Vice Principals Season 1- A Shot at the Top Job

Danny McBride is back with a new season of everyone’s favourite Kenny Powers!!!  Wait…sorry it’s a different show…my bad.  Still Danny McBride is back partnering with Jody Hill in a new HBO comedy about a couple of vice principals and so on.

Spoilers and such are contained.

The similarities between Vice Principals and Eastbound & Down are quite striking; the most obvious comparison is Danny McBride, the style which it is shot in and the way which the show is written.  I really liked Eastbound & Down, it had a unique style with a strong lead character, Vice Principals is almost its successor except it has split Kenny Powers into Neal Gamby and Lee Russell.

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No offence to Danny McBride but he can really only play Danny McBride.  Kenny Powers is one of the best comedy leads of the last ten years; he’s crude, ridiculous and a complete idiot but he also has shit tons of charisma and is a complete badass.  That’s the issue with Neal Gamby, he’s Kenny Powers but without the charisma and badassery and that means it doesn’t quite work the same, which makes him as a character pretty boring.  It’s like if you imagined that Kenny Powers was a nerd, you’d probably see Neal Gamby.

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That’s where Russell comes in, he is essentially all the bits that made Powers such a great character, that cutting edge of no fuckery, and it’s why the best moments in Vice Principals comes when Gamby and Russell are together.  Whether it’s burning the house down, their chats in the woods or the awesome slow mo walk after being crowned co-principals, the show worked at its best when McBride and Goggins shared the screen with their scintillating chemistry.

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The final piece of Vice Principals is Dr Brown, the reason for the show existing in the first place and she plays a hell of a role.  It’s interesting how in the show Dr Brown is the antagonist, when in fact she has done nothing wrong and is totally professional, however due to the show being from Gamby and Russell’s position she becomes the bad guy, when in reality they are the true evils in the show.  Brown has a number of great moments in the show, gin springs to mind, hopefully she won’t be a one season wonder.

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The other supporting characters are of a differing level of success, most of the teachers are pretty good in their limited roles (Ms. Abbott being the standout), Dayshawn is a nice change of pace and Russell’s mother in law is clearly awesome.  The poorest characters tend to be connected to Gamby, there’s probably too much of his daughter for a character who adds very little comedy to the show, I like Ray and Gale’s barely in it.  The biggest character problem the show has is Snodgrass.

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Let’s not pretend that Gamby is a looker, he isn’t (even with that glorious moustache), he’s also a dick and lacks that charisma that a Kenny Powers had, which makes his lady getting skills even less likely.  Snodgrass isn’t going to be struggling for takers, I understand that they played it up that she was feeling rejected, however she hangs about for Gamby for a number of weeks and then purposefully chases him?  Come on…  I understand they want the lead to have a hot girlfriend but it really doesn’t make sense.

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The first episode of Vice Principals was great; it then struggled to find its feet before fully hitting its potential in the last couple of episodes, setting up next season really well, and what a crazy finale it was.  Everything was going so well, Gamby and Russell were named co-principals, Gamby got the girl and Russell got to stick it to his mother in law!  Then out of nowhere their cars are on fire and Gamby gets shot to end the season, an ending I doubt many would have predicted.

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So the question is who shot Gamby?  The obvious answer is Dr Brown put a hit out on him, which is possible seeing as they openly admitted to sabotaging her career at the school.  An alternative would be Russell tried to take Gamby out so he could be principal on his own, he certainly isn’t mentally stable and it seemed like he might have pulled his recording trick at the flag erection.  Or was it someone totally out of left field?  Who knows, but I hope it was Brown because I feel that there would be a number of plot holes if it were Russell, the same guy who openly admitted he was happy to his wife about his new position and couldn’t handle the bully across the road but all of a sudden he’s willing to shoot someone, more than a bit of a stretch.

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Anyway I liked Vice Principals; it struggled at times but has a great starring cast and really began to heat up towards the end.  The cliff-hanger was expertly handled and makes me thirsty for the second and final season, which is nice that they have a story to tell and will tell it in two seasons rather than needlessly spreading it over more.  It will be interesting to see where they take it in season two, obviously Gamby will survive otherwise we don’t have a show but who knows how it will all turn out.

So what did you think of Vice Principals season 1?  Who do you think shot Gamby?  Is motocross really for rednecks?  And is Russell actually gay or is he just really camp?  Leave a comment and share those thoughts of yours!

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