This Vice Principals review contains spoilers.
Vice Principals Season 2 Episode 6
The best episodes of Vice Principals use the high school setting to place the adult cast of characters in adolescent scenarios. As they say, high school never ends, and even though we get older and mature, the allure of popularity as social currency persists long after graduation. Ugly behavior can rear its head in pursuit of acceptance, and Gamby falls victim to the pitfalls.
Enjoying his new insider status with the teachers, “The Most Popular Boy” finds Gamby soaking up the adulation of his peers at the expense of Russell. Like the classic after-school special trope, Gamby turns his back on his pal the minute he gains access to a more desirable social circle, but the about-face is not exactly unwarranted. After all, Russell does miss Gamby’s meeting about his investigation for his shooter, something that’s deeply personal to Gamby.
Unfortunately, Russell’s priorities are a little different, trying to keep his marriage alive after last week’s implosion with Christine. Russell vows to be completely honest with his wife moving forward, but he’s become such a pathological, prolific liar that his commitment to the truth blows up in his face once he’s caught with takeout boxes after claiming to make dinner. It’s not an earth-shattering lie, but it’s the fib that breaks the camel’s back. Later in the episode, Russell returns home to find that his wife has left him.
As if things couldn’t get worse, Russell is also being set up by the teachers. An upcoming state test will determine whether Russell keeps his job, and the teachers had purposely underprepared their students so that Russell gets the boot. Gamby only learns this after transforming his style and overall demeanor, with the help of his new girlfriend, Ms. Abbott. Their little shopping spree transformation montage was a pitch perfect ‘80s high school movie parody, especially with the quick cutting, varied-angled pep talks.
Gamby is so intoxicated on the idea of befriending the teachers, he blows off his daughter’s award ceremony to attend Payday Drinks. However, since Gamby is not a complete monster, he notices Russell’s unhappiness and invites him along. The move doesn’t help Russell any, as the teachers just continue to mock and belittle him.
Brought down to such a low level, Snodgrass and Gamby use their pity for Russell to bond, and together reveal to Russell the teacher’s dastardly plan. The trio scurry to correct all of the tests, but are able to fix them and turn them into the school board in the nick of time. It’s an interesting twist, as the show seemed to be angling Russell as a man with nothing left to lose and Gamby as a turncoat who had defected to the otherside.
All season, it had appeared that the writers were turning these two men against each other for an epic final battle. Bringing them together like this is unexpected, but it still doesn’t exclude that projected finale from happening. Especially if we discover that Russell was the one who shot Gamby, and Gamby had done nothing but standby and help his friend when Russell needed him most.