The biggest hurdle faced by The Righteous Gemstones is expectations. Created by Danny McBride (who produces alongside his partners-in-absurdity, directors Jody Hill and David Gordon Green), this HBO comedy about a family of dysfunctional televangelists appears, on the surface, to be a spiritual companion piece to its creative team’s Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals. Yet while it often echoes those predecessors’ themes and tone, as well as features some of their primary players (including Walton Goggins, hallelujah!), the latest from McBride and company is cut from a different cloth. There’s plenty of humor to be found here, but—in a twist bigger than any of its narrative right-turns—there’s also considerable heart.
In other words, come for the full-frontal gags—of which there are so, so many—and stay for the surprising pathos.