Editors note: Check out today’s interview with Edi Patterson.
The episode opens with Gamby resetting his focus on finding out who shot him. Ever-loyal Nash, played wickedly serious by Dale Dickey, is the only one to arrive to his mystery-solving party. This begs the question: where is Gamby’s best bud Russell (Walton Goggins)? He is, of course, busy serving as principal, an opportunity that arose only after Gamby was shot. Hold on…is Russell the shooter?!
Vice Principals delivers yet another solid episode with a natural progression for the main characters who seem to be splitting apart. The near-perfect episode last week bleeds right into this one as Russell attempts to salvage his marriage. As Russell focuses on his wife, Gamby becomes the popular kid at school. Well, not a kid, but vice principal who has earned the respect of the teachers. It’s something Russell has been craving, but it has eluded him due to his disingenuousness. Jealousy creates an emotional dissonance between Gamby and Russell that’s reminiscent of the first season but in a brand new way.
Some of the best moments come from Edi Patterson’s Ms. Abbott, who continues to be in “full-love” with Gamby. In a hilarious montage — check it out below — Gamby and Ms. Abbott go clothes shopping to make Gamby look cool. Her intensity is hilarious and is a nice reminder of how McBride and fellow creator Jody Hill have a way of making seemingly normal scenarios feel out-of-this-world crazy. A mix of great cinematography, music, and acting comes together in a way that’s more than just a comedy. This is a serious show that just so happens to have comedic moments.
Later in the episode, Gamby, Russell, Ms. Snodgrass and Nash team up to alter student test scores. Now that Gamby is in with the teachers, he reveals a plan they devised to destroy Russell: the teaches have purposefully not been teaching the state test curriculum. Thus, the students will fail and the school’s test scores will reflect poorly on principal Russel. Once Russel is fired, Gamby will ascend to his rightful position. At least, according to the plot’s mastermind, crazy Ms. Abbot.
The fact that Gamby risks his popularity and the attention from Abbott to tell Russell the plan speaks to their strong bromance. At its core Vice Principals is all about that complex love/hate relationship.
Both Gamby and Russell are caring people deep down and it takes extraordinary experiences for their good sides to surface. It’s also one of the more complex relationships in the pantheon of bromances since they at times hate, but also respect each other deeply.