This Vice Principals review contains spoilers.
Vice Principals Season 2 Episode 3
Almost every major comedy show at some point realizes that their love interests are more fun apart than together. Friends, The Office, New Girl, just off the top of my Netflix queue, figured out that their show lost a little sense of purpose and urgency when their predestined couples were happily matched rather than adrift or desperately longing. Pining has more comedic potential than settling down, so when things need a jolt, break up your darlings.
The unlikely pairing of Gamby and Amanda Snodgrass was both totally devoid of real-life logic but incredibly funny to watch evolve into an actual relationship. However, season two of Vice Principals commits to its dark trajectory and breaks the pair up immediately, with Gamby leaning into the drama of his accident and petulantly dismissing his girlfriend. Waving Snodgrass off is Gamby’s way to emphasize what a dark period he’s going through. Now that he’s back at school and interacting with his ex, and since we know he’s one of the most emotionally immature characters on television, of course Gamby’s interest is going to be reignited the moment Snodgrass finds someone new.
Gamby investigating the identity of Snodgrass’ new beau and then quickly, inconceivably connecting him to his shooting takes up a large portion of the episode. Gamby’s insecurity in the face of Snodgrass’ newfound flame leads to great, unhinged gags like Gamby impersonating a detective or bemoaning Snodgrass’ pubic hair choices when delivered a rejection. Gamby still is motivated, and made extremely paranoid, by uncovering the identity of his shooter, so much so that he’s developing intense surveillance methods and booby traps at his new isolated compound, but he’s just as desperate for attention and admiration, which will cause him to be distracted by failed relationships that he blew up himself.
Speaking of insecurity, Russell is so fragile that a cartoon caricature of him as King Ding-a-Ling sends him spiraling. Russell’s suspicions and worries of dissenters is like a horribly mundane, childish version of Macbeth. Russell is utterly mad with power, holding meetings like he’s delivering sermons, perched atop rocks in the forest behind the school. Just like Gamby, he so clearly wants and needs admiration, but he’s clueless in trying to acquire it. Those that are desperate to be admired just make themselves easier to dislike.
If you thought I was only referring to breaking Snodgrass and Gamby up in my intro to this review, you’re wrong. Arguably, Gamby and Russell are the real power couple on this series, and Russell gets peeved when Gamby openly questions and mocks his judgment in front of Russell’s other subordinates, and Gamby really disagrees with Russell’s leadership decisions. Gamby enjoys dogging on Russell a little too much while “undercover” too. A rift in their team-up would be the perfect way to strand these paranoid, ineffectual losers and force them to make more over-the-top, spiteful, bad decisions.