By Eric Lopez
The TV series “Vice Principals” is dark and hilarious. The show follows Neal Gamby (Danny McBride), a vice principal who returns to North Jackson High School after someone attempts to murder him in the first season. He survives the shooting, but he is constantly suspicious of everyone and on a mission to find his assassin. Gamby’s partner in crime Lee Russell (Walton Goggins) is the new principal and a narcissistic bully who vows to aid Gamby in his mission to find his assassin.
The show has its highs and lows and recreates a high school experience that is absurdly hysterical and unbelievable. Gamby is as offensive as he is inconsiderate, which makes him hated by almost every teacher in the school. He has done little to build his relationships, and his obsession with ex-girlfriend, Amanda Snodgrass (Georgia King), becomes his driving motivation.
In the first season, Russell enjoyed strewing disorder, and his antics define him as a ruthless opportunist who is determined to rule the school. The two men who shared the position of interim vice principals in season one feel alienated by their peers, and in order to dominate North Jackson they recreate themselves in a hostile fashion. Gamby and Russell are warriors who never conform to their peer’s expectations. The ridiculous monologue, although offensive, adds a spice to the show.
The dialogue is arranged like a joke, using every opportunity to surprise the viewer and catch them off guard for an uncomfortable laugh. There is a closeness to the truth every short episode captures that makes the shows offensiveness enticing. Gamby is a seemingly vicious character who is somehow relatable. He is driven by his pursuit of vengeance, and his grit becomes inspiration for viewers who are left wondering what will happen next.
This show benefits from its talented stars who have been in other HBO series and make the subscription worth every penny. Gamby and Lee make up a duo who use their power at North Jackson to compensate for their meaningless personal lives. It is the furthest thing from a light comedy that one can imagine. Gamby’s relationship with his students teeters on abusive, and hilarity follows each disparaging comment he makes toward them. If there was ever an artful use of awful language, the writers of this show have nailed it. The most appealing thing about this series is that something always seems a little off, and each episode ends abruptly challenging viewers to come back for more.