Eastbound & Down Season 4: Ken Marino, Tim Heidecker, the Future, Probably Some F-Bombs …

HBO Eastbound & Down

Did you forget they’re even making another season of Eastbound & Down? No worries, it’s a common mistake. The third season was trumped up in advance as the last hurrah, and its go-for-broke finale seemed to seal the deal for ol’ Kenny Fucking Powers. It was all a bit overwhelming at the time, but having KP SPOILER ALERT unnecessarily fake his own death right after he finally makes it back to the majors, in order to get back to his family, feels right. Because he’s a fuck-up. And, more often than not, truly a horrible person. But, deep down somewhere, he’s got good intentions. And a serious appreciation for boobs.

But anyway: At some point after Kenny went blond, HBO decided they wanted the Danny McBride–Jody Hill power duo back on for one more go-round. And the crazy thing is, the network would have apparently happily green-lit a fifth season, too, if those dudes had been down. But even the industry fantasyland that is HBO wasn’t enough to keep Danny and Jody on board. Said McBride: “HBO definitely wants us, and Jody Hill and I love writing for the show. … But there is other stuff we’d like to do. Both of us are ready to make jokes concerning people who don’t have strange haircuts.”

Which brings us, at last, to some hard, concrete facts about this upcoming fourth season. Deadline reports that the eternally underrated Ken Marino is coming on board for the full eight-episode run, “playing Guy Young, a middle-aged athlete who’s still living the high life and partying it up every weekend.” And that’s not all! “Also cast as a recurring next season is Tim Heidecker as Gene, a vanilla guy in Kenny’s neighborhood. He has nothing in common with Kenny and lacks even a basic sense of humor.” Also, we were slow-rolling you a bit here. The most tantalizing piece of information? This whole season is going to be set in the future. Well, only several years in the future, with Kenny “living the American Dream with his family in North Carolina.” But still! Several years! There’s gonna be all kinds of futuristic strange haircuts for McBride and Hill to make fun of.

Marino’s wheelhouse isn’t usually the “arrogant jerk” persona, but he can get to that place. Remember on Party Down when Ron Donald actually lands that Soup R’ Crackers and is flying high for about a half an episode? Marino was tasked with putting on airs while wearing a dress shirt simply loaded with bedazzled fleurs-de-lis, and he pulled it off beautifully. It sounds like his character could go two ways: Either he’s gonna be Kenny’s seductress-running partner, like Jason Sudeikis last season (R.I.P. Shane Gerald), or he’ll be Kenny’s new antagonist. It’ll be tough to fill the shoes of Ike Barinholtz, whose portrayal of stone-cold Russian pitching phenom Ivan (“Yeah, and I’m DJ, bro”) bordered on genius. But if Marino channels all that he’s learned over his wanderlust career (specifically, I’m thinking, from Season 5 of Dawson’s Creek), I bet he can do it.

As for Heidecker: As the new “vanilla guy,” it sounds like he’s destined for a run-in with little Stevie Janowski, who long ago left his life of suburban propriety in order to rub up on strippers and eat drugs and do other kinds of messed-up shit with his hero Kenny Powers. And I, for one, seriously can’t wait to see these two try and out-bizarre one another.

And then there’s that thing about the future. The first three seasons of Eastbound bounced around the North American continent, dropping the Reverse Apache Master &#8212 a.k.a. the Man With the Golden Dick, a.k.a. Doctor Cock and Balls &#8212 into the depths of despair and immorality before yanking him out again. But despite the outward geographical trappings, there was more or less a formula: The show got you to despise Kenny Powers, truly and deeply, before somehow redeeming him in full and making you just about pray for his ascendance. It was a neat trick, and I can’t believe they pulled it off three times. But if the fourth season really is jumping several years ahead, where Kenny’s past even the faint hope of playing pro ball again, it sounds like the formula will have to be adjusted a bit this time around. All of which is to say: Hey, HBO, premiere date? Premiere date? Come on. Hook up a premiere date.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, Amos, you’re from America, you probably have a printer. You could have just gone on the Internet, falsified this information, and then printed it out and sent it to Deadline.” Yeah, you know what? I could have. Except for one fact: I don’t own a printer. And I fucking hate computers. All kinds.

Filed Under: Eastbound & Down, HBO, Kenny Effin Powers, Kenny Powers

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad