Plot: After an epic journey to make it back to the big leagues, Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) achieved his goal and once again stood on the mound as a professional, only to walk out and return to his family. Now he lives a more normal lifestyle, working at a car rental office, spending time with his family, and engaging in social events with his neighbors, all of which he despises. Kenny misses the cash, the power, and the fame and he is desperate to have another taste of that life. When he delivers a rental car to one of his old teammates, Guy Young (Ken Marino), Kenny finds himself ashamed of his life and eager to use Guy to get back in the ranks of fame. This leads to a one time guest spot on Guy’s sports talk show, in which Kenny is humiliated by one of his costars and he is dead set on getting payback. A second appearance finds him on the offensive and he turns the tables, becoming an audience favorite in the process. But as he starts to get back some of the good life he missed so much, can be balance it all with his new family obligations, or will he fall back into the same old traps?
Entertainment Value: This fourth season finds Kenny Powers back in a normal life, a far cry from his days of fame and excess, but as always, things wind back around to him putting his desires above all else. I appreciated a longer look at what Powers as a regular dude would look like, especially his reactions to the successes of those around him. The scene where he explodes in jealous rage when April is honored is hilarious, a nutshell take on Powers that is dead on. I also liked how seeing the normal folks around him were pulled into his delusional nonsense and how they reacted to him, as well as his crushed feelings when he isn’t idolized. When this season focuses on the normal life aspect of Powers, it works quite well, but when the show shifts gears into the sports talk world, the wheels grind to a halt. The entire “return to fame” thread is played out by this point and felt like an excuse to pump cash into Powers’ schemes, when the show should have stuck with his suburban existence. Assuming this is is indeed the final curtain for Kenny Powers, the character is given a properly delusional, off the rails send off and while a little inconsistent, this final season is still solid.
A blend of old and new faces populate this fourth season, but at the center of it all is Danny McBride, in the role of his career. He uses this apparent curtain call season to dial up his antics and go out with a bang, in more ways than one. I think McBride carried this entire series well, but as the seasons rolled on, he was put into bigger, more outlandish moments and that didn’t always pan out as well. I think Powers is a character best suited to feel like the big fish in a small pond, a theme he returns to for a while in this season and in those scenes, McBride shines. I feel like the sports talk crew scenes come off as overly forced, but the small town, normal life elements are a source of constant humor and great chances for McBride to excel. Ken Marino is passable as one of Kenny’s peers, while Tim Heidecker is often hilarious as a worn down, burnt out family man that clashes with Kenny. I feel like Jillian Bell isn’t put to good use, as she is so restrained and not given a chance to do what she does best, which is be sadistic or offensive or in an ideal world, both. Steve Little continues the insane escalation of Stevie’s madness, this time exploring wild plastic surgery and small business management. A deep, talented cast of both new faces and old favorites here.