There comes a point when a comedic actor’s abilities have to either adapt or the actor’s career begins to fade. That’s the thing with Danny McBride right now; after Eastbound & Down wound up being hilarious, and spending way more time on television than it had in it, people have figured out what to expect with the Foot Fist Way star. Throw in a thick southern accent, lots of colorful language and comedy that doesn’t quite work and the lowest common denominator will laugh like they do at a fart joke. You have to disguise his comedy because McBride isn’t the type that can carry a property on his own anymore; we’ve seen what he can do and he’s a better sidekick than leading man.
So Vice Principals does something charming: they take McBride and Walton Goggins in a dark comedy. Goggins, best known as Boyd Crowder in Justified, steals the show far away from McBride.
Simple premise. Goggins and McBride are vice principals at a high school about to lose its principal (Bill Murray). When neither is selected, and someone else far more qualified (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) winds up in the spot, the two enter into an unholy alliance to get rid of her. Both want the position and if one of them can’t …. no one can, it seems.
The show’s problem is that it’s incredibly mean spirited as a comedy. It’s one thing to go dark as a comedy and make most of your characters inherently unlikable. It’s another, like Vice Principals, to make everyone so incredibly detestable that the show’s season finale cliffhanger is about as happy an ending as you can get.
Goggins continues his streak as easily the best thing in the show as the least unrelentingly awful human being in it; if you could comprise a show of characters so incredibly repugnant that even the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia look like decent, law abiding folks then you’ve got to bring some sort of comedy chops. And the problem is that the show doesn’t have it; this feels like a collection of jokes that didn’t make it into the final season of Eastbound.
This is the sort of show that on paper sounds amazing; you have two amazing actors with terrific timing and a brilliant premise. The execution leaves you wanting to take a shower at the end.
There isn’t much extra of note; mainly the usual blooper reels and deleted scenes.
HBO presents Vice Principals (Season 1). Starring Danny McBride, Walton Goggins. Run Time: 269 minutes. Not rated. Released on: 2.7.17
Tags: Danny McBride, Vice Principals, Walton Goggins