As a huge fan of Eastbound and Down, I went into Vice Principals with high expectations. Eastbound and Down was often vulgar and crude but hidden underneath all of that was a sad man. A man disappointed by what he had become but at the same time insisting that he was the best. In Vice Principals, the vulgar and crude humor remains but we still have a sad man. Lee Gamby (Danny McBride) is lonely, divorced, and his daughter is distancing herself from him. Lee Gamby is not and has never been the best at anything. The one thing he has going for him is the current principal is retiring, played by Bill Murray, and Gamby feels like he is a lock for the position. Unfortunately, so does his colleague and nemesis Lee Russell, played by the brilliant Walton Goggins.
The entirety of the first episode is the two of them at each others throats but that is quickly put to bed when the job goes to an outside, Dr. Belinda Brown, played by Kimberly Herbert Gregory. Her delivery as Dr. Brown is a nice change from the leading actors and she steals every scene she’s in. The men set out on a mission to destroy her career and reclaim what they thought they deserved.
Gamby has a complicated relationship with his daughter. She lives with his ex-wife and her new husband. Throughout the course of the season, Gamby’s daughter switches hobbies from horseback riding to motocross, a move Gamby is less than thrilled with, but leads to one of the funnier episodes of the season. Russell on the other hand is married and lives with his mother in law. His relationship is not solid with either of them and he often hurls insults at his mother in law.
One thing this show has going for it is just how insane it is. By episode 2, an event so crazy occurs that I couldn’t believe it. It just escalates and escalates. Out of the two men, Lee Russell is the chaotic evil. While entertaining and hilarious, some of his actions were downright disturbing, such as pushing Dr. Brown, a recovering alcoholic, into a gin soaked evening just to capture it on film and ruin her career.
The show is only set to run for two seasons and the second season has already been filmed. While I’ll be sad to see it end, I can respect the fact that they had a story to tell and that is what they’re going to do. The chemistry between Goggins and McBride is amazing and I can only hope they collaborate again in the future. Until season 2, I leave you with one final gif.