HomeTelevisionThe Righteous Gemstones: Danny McBride is Back in HBO's New Dark Comedy

The Righteous Gemstones: Danny McBride is Back in HBO’s New Dark Comedy

Righteous Gemstones
Photo Credit: Fred Norris/HBO

Written by Michael Vacchiano

Whether it’s Eastbound & Down or Vice Principals, actor/comedian Danny McBride has never been confused for being subtle. The guy has excelled throughout his career at playing characters who are equal parts egotistical and loudmouthed, bombastic and delusional. It should be no surprise then that McBride’s latest comedy series for HBO, The Righteous Gemstones, centers on a dysfunctional family of rich televangelists, and dials those elements all the way up to the heavens themselves.

The series centers on the famous Gemstone family, who run a massive and wealthy holy empire. Through their chain of arena-sized megachurches and promotional merchandising, they use their celebrity status to preach the word of God to millions of listeners worldwide…all for a profit, of course. Family patriarch Eli (the invaluable John Goodman) leads the charge of “doing the Lord’s work,” but it’s eldest son Jesse (McBride) who finds himself in quite the predicament in the show’s hilarious (yet drawn out) hour-long premiere episode.

Upon returning with the family from a baptism-marathon tour of China, Jesse gets blackmailed by an anonymous group with a rather humiliating video of him “partying,” as he himself puts it. He is ordered to pay $1 million to prevent it from being leaked, as his prodigal son reputation is in danger. Constantly fighting with his siblings Kelvin (Adam Devine) and Judy (Edi Patterson) mainly due to his status as Eli’s favorite child and heir apparent, Jesse reluctantly turns to them for help. While their father is far from the saints that he praises about in his sermons, it’s his children who are reaping the rewards of the family’s hypocrisy. And seeing this particularly spoiled generation of Gemstones quibble and clash is just as fun as it sounds.

McBride re-teams here with frequent creative collaborators Jody Hill and David Gordon Green, so fans of their previously mentioned HBO projects know exactly what they’re getting. Jesse Gemstone is essentially a faith healer version of Kenny Powers, but with mutton chops in place of a greasy mullet. However, it is Devine and Patterson who stand out and whose characters prove to be just as hysterically sinful as their brother.

The boyish and immature Kelvin takes any opportunity to antagonize his siblings, as he is often the victim of Jesse’s bullying nature. And the disgruntled Judy resents her family’s sexist attitude towards women in the workplace and her subsequent place behind the scenes. As the Gemstone empire’s glorified secretary, she retaliates by skimming extra money from the family funds. The immoral nature of the family’s Christ-spreading business is only rivaled by the actions and internal strife amongst its members.

The Righteous Gemstones scales nothing back when it comes to its brand of deliciously wicked humor – thus, it’s certainly not for everyone. It’s as expansive as the ludicrously large compound/estate that the family live and share together. Hopefully, the indispensable John Goodman will have more to do in subsequent episodes, as it’s always a treat to see him on screen. Nevertheless, Danny McBride plays into his wheelhouse yet again to showcase a hilariously reprehensible family with more Satan in their souls than they care to admit. And that doesn’t even include the episode’s shocking conclusion in which Jesse and company attempt to drop off the blackmail money. The final scene truly sets the tone for the entire season of this dark comedy of biblical proportions.

The Righteous Gemstones airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on HBO


Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.


  1. Michael Vacchiano is truly a great writer.His reviews are spot on and makes you want to see each and everyone of his reviews..

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