Plot: After his wild adventures in Mexico, Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is now in Myrtle Beach and back in baseball, as a closer for the Merman with his sights on a return to the major leagues. He is also a father now, but he hasn’t been much of a presence in his son Toby’s life, what will all the baseball, women, and drugs he is focusing on back in Myrtle Beach. A visit from April (Katy Mixon) turns in a fun, wild time and the two seem to reconnect, but then April vanishes and leaves Toby behind, which means Kenny is in deep trouble. Unwilling to shoulder the responsibility alone, he recruits his old servant Stevie (Steve Little) and his wife Maria (Elizabeth De Razzo) to look after Toby while he continues to live it up. But between the stresses of fatherhood, the death of a close friend, and a new rival on the team, can Kenny balance it all and still make his grand return or will this be another dead end?
Entertainment Value: In this third season, we are once again taken to a new locale and introduced to some new faces, but the shifts aren’t as drastic as the one between the first and second seasons. The new characters are mostly in smaller, supporting roles, such as Kenny’s Russian rival Ivan and his vapid teenage girlfriend, while familiar faces tend to drive the narrative and humor. But I do think just about every scene where Kenny interacts with the college girls is hilarious, as it is so awkward and cringe inducing, with priceless reaction shots. I do like this season, but it does seem very forced at times and relies more on fan service than fresh content. In other words, after two seasons, the premise starts to wear thin, but it still mostly works, thanks to the cast and McBride’s ability to make any situation awkward. But some of the threads are really weak here, so it is more about the scene to scene humor than anything else. I didn’t care for the Kenny vs. Ivan subplot at all, for example. The drop off is obvious, but there’s still enough wild set pieces, outlandish dialogue, and unpredictable moments to make this third season more than worth a look.
As the material is a little less robust this time around, it falls on the cast to elevate the humor and make the most of it. As always, Danny McBride is able to make even dull material seem at least slightly humorous, while also knocking the big moments out of the park with ease. I do think he struggles at times, especially in like the Ivan scenes and when he tries to be somewhat genuine as Powers, but for the most part, he is able to wring all the potential laughs out of this material. While most of the new faces work well, I wasn’t a fan of the Ivan thread, as I don’t feel like it let Ike Barinholtz really shine, but the worst of the newcomers is Jason Sudeikis. He is so out of place in this kind of humor and just isn’t able to keep pace with his costars. I am normally a fan of his work, but he drowns here and really detracts from the show’s entertainment value. Steve Little continues to escalate the madness of Stevie and not even flinch in the process, this time balancing an internal shift in the character and the usual Stevie craziness, with mostly effective results. Don Johnson returns and Lily Tomlin has a brief appearance, while a host of familiar faces from the first two seasons return as well. As I said before, I loved the scenes between Kenny and his coed girlfriend, easily some of the funniest moments of the season. So a nice blend of new characters and old favorites, with the scales tipped toward the familiar.