HBO’S VICE PRINCIPALS Season One
With the sheer volume of television stations and the number of shows they produce it’s close to impossible to keep up with it all unless you are a full time viewer and that’s ALL you do. Having a number of other things going on in my life there are shows that slip by me and I discover later by some means or another. While strolling through Target last week I spotted a DVD cover that caught my eye. Light blue with simple graphics. The package said VICE PRINCIPALS. I picked it up and saw that I starred Walter Goggins and Danny McBride. I also saw the words comedy and HBO and that was enough, I brought that sucker home.
Having a night free a few days later I popped it and watched all 9 episodes back to back.
And it was good.
While the show is funny, it’s not a sitcom. It’s actually kind of a dark drama with humor not unlike RESCUE ME. The set up is pretty simple. Two men work at a high school as vice principals and the principal is leaving. Very early on we discover who these guys are. Neal Gamby is a divorced uptight rigid by the book disciplinarian. He feels he’s next in line because of his love of order. Lee Russell is a weasely petty ass kissing back stabbing little man who feels that because his father was a principal he should be too. Both are disappointed when the school board brings in Dr. Belinda Brown to take over. Reluctantly Gamby and Russell team up to clear the decks and get the job they think should be theirs.
As the show unfolds we discover Gamby isn’t a bad guy, he’s a bit depressed and kind of a dork. Russell isn’t all bad either and judging by his home life he needs something in his life that is his and his alone. These traits don’t make them heroes however. As the scheme progresses some pretty bad things go down. We also see that Dr. Brown is a pretty nice lady. Neal is obviously conflicted, but he is too caught up to stop the mission.
I love that the show doesn’t try and play these guys as good guys and that their nemesis is neither good nor bad. They are just people and the show lets the viewer decide who is worth cheering for. Personally, I was cheering for everyone but the ex-wife and the history teacher (he’s a jerk). The show is really funny, but it’s not a slap your knew laugh out loud funny. At times it is a look around to see if anyone sees you laughing kind of funny. There is going to be one more season and I understand it’s already filmed. The first season send with a “Holy SHIT!” moment so I can’t wait.
Check this show out, it has a lot of heart, and is very smart and humorous and engaging. Great performances and just one more reason I’m glad I’m out of high school.