I was looking forward to HBO’s Vice Principals. I found Eastbound & Down to be crass but hilarious. Bringing the sensibility and tone of that paean to petty insecurity into a high school setting seemed potentially genius. The story follows the high school’s two dueling vice principals who have to band together to get rid of the new principal who has usurped the job they both thought they deserved, and this seemed like it could be a recipe for hilarity. Add to it the great Walton Goggins, and it also seemed like a recipe for success. But it’s absolutely dreadful. Not funny in the least bit. I don’t even know how describe how unfunny it is. It hurts to watch – and not in the good, awkward, cringe-worthy way that things like The Office was. HBO has a huge misfire on its hands here.
The only bright spot – if there is one at all – is that the two idiotic men at the heart of the show fail on so epic a scale in their schemes (very Wile E. Coyote). But those schemes are so destructive, so dark, so hideous that we cannot see anything remotely entertaining about them. The idea then that these plans and destruction backfire on such a colossal scale means that everything they’ve done is for nothing. They seem only to be strengthening their enemy rather than destroying her.
Then again, if there is any silver lining here, it’s that dumb, entitled men who think they should just slide into places of authority when there are better qualified individuals, including women, aren’t going to find it that easy to derail real adversaries.