention.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:53 p.m. CST

    Eagle v. Shark

    by pussyslayer09

    could have been a lot better...but it was a complete waste of talent...i'm surprised we are even talking about it because the reason it didnt get any attention is because it "kinda sucked."

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 9:51 p.m. CST

    Didn't Fist Foot Way suck and tank at the same time?

    by TallBoy66

    I remember seeing that Chili Pepper motherfucker on Conan doing his Fist Foot Way bit and B.O.M.B.I.N.G. I'm sure this'll suck and bomb, too.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 2:32 a.m. CST

    "First review"... on lame AICN.

    by Zax2000

    OK, so what is the point of having a website/forum about all things geeky when you intentionally NOT review a show when it is leaked on the net? Its not like this wasn't out there months ago and hordes of us have already seen it. (I turned it off after about 15 minutes. It sucked.) I understand maybe holding back on a currently-running show when you get an advance copy, but when a show gets leaked onto the usenets FIVE F@CKING MONTHS before it airs, you just look like idiots and sell-outs when you post a "first" review the week that it premieres. Who do you think your audience is? We are the people who download all of the pilots in May/June/July when they get leaked and then hype them or scorn them before they air in the fall. We're the ones who got BSG its huge numbers when it went to series because we told everybody that the episodes that had already aired in the UK were unbelievable. We're the ones who told everybody to watch this amazing show "Lost" that had a pilot that was insanely better than anything that we had ever seen before. (I'm actually still disappointed that they added subtitles to the Korean dialogue when they went to air. I really liked the idea of not being able to understand those two, just like all of the other characters.) Stop pulling this crap. You're embarassing yourselves.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Eagle vs. Shark? WTF? Goddamn you are some total weaklings

    by drturing

    Eagle vs. Shark, I wonder if the guy who made that saw Napoleon Dynamite or a Wes Anderson film. I wonder if the guys who make Flight of the Conchords have seen the scenes in Extras with the agent. Grow the fuck up, no one cares about twee man children who adopt the mannerisms of oh so adorable gifted twelve year olds trapped in the bodies of undernourished dudes with receding hairlines. Flight of the Conchords is some pathetic attempt to merge mediocre music with mediocre comedy in the hopes of promising a full tv show. It doesn't. It's shitty music for people who think Tenacious D are too hardcore. You know what's funny? Paul Mooney, Happy Gilmore, Chris Rock's latest special, The Foot Fist Way, the original Office, Brass Eye, The Colbert Report. The only thing funny about hipster comedy is how some people actually find that shit amusing.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 7:43 a.m. CST


    by thecrimsoncurse

    you fucking hipster pussy wipes! "you're fuckin' out!!!" cower on your knees in the presence of my mullet of manhood. you 12 year old manchildren can't handle my southern drawl, you fuckin piss pants! i'll throw you off my jetski and won't even give a fuck! won't even give a fuck!!! my balls are huge!

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 9:17 a.m. CST

    So we need another show about goofy losers?

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I'll stick with Sons of Anarchy thank you very much.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 9:27 a.m. CST

    pussyslayer09, Sucked because you failed to understand it.

    by EvilWizardGlick

    Did you get the father son relationship? <p> Did you laugh at the guy in the wheelchair section? <p> How about the Twin Towers candle? <p> The movie falls in place at the end. That is about the point where the full depth of the emotional understanding falls. <p> It is a sad and weirdly funny film.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Fuck me.

    by Lost Jarv

    Why not just publish the press release. <P>It'd be more honest.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 12:30 p.m. CST

    It's not a plant because...

    by Droid

    the dude spelt Will Ferrells name wrong.<p>DOYOYOYOYOYOYOYOYOYOYING!!!!!!

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 12:32 p.m. CST

    i liked The Foot Fist Way. a lot. but EB&D is kinda lame.

    by Holodigm

    getting money from HBO, and the show still has the look of 20 bucks. they need a DP that knows how to make it not look like shit, actors that aren't embarrassed by their lines (lookin' at you Hawkes), and material that isn't Foot Fist Way 2.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 3:43 p.m. CST

    drturing, balls do not = funny

    by necgray

    Being willing to say and do things that others aren't doesn't give you balls, first off. In the case of Foot Fist Way, it was more lack of a brain cell than "balls". And by your naming of an Adam Sandler film in your "you must watch" list, you've outed yourself as a comedy cretin. Hooray for stupidity! Do you have the Special Editions of the Larry the Cable Guy DVDs, too?

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 7:33 p.m. CST


    by drturing

    punch drunk love is wayyyy better than happy gilmore, but if you don't think the origin of "you eat pieces of shit for breakfast" is funny, then you're a high minded far too superior to enjoy comedy douchebag. happy gilmore is a fucking hilarious film. and i didn't say balls were funny, i said that unironic commitment to an asshole character is far more interesting than bullshit fake awkwardness.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 7:59 p.m. CST

    I want anyone who's seen Fist Foot Way. . . .

    by Darth_Kaos

    . . .to raise their hand.<br><br> waiting. . . .waiting. . . .waiting. . . .<br><br> not only is McBride not funny, he's not even that talented. Mediocrity his running rampant.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 8:43 p.m. CST

    plant! also foot fist way ruled


    thats it

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 5:22 a.m. CST

    Drturing, now I gotta know...

    by Deathpool

    Happy Gilmore, or Billy Madison? Both pretty damn funny, but I give the edge to Gilmore. If only because of Bob Barker coming out of left field.

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Plant <---- Harry, defend the integrity of the site

    by CrazyGnome

    Only have 6 episodes, I can't wait to see what wacky adventures our lead character will get into....(retch) If I haven't made the point, he curses a lot, and we know you kids....I mean 'we' like cursing, so you will like this movie. Whatever.

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 9:39 a.m. CST

    drturing, Put the Meth down.

    by EvilWizardGlick

    Fuck dude we all need a buzz to make it through the holidays. But you been hittin the Meth way too fucking hard. <p>Eagle vs Shark was an underrated gem NOT for fake hipness but for stunted growth. It was fucking sad. <p> I don't find Chris Rock funny anymore. Matter of fact most "stars" are shit these days. People see them just because they are names not content. <p> I'm not a big fan of Sandler but Happy Gilmore is cool. There are a couple of others but can be totaled on the three fingers of your sisters beating hand. <p> You know what I mean.

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 12:48 p.m. CST

    I loved Foot Fist Way

    by MetiphisLabs

    I also enjoyed this show. Also people that say that something "sucked" instead of "I didn't like it" are not to be trusted in opinion land. They are too desperate to be correct.

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Chris Rock

    by drturing

    I thought Never Scared was his weakest, but his new special.. "You ever have a job you hate so much you take extra long time taking a shit just so you don't have to get back to work?" And for the last fucking time I'm not smoking meth I'm just higher n shit on good weed.

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 3:21 p.m. CST

    when will we learn

    by Vern

    not to go back and forth with lists of what is and is not funny? "You moron, you probaly like A, B and C, but those are NOT funny. In fact it is only J, L, Y and to some extent W that are funny. You probaly like Z! FUCK YOU!" "Wait a minute, did you just say L!?!? You lost all credibility with that one! L is in fact not funny and I can prove it by stating it right here! FUCK YOU!!!" etc.<p> I'm actually with the doctor, I loved THE FOOT FIST WAY. I heard it wasn't very good and didn't see it in the theater but when I rented it I ended up watching it two days in a row I was so fascinated by it. I don't know man, I understand that it's not for most people but for some reason I find myself rooting for that asshole. His whole attitude is hilarious to me, and the things he says ("You're a warrior, so I will allow you the basic right of stretching.") And I like that it doesn't have much of a plot, he doesn't have to save the world or become a celebrity or any shit like that, it's just a small story (although the Chuck the Truck thing would be funnier if they got a real martial artist for the role).<p> Anyway, I love the movie and look forward to this show when it's on DVD but I don't understand setting it up as an opponent to Flights of the Conchord and asking everyone to choose sides. Who gives a shit if somebody laughs at something you don't? Explain your view but don't get mad and insulting about it.

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 3:59 p.m. CST


    by Ribbons

    I actually liked The Foot Fist Way, but it's hard to take you seriously when you use words like "twee," "weakling" and "ballsy" to describe comedy. I have no idea what the point you're trying to make is and I'm not sure you do either, but stringing together a bunch of buzzwords isn't really helping your cause. And I like "Flight of the Conchords" too. If that makes me a "pathetic twee affected hipster douchebag," well, I guess I'll just have to do my best to get over it (which shouldn't be too hard since those words mean nothing to me in that context).

  • Nov. 30, 2008, 3:55 a.m. CST

    so i watched fist foot way...

    by thecrimsoncurse

    and actually enjoyed it, though i thought it lost a lot of steam towards the end.<br> i still however think the first 15 minutes of the pilot of "east bound and down" is the most painful thing i've ever had to sit through. the hallway makeover scene and the black betty ending where funny.

  • Nov. 30, 2008, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Loved Foot Fist Way

    by tile_mcgillus

    I guess I just enjoy McBride's raw hatred and arrogance. Also, how the fuck is everyone seeing this fucking pilot? Did it already air? Is it on I going to have to torrent this motherfucker?

  • Dec. 1, 2008, 12:44 a.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    "when will we learn?"<p>learn? um, you do realize that this is an AICN talkback...disagreeing with another's opinion here and acknowledging them without being upset and infantile would be like a dog learning to send e-mail...

  • Dec. 1, 2008, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Foot Fist Way was decent

    by sonnierjay

    The difference is that his role in that movie had endearing moments and you sympathized with him. This East Bound and Down John Rocker character is just a dick. A lazily-written, one dimensional character that makes you want to grab him by his mullet, throw him down on the street, and stomp on his head until all the vileness spills out of his cranium instead of his mouth. That being said, Andrew Daly was very good in this.

  • Dec. 1, 2008, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Now, Father Ted -- that was funny.

    by Dingbatty

  • Dec. 1, 2008, 11:16 a.m. CST

    When I saw the promo on HBO i knew it involved McBride

    by Jor-El23

    I had never heard of the show, didn't see McBride's face, I just knew it featured him. What's the deal with this guy, he's not THAT funny. He was OK in Pineapple and Tropic Thunder but everyone is acting like he's the second-coming of Christ

  • Dec. 1, 2008, 4:42 p.m. CST

    What is the "The John Rocker Story"?

    by thecomedian

  • Dec. 2, 2008, 2:31 a.m. CST

    McBride - best in moderation

    by the podosphere

    Danny McBride brings a particular kind of a-hole to what he does with unmitigated gusto. It can be funny, but may not be everyone's cup of tea. <p> Me, I him better in small doses. Pineapple Express had about as much McBride as I like in a single movie.