Vice Principals: Season 1
September 21, 2016 2:17 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Vice Principals just finished airing on HBO this past weekend. Another collaboration between Jody Hill and Danny McBride, the show treads familiar ground, featuring two terrible men (McBride and Walton Goggins) who plot and scheme against one another in an attempt to take the top spot of the pecking order at a South Carolina high school after the previous principal (Bill Murray) retires. However, an outsider named Dr. Brown (Kimberly Herbert Gregory) ends up taking the job that each man sees as rightfully his. Through 9 episodes, the two sink lower and lower in their efforts to unseat Brown.

Ending on a cliff-hanger, the show is fully scripted through the next 9 episode arc, and will conclude with that finale.
posted by codacorolla (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
On a scale of to Eastbound and Down, where would this sit? I am really interested in it, but don't want to be heartbroken.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:45 PM on September 21, 2016

Well...the characters played by Goggins and McBride are really really awful people, with Kimberly Herbert Gregory's Dr. Brown unjustly victimized by them the whole season, to an uncomfortable extent. I'm watching solely in hopes that it blows up in their faces by the end and they get their comeuppance.

I started watching because I liked Goggins in Justified. His character in that show was far more sympathetic than in this one, and that's despite all the murdering , drug running, and worse that Boyd Crowder did.
posted by Pryde at 5:10 PM on September 21, 2016

Sooooo, I'm guessing I should avoid discussing what happens over the course of the season then?
posted by codacorolla at 7:19 PM on September 21, 2016

I didn't really like this one, it seemed like a watered-down version of Eastbound and Down and I never found it all that funny apart from a few good moments. I really like Walter Goggins, so I was hoping for better. Maybe if they amp up the crazy next season I'll like it better.
posted by whir at 7:26 PM on September 21, 2016

I've got mixed feelings about it. I like the show from a technical level, but obviously the two mains are reprehensible. Gamby gets a redemption storyline I'm not sure is earned. I think it's compelling enough to watch next season, but it's going to hinge on what happens to the boys as a result of what they did this season.
posted by codacorolla at 8:17 AM on September 22, 2016

I got about halfway into the season before giving up. Everybody's awful and Danny McBride's character in particular was a frequent flashback to so many awful authority figures I encountered growing up.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:28 PM on September 22, 2016

It's very much not Eastbound & Down. Neal Gamby (McBride) is less over-the-top than Kenny Powers, but he's horrid in similar ways. Walton Goggins is doing some amazing subtle character work as a guy who very much wants to be like most characters that Walton Goggins plays but isn't good at it.

It doesn't produce a lot of laughs, to be honest, and most of the ones it does are kind of easy ones (Danny McBride falls off a motorcycle! There's poop in that fountain! Those kids are drunk!).

All in all, I'll end up watching the second season, but it'll be like this one: catch up when I remember it during slow work days, rather than plopping my ass down to watch right when it comes out (as with Veep and Silicon Valley).
posted by Etrigan at 11:07 AM on September 23, 2016

I watched this and Veep back to back, so there were aspects of the two shows premises that felt right in line with one another. For starters, both shows portray workplace relationships right in line with high school cliques, which is oddly insightful. It humanizes the flaws of everyone in the show. It's sort of a breakfast club for teachers but with reprehensible leads.

So frequently during the show, you could see the farce of after school specials from the 80s and 90s twisted on their head - it was something that I think every kid who watched one of those really wanted to see - reality behind the people and not cookie cutter perfection.

Even Dr. Brown has flaws reflected in a broken marriage (not that her leaving wasn't the best thing, nor that her ex was not reprehensible) but her interactions on that front and the behavioral challenges posed by her boys indicate that while she may run a school very well, there were structural problems with the foundations of her marriage. This is further elaborated on by what her direct flaws may be in the episode Gin and Juice, where we see a regression on her part. Now the last scene, whether that is her, an agent of hers, or a new contender - that also heightens the fact that she is likely in no way an innocent bystander to the madness.

I'll watch the second season. Was it great? No. But it was far lighter than most premium channel serials. I like the less seriousness. Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire are excellent shows, but sometimes one needs a bit of humor that neither of those showho provide.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:25 PM on September 23, 2016

Danny McBride obviously has A Thing, but I actually think Gamby is intended to be slightly endearing in a way that sets him apart from Kenny Powers' unrepentant arrogance. Gamby is repeatedly taken aback by a lot of the terrible things Russell comes up with, and while he's eventually convinced to participate in most of them, you sort of get the feeling he's doing it to fit in and feel like he's part of a team, not because he really wants to, for example, burn down his boss's house. His insecurity and uncertainty makes him human in a way that Kenny Powers never is.

That said: I'm really tired of male characters who are obviously intended to be unattractive boors somehow still managing to sleep with young, beautiful women and everybody acting like there is nothing weird about this.

I don't think this is top-tier television, but it's certainly better than most comedies, and I enjoyed it.
posted by something something at 11:06 AM on September 29, 2016

Oh, and I also thought Ray was hilarious - how he was simply a very good guy in every way and didn't even acknowledge Gamby's irrational hatred of him. In a show filled with questionable characters, it was great how they wrote Ray to just be an all-around obliviously nice guy.
posted by something something at 11:09 AM on September 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

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