Original Run: July 17th, 2016 – present
Created by: Danny McBride, Jody Hill
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Cast: Danny McBride, Walton Goggins, Kimberly Hebert Gregory, Georgia King, Sheaun McKinney, Busy Philipps, Shea Whigham, Maya G. Love, Ashley Spillers, Edi Patterson, Susan Park, Mike O’Gorman, Madelyn Cline, Bill Murray
Rough House, HBO Entertainment, 9 Episodes (so far), 30 Minutes (per episode)
I wasn’t happy when Eastbound & Down came to an end but, at the same time, the show did run its course and the last two seasons weren’t as good as the first two seasons. I just wanted to see more of Danny McBride on the small screen because he’s comedic gold. Plus, Jody Hill has always been the perfect collaborator with McBride.
Vice Principals is a sort of spiritual successor to Eastbound & Down. Also, it added Walton Goggins to the cast, who is pretty fantastic in everything he does. Now, having seen this, this might be my favorite character Walton Goggins has ever played. Well, after the trans-hooker Venus Van Dam from Sons of Anarchy. It’s hard to top Ms. Van Dam.
Vice Principals is pretty damn great and that’s not just because Bill Murray is in the first episode. It truly maximizes the talents of McBride and Goggins and pits them against one another and then as allies in what is one of the most hilarious and entertaining buddy duos of all-time. They start out as bitter rivals and evolve to become trusted friends, while being thorns in each other’s sides all along the way. Their mission is a pretty selfish and evil one but both are very human characters, even if they continually display deplorable characteristics.
Accompanying McBride and Goggins is Kimberly Hebert Gregory as the new principal Dr. Brown. She starts out very serious and can be a tyrant but ultimately, she is a compassionate woman that truly cares for the kids in her school. She is also dealing with the separation from her husband and having to raise two mischievous boys who aren’t happy that they left Philadelphia for a small town in South Carolina. From episode-to-episode, she evolves and becomes increasingly hilarious. You also truly feel for her character and have nothing but sympathy for her when the shit eventually hits the fan. Kimberly Hebert Gregory has great comedic timing and is a dynamo in her more dramatic scenes. Something about her really legitimizes the the show and she makes every scene better simply for being in it.
Vice Principals, while a hilarious show, visits some really dark places and can sometimes get a bit uncomfortable. Every character is much more complex than you would initially believe and they all have their own moral struggles. Unfortunately, for all of them, things go really bad. But this is how season one ends. Season two is on its way and there is still a lot of story to explore and these characters could still evolve in different ways. Season two will be the last of the series but it was planned that way all along.
I don’t like this show as much as Eastbound & Down, as I am an avid baseball fan and I loved that aspect of it, but Vice Principals is much more refined and better written. I’m really looking forward to the second half, which debuts sometime this year.