McBride, Goggins Get an A+ in Chemistry on Vice Principals

Written by Ryan Demarco

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Vice Principals Plot Summary:

In the latest effort from writer/director Jody Hill and collaborator Danny McBride, school is in session and the laughs are there every step of the way. Similar to the pair’s last HBO run, Eastbound & Down, McBride plays Neal Gamby, an administrator at North Jackson High School, who is desperately gunning to succeed Principal Wells (guest star Bill Murray) after he steps down to take care of his ailing wife. Standing in his way is another administrator, named Lee Russell (Walton Goggins — Justified, The Hateful Eight), who has plans of his own for the position.

Vice Principals with Bill Murray
Photo Courtesy of HBO

When it comes to a show like this, you have to know what you’re in for. If you enjoyed Eastbound & Down, then you will eat this up. If you were more on the fence, then Vice Principals probably won’t change your mind. McBride remains the same in his usual childish, moronic, insulting behavior as he addresses almost every situation in his life wrong. Still, it’s funny as hell and he remains a force on-screen.

Sharing the light, perhaps a bit briefer than I would have liked, is Goggins, who turns out to be a perfect match for McBride. The two share such a hatred for each other that their short-sighted hijinks strike the perfect balance of vicious and amusing before getting overly out of hand. Despite McBride and Goggins powerful performances, the episode feels somewhat empty in terms of substance, outside of the two men competing for the position. I would hope going further along into the season we are given more with this story.

One thing that really intrigues me about this show is the length. It has been confirmed that the series will wrap after two quick seasons, 18 episodes in all, to tell the complete narrative of North Jackson High. Perhaps other shows should follow suit.

Rating: 7/10 

VICE PRINCIPALS AIRS SUNDAYS AT 10:30 PM ON HBO