The following Vice Principals review contains spoilers.
Vice Principals, Season 1, Episode 2
Vice Principals wasted no time morally compromising its lead characters in service of comedy. Usually, a show like this would wait until the audience had become attached to the characters before plunging them in dark, unflattering water. Obviously Vice Principals doesn’t care much about whether you like Neal Gamby and Lee Russell and their show of contempt for their new boss is likely to complicate the volatile nature of their relationship.
The episode begins with Gamby and Russell establishing the necessity of their temporary alliance, after Russell reveals Dr. Brown’s history of firing her vice principals. Like last week, the fragility of their partnership and their breakdowns in communication provide the episode’s best moments. Listening to these two use juvenile insults to describe one another’s faces is hilarious. They make crude cursing sound like an art form. I could listen to these two argue for a half hour every week.
When the duo decides to travel to Dr. Brown’s house to acquire dirt, they are the only people that get dirty. Almost goaded by each other’s presence, Gamby and Russell break into Dr. Brown’s home and gleefully destroy shit like two hyperactive kids after drinking a liter of Mountain Dew. With the destruction and crass swearing, Vice Principals sort of coasts on lowbrow humor, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. When Russell takes things up a notch and lights the house on fire, things get decidedly more serious. Now Gamby and Russell have a major secret and must rely on each other to keep quiet.
The move to commit arson sort of shows that Russell is the more unhinged of the two men. We learn a lot about Russell when a nervous Gamby visits him at home. Russell is constantly emasculated by his mother-in-law and his only retribution comes in the form of disgusting, petty acts of defiance like spitting in the old woman’s drink. Russell encourages Gamby to step up his bad behavior, presenting him with diamonds that he stole from Dr. Brown’s house.
We learn more about Gamby too, like his financial issues. Gamby owes $800 to pay for his daughter’s stable for her horse, so the diamonds that Russell nabbed from Dr. Brown are used to pay for it. That’s the sort of thing that could tie Gamby back to his and Russell’s crime, and I’m sure that their bad behavior in this episode will catch up to them. Also, if the pair are committing major crimes like this in the second episode while they are aligned, how crazy are things going to get when the men are at odds?
Just to hammer home how despicable Gamby and Russell act in this episode, the half hour ends with Dr. Brown complimenting the VPs’ work ethic, then the men mock her while she prays, but the whole thing is sort of lead by Russell. It sort of seems like the series is going to focus on Gamby being brought down to this sociopath’s level. Now to see how low that level goes.