Entertainment » Television

Vice Principals - The Complete First Season

by Greg Vellante
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Feb 14, 2017
Vice Principals - The Complete First Season

Jody Hill and frequent partner Danny McBride have made their mark on cinema and television with a celebratory approach to bad taste. From films like "The Foot Fist Way" to "Observe & Report," and HBO series like "Eastbound and Down," the vulgar has never felt so fresh than it is when captured through Hill's unique perspective. At the center of his worlds, there is often a man-child screaming for the world to love him. With the exception of "Observe & Report," where Seth Rogen filled this archetype, McBride is Hill's go-to performer for the writer/director's absurd, arrogant and often tragic protagonists.

Neal Gamby, McBride's character in Hill's latest HBO series, "Vice Principals," is no exception. Aggressively ignorant to his asshole-esque qualities, McBride plays Gamby with the same boisterous gusto he has brought to Hill's characters in the past. Here, however, he is paired with an equally unlikeable mess of a man, Walton Goggin's Lee Russell. Together, these two vice principals spar through words and actions after their long-time head principal (Bill Murray) steps down, leaving his position vacant. However, when a replacement is named in the form of Dr. Belinda Brown (a marvelous Kimberly Hebert Gregory), Gamby and Russell are forced to put aside their differences and work together in order to sabotage their superior and steal the job they both feel is rightfully theirs.

"Vice Principals" is a nasty, hilarious show with a mean spirit that will ultimately repel many, yet appeal to those with a truly dark sense of humor. Hill's characters are fruitful in their flaws, and he's never one to shy away from the ugliness of ego, the pains of self-loathing and the overwhelming nature of existential sadness. Gamby and Russell are a pair of Shakespearian fools, drowning in tragedy. Their pain is our amusement, our fascination and ours to interpret however we may choose. Hill scrutinizes both the hilarity and hubris of Gamby and Russell, and sees both facets with a 20/20 vision that makes him a painstakingly original voice in contemporary comedy.

The show's second (and final) season is already completed and set to premiere before this summer, and viewers can catch up with the first season's Blu-Ray and Digital release. The Blu-ray doesn't come with much in terms of bonus features-a typical line-up of deleted scenes and bloopers-but the nine episode commentaries from cast and crew are worth the purchase alone. Viewers can learn fun little tidbits (anecdotes from the pilot involving Bill Murray are especially enjoyable), and hear the cast and crew joke around while revisiting one of the finer television comedies to come out in recent years.

"Vice Principals" Season One
Blu-ray and Digital HD


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