Vice Principals (2016-2018): The Complete Series DVD

WARNING!! SPOILERS CONTAINED WITHIN!! WARNING!!

I was aware of this show for a while but didn’t start watching it until it had already completed its first season. I think it was one of those lazy Sundays when I just decided to randomly check out the first episode and see what it was all about. I’m not a major fan of Danny McBride, but I do own him in Land Of The Lost (2009) and Your Highness (2011). I watched the series straight through, and enjoyed it. Kind of. But it was in the middle of the season when I began to see it’s kind of a mean spirited show. To me I look at the show as a pitch black comedy about two borderline sociopaths who slowly become friends. That’s pretty much how I viewed the two main characters of Neal Gamby (McBride) and Lee Russell (Walter Goggins), with Lee being the more sociopathic, but I stress borderline, because Lee has moments throughout the series where he shows sincere concern and emotion. But these two guys are just mean spirited motherfuckers and with characters like that it was mid-way through Season One where I had to fight to make it to the end. What kept me going was the comedy; it was genuinely funny in places, in a lot of places. So, after the finale was over my thoughts at the time was it was an interesting diversion, but there was no desire to follow it into its second and final season.

Then, a few months later, when Season Two started to air, I just had to find out, dammit, I’m getting ahead of myself again. Let’s start here before I state why I wanted to see the rest of the series . . .  in case you haven’t guessed the show is about two high school vice principals, Gamby and Russell, who in Season One are vying for the principal position after their current principal of North Jackson High, Principal Wells (cameo in the first episode by Bill Murray) decides to retire, but Gamby and Russell are such untrustworthy shits he doesn’t promote either of them, instead hiring someone else, a Dr. Belinda Brown (Kimberly Hébert Gregory), and this is what Season One is all about. Gamby and Russell hate each other, but they decide to form an alliance to “unseat” this new principal by any means necessary to get the spot vacant again, and I mean by any means necessary.

Gamby has a love interest in fellow teacher, Amanda Snodgrass (Georgina King), but has to settle with fellow Spanish teacher, Jen Abbott (Edi Patterson), when she appears unattainable and dating another teacher. Both Jen and Amanda are hot, but Jen comes with some serious baggage. She’s obsessed with Gamby and takes medication for some kind of personality disorder.

Russell is married to college sweetheart, Christine (Susan Park), and her mother lives with them. Russell hates her mother.

Believe or not, the season long scheming works and they end up blackmailing Brown into quitting, but along the way Jen’s obsessiveness got the best of her. Gamby even gets the girl. It all seems like a happy ending, until moments before the season ends someone firebombs Gamby’s car, and as he’s trying to put the fire out, someone wearing a mask walks up to him and shoots him twice, once in the shoulder, and once in the side. The season ends with Gamby bleeding on the pavement next to his burning car. And that’s why I came back to the show. I just had to know who the fuck tried to off Gamby. Along the way I started to like the show more than I did, which scares me as to what that says about me personally. These two characters are two of the worst I’ve seen and, yet, they’re played at such an entertaining level by McBride and Goggins I began to sympathize with them, to a degree, more with Gamby than Russell, but Russell kind of redeems himself in the last episode showing us even borderline sociopaths can be there when you need them too. I guess if he was a full on sociopath he probably wouldn’t be, so that might be his one endearing quality, being borderline and having enough humanity to be somewhat likable.

The objective now in Season Two is for Gamby to find his shooter, but during his stay at the hospital, after which he moved in with his ex-wife, Gale (Busy Philipps), and her husband, Ray (Shea Whigham, he also played Cole in Kong: Skull Island), so they could take care of him, he let his just budding relationship with Amanda fall into the crapper due to guilt; she’s now dating someone else. And while he’s been incapacitated Lee has taken full ownership of his vice principal job, sidelining Gamby to subordinate rather than equal when he returns. I initially had Lee pegged as the shooter, since it all makes sense, but there was a case for Belinda being the shooter too, and Gamby gets it into his mind it’s her too! Eventually he finds her, confronts her, and plans to shoot her dead, but the conversation veers to her getting him to believe, perhaps, Lee really did it.

Then, Gamby hears someone saw the shooter and the long hair he or she sported. I saw the hair too, but it looked like it was part of the mask. Anyhow, keeping that mind, Jen is shown later having cut her hair short! Holy shit! Jen did it! I stayed locked on that theory until a brief moment of doubt when Lee, Gamby, his daughter Janelle (Maya G. Love), and her friends go on a vacation and Gamby finds the mask in the trunk of Lee’s car, but guess who crashed the party moments before Gamby found it? That’s right—Jen’s still obsessed with him. My new theory was she planted the mask in his trunk. Fast forward to the last episode and, yeah, I was right! She did plant the mask! She goes full psycho, gets in a wedding dress and wants to marry Gamby. This confrontation leads to her shooting Lee right in the fucking head! This is my only lasting complaint about the series—McBride should’ve had the balls to keep Lee dead, but he didn’t. His head shot was not fatal. I won’t discuss anymore about that crazy ass episode, but in an epilogue they remain friends despite going their separate ways: Gamby becomes principal of a new school and Lee ends up being a regional manager at Apricot Lane Boutiques at the Mall.

Season One was released on DVD and blu-ray, but for reasons unknown Season Two never got a standalone release; this Complete Series set is only available on DVD too, and the only way you can get Season Two is to buy the entire series. Season One is split up onto two discs in the set, while Season Two gets a single disc, probably due to the lack of any commentaries. The first season has great commentaries, while there are zero on Season Two. That’s a travesty the likes of which I haven’t seen for a series in some time.


Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1.78:1 (anamorphic) widescreen—5.1 English Dolby Digital, 5.1 French Dolby Digital, 2.0 Spanish Dolby Digital—English, French, Spanish, Portuguese,  Thai subs

Extras included . . .

Season 1 (Disc #1):

  • Audio Commentaries On All Episodes With Various Members Of The Cast & Crew
  • Deleted Scenes (13:81 total)

Season 1 (Disc #2):

  • Audio Commentaries On All Episodes With Various Members Of The Cast & Crew
  • Deleted Scenes (4 scenes) (2:90)
  • Blooper Reel (4:57)

Season 2:

  • Deleted Scenes (15:54 total)
  • Blooper Reel (7:13)

 

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About Shawn Francis

Movie collector and horror writer.
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