Kenny Powers is back — sort of

From the creators of 'Eastbound & Down' character Kenny Powers (played by Danny McBride), HBO comedy 'Vice Principals' follows two VPs — one portrayed by McBride — vying for school domination.

click to enlarge Walton Goggins (left) and Danny McBride in 'Vice Principals' - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Walton Goggins (left) and Danny McBride in 'Vice Principals'

Vice Principals (10:30 p.m. Sundays, HBO) is basically Eastbound & Down — there, I said it. The new HBO comedy from the creators of Eastbound character Kenny Powers (played by Danny McBride) follows two VPs competing for world school domination: Neal Gamby (McBride) and Lee Russell (Walton Goggins). There’s no denying that Gamby bears a striking resemblance to Powers, even without the mullet.

And it’s not just the fact that McBride, as this show’s co-creator and co-star, puts his unique stamp on both Gamby and Powers. Both characters work at schools, despite the fact that neither is equipped to shape children’s minds; they’re both megalomaniacal adult-sized children, the walking embodiment of “I know you are, but what am I?” This shtick is befitting of a failed baseball player (Powers), and the same qualities are all too perfect for a vice principal of discipline. 

But McBride’s Gamby finds his match in Goggins and his character, Russell. This VP of curriculum is a bona fide Southern dandy who’s just as intent on raising hell as Gamby. He just goes about it with his own style. Goggins is an over-the-top character actor in his own right (see his work in Justified or Sons of Anarchy), so seeing him face off against and then team up with McBride is a delight.

So we have another comedy starring McBride as an unrealistic authority figure on an ego trip, grasping at straws for any semblance of power. Maybe not the most original premise, but in this time of tired sequels and ill-fated reboots (they tried to remake Uncle Buck!), let’s take what we can get. And what we get from Vice Principals is the kind of humor that might well be too offensive if it weren’t so undeniably hilarious.

WEDNESDAY 27

Mr. Robot (10 p.m. Wednesday, USA) – Elliot tries to beat Mr. Robot by teaming up with Ray; Darlene wonders whether the Dark Army or the FBI is the bigger threat; Dom has a revelation.

THURSDAY 28

Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central) – Comedians talk trash and take names in this four-night event that’s like a Sweet 16 bracket with even more sick burns. Judging these roasters are David Spade, Anthony Jeselnik, Sarah Silverman and the Roast King himself, Jeff Ross. The comedians must use original material, keep their hands to themselves and end each battle with a hug. Continues nightly with a winner crowned live on Sunday.

Party Legends (10 :30 p.m., VICELAND) – Fred Armisen, Geto Boys’ Bushwick Bill, Bridget Everett and comedian Ryan Sickler get animated.

SUNDAY 31

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (8 p.m., Syfy) – Five years have passed since the events of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, leaving Fin (Ian Ziering) and April (Tara Reid) happily shark-free … until another sharknado touches down in Las Vegas. Look out for cameos by David Hasselhoff, Gary Busey, Gilbert Gottfried and about half of Hollywood’s Z-list.

Preacher (Season Finale, 9 p.m., AMC) – Jesse tries to get answers from heaven as the whole town watches. Debrief with Talking Preacher at 10:20 p.m.

MONDAY 01

The Bachelorette (Season Finale, 8 p.m., ABC) – Who will JoJo pick: Robby, the overly manicured former college swimmer who can’t stop talking about his “past relationship,” or Jordan, the overly coiffed former pro footballer who thought a tour of his old high school was a romantic date?

TUESDAY 02

Bachelor in Paradise (Season Premiere, 8 p.m., ABC) – Because if you can’t find love on a reality show where you compete against 30 others for one person’s affection, you might find love on one where the show’s rejects compete for other rejects’ affections.


CONTACT JAC KERN: @jackern

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