TV review: Vice Principals, Sky Atlantic
- Henry Northmore
- 15 July 2016
Latest edgy comedy from Danny McBride and Jody Hill
Fans of Eastbound & Down will be equally terrified and excited by the prospect of another collaboration between Danny McBride and writer Jody Hill. EB&D was perhaps the most twisted comedy HBO has ever produced, packed with drugs, adultery and massive egos. It pushed at the barriers of taste and decency, some might have been too offended to stick around but those who put in the time discovered a brilliantly written, painfully funny show that burned brightly across four seasons.
Vice Principals is slightly tamer. McBride plays Neal Gamby an uptight VP squabbling with Lee Russell (Walton Goggins) over who should be promoted after Bill Murray retires. They then form an uneasy alliance, joining forces after Dr Belinda Brown (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) gets the position they think is rightfully theirs.
Vice Principals is brave enough to populate its cast with ugly characters. You'll pray no child you know is taught in a school like Lincoln High. McBride steals the show as Gamby but underneath the ranting and raving is a sad, lonely, insecure man with a strong (misplaced) sense of right and wrong. Goggins is his perfect foil as the prissy, scheming, obsequious Russell. The unconventional relationship that blossoms between them is really kinda sweet in its own unhinged way as they bond over some unprovoked destruction in episode two or when tackling a metal obsessed body builder later in the series. The characters are exaggerated but so acutely observed they become living breathing three dimensional human beings.
Apparently there will only be two nine episode seasons of Vice Principals and this is a great start. It's not as edgy as Eastbound & Down but it's wrong in all the right ways.
Vice Principals premieres on Sky Atlantic, Tue 26 Jul, 9.35pm.