Wednesday, November 22, 2017

TV Show Review: Vice Principals (Season 2)

This irreverent HBO comedy returned for its second and final season. Neal Gamby (Danny McBride) works to solve the crime of his shooting at the end of the first season. In his absence, Lee Russell (Walton Goggins) has taken over South Jackson High changing the mascot to a tiger and running the school the way he sees fit. Gamby played up his injury to make it seem much worse than it was but believes it is now time to return to his role as the vice principal. Lee Russell has a new assistant Nash (Dale Dickey) who tries to show deference to Gamby who is having none of it. Gamby continues to try to win over the affection of Amanda Snodgrass (Georgia King) but she is dating a successful author who claims that he will help her get published.

With the help of Dayshawn (Sheaun McKinney), Gamby tries to find a new suspect, a former student Robin Schandrell (Conner McVicker) and Snodgrass's new boyfriend Brian Biehn (Fisher Stevens). Gamby suspects anyone of killing him. He even confronts former principal Dr. Belinda Brown (Kimberly Hebert Gregory). Lee Russell suffers a revolt among the teachers and he learns about this from recording their conversations in the teachers' lounge. The teachers draw insulting caricature and post it on the school board for everyone to see. Lee Russell retaliates against the teachers by bringing in physical trainers to team build but Russell has to go to a funeral leaving Gamby to take over as principal. Gamby stands up to the trainers earning the respect of the teachers while Russell's wife Christine (Susan Park) realizes her husband is a liar.

Christine grows even more suspicious when an old boyfriend shows up talking about his wife and kids after Lee had claimed the man was gay. Russell throws a huge birthday party and Christine ruins it by getting drunk. Gamby goes home with Ms. Abbott (Edi Patterson) and they start a relationship again. Gamby becomes popular among the teachers and relishes in the attention, undercutting Russell and making fun of him in private, but when Lee Russell invites himself on Gamby's spring break with his daughter, Neal allows him to come along. Trouble ensues especially as Abbott shows up at the house. Gamby finds the masks and gun of the murderer in Russell's car and suspects him of the murder.

Back at school, Gamby confronts Russell with his silly wrist ejector gun but can't shoot Russell. Gamby tries to come back into the school but Russell fires him. Gamby doesn't want to leave without a fight so the two of them battle through the high school in a hilarious scene. Gamby is let go from the high school but he works with Snodgrass and Christine to uncover secrets about Russell. Gamby forces Russell to step down and takes over as principal. Russell tries to figure out who really shot Gamby and discovers it was Abbott just as she confronts Gamby at his cabin. She shoots Russell in the head and leaves Gamby in a ditch while she heads to the high school to kill Snodgrass. Russell survives the head wound and helps Gamby out of the hole and they race to the high school where Snodgrass has fought off Abbott. Russell had rented a tiger which Abbott lets free. Russell tries to calm the tiger but it bites his hand so Gamby has to come in and save him. Everything works out as Lee Russell becomes a manager of a clothing store and Gamby a principal of a middle school. Gamby also gets to be with Snodgrass who publishes her young adult fantasy novel.

Vice Principals had its charms at a show but at times it felt like it had lost its wild momentum. Danny McBride has been hilarious in nearly all the roles he takes while Walton Goggins shows his talent as an actor by venturing into comedy. The show was always surprising with sudden twists and shocking images popping up in nearly every episode while McBride's Gamby is so dumb and rude that it is always crazy to hear him talking to high school students and teachers. Vice Principals felt like it could have gone on for a few more years but it looks like it was funny for its short term and didn't outstay its welcome. 

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