This Vice Prinicpals review contains spoilers.
Vice Principals, Season 1, Episode 8
Vice Principals returned from its Labor Day hiatus this week with a new episode that added even more depth to our three principal leads. I say three because over the course of the season, Dr. Belinda Brown has really been given as much screen time and thought as Gamby and Russell. All three characters feel the stresses of their individual personal lives infecting their working relationships, leading them all down a path of mutually assured destruction.
Gamby really shouldn’t have much to stress about, but he finds a way to slip away from his happiness on account of his own insecurity. With the relationship with his daughter healed by her motocross accident and his burgeoning fling with Ms. Snodgrass heating up, things are better than ever for Gamby. In this healthy mindset, Gamby’s professional relationship with Dr. Brown progresses as well. The pair seems to work well together, and Dr. Brown even feels comfortable enough to open up to Gamby, as opposed to Russell, who she views with disdain. Dr. Brown offers Gamby the main vice principal position, which would lead to a higher paycheck and greater responsibility, but would mean Russell would be fired. It’s right when home and work life start looking up that Gamby decides to self-sabotage.
When Ms. Abbott lets Gamby know that Snodgrass may be using him to get back at Mr. Hayden, because they were involved in a sexual relationship, Gamby starts to fall apart at the seams. Once again following the pattern of toxic masculinity, Gamby acts like he has ownership over Snodgrass, and it disgusts him and fills him with petty jealousy when he thinks about his new girlfriend having a sexual history, even though he himself has engaged in casual sex at the school. It’s a gross double standard, and Gamby allows it to cause a rift between himself and Snodgrass. Seeking solace, he goes to Russell, who’s dealing with his own feelings of inadequacy.
After being discovered as the snake that he truly is by Dr. Brown, Russell is subjected to “bitch” work, which his wife and mother-in-law quickly pick up upon. Feeling ineffectual leads Russell to lean even harder and more ridiculously into his plot to take down Dr. Brown. He practices recording Dr. Brown at home, even as his overworked wife pleads with him to help out more around the house. It’s a subtle remark, but further adds to Russell feeling emasculated. When Gamby seeks advice from Russell and chides him for not being a present friend as well, he finally admits to being self-involved and sincerely apologizes. Their reconciliation should be a positive thing, but really these two just ignore their own issues and cause chaos when they mix, just like Dr. Brown and alcohol.
Yes, Dr. Brown reveals her fatal flaw to Gamby, that she has an alcohol problem. At her lowest point, after losing her kids to her no good ex, Gamby reluctantly tricks her into falling off the wagon, and boy, is the fall dramatic. Dr. Brown turns into a cursing, man-chasing, cop car defiling monster, and Russell, delightfully, and Gamby, regretfully, catch her antics on camera. All three give into their worst impulses, with Dr. Brown and Gamby potentially losing lucrative progress that they have made in their lives, and Russell further masking his problems with evil schemes.
The fallout from Dr. Brown’s big night out will certainly create enough waves to sustain the finale next week.