A Look at “Veep” Season 3 Finale: “New Hampshire”

And so it’s come to this: the second half of Veep’s two-part season finale.  Selina Meyer has suddenly been thrust into the presidency while still having to campaign for the coveted spot in New Hampshire.  Maybe now that she’s becoming one of the most powerful people in the world, things will start to look up for Team Selina.  Maybe all the screw-ups are now a thing of the past.  Maybe they will all make a change.

Wishful thinking, I know, but I can hope.

New Hampshire- Team Selina en route to Washington

 

The episode begins with news spreading of Meyer preparing to accept the offer of President of the United States.  Everyone is too busy celebrating the sudden turn of events- Dan even got a voice mail from Beyonce, congratulating Selina on her win.  How Beyonce got Dan’s number is a mystery.  Amy, however, reminds Selina that she needs to return to New Hampshire to continue campaigning.

New Hampshire- Staff congratulates Selina on becoming the President

Sorry, Amy, the staff is having too much fun soaking in the moment to even care.  Selina is trailing Chung by a point and Pierce is about to pull out, which leaves Chung, Maddox and Thornhill.  There are more people around since the White House’s staff is now merging with hers.

New Hampshire- Selina asks Ben to be her Chief of Staff

But on a serious note, Selina needs a moment alone with Ben.  Neither of them expected Selina to win the presidency like this.  Ben also probably didn’t expect Selina’s sudden offer: she wants him as her acting Chief of Staff.  Ben, who has already seen the underbelly of Washington D.C. politics, doesn’t want it.  At all.  The job has already worn and hardened him and he wouldn’t want to go through that again.  But when Selina threatens to bring back Prohibition- she can apparently do that- Ben has no choice but to sign back on board.

New Hampshire- Mike dazzles the journalists at a press briefing

With four hours to go until the oath of office, Mike dazzles the press at his very first official press briefing, while Amy returns to New Hampshire and finds…

New Hampshire- Amy runs into Kelly and Richard

…Kelly and Richard have returned.  Huh.  I was wondering what happened to those two.  The two are ready to work, but Amy just tells them to find their supervisor, whoever that may be.

New Hampshire- Kent reveals that the Chung campaign traced the torture rumor to Dan

Kent brings Dan into a closet with bad news: remember that Danny Chung torture story?  Well, the Chung campaign has traced the leak back to the source- Dan.  Kent gives Dan an ultimatum- six hours to resign.

After having a brief chat with Mike about the amazing press conference he ran on no sleep, Ben runs into Dan, who needs confirmation about the torture story.  But Ben suddenly has no idea what Dan is talking about.  And that is how you backpedal on controversial issues, people.

New Hampshire- Dan meets with Jonah

This leaves Dan with his last resort: Jonah.  He needs Jonah to flat out deny the story and rebuke his followers on the internet.  That the Internet would still consider Jonah credible is questionable, but that’s veering off topic.

New Hampshire- Selina takes the Oath of Office

On the big day, Selina is prepared to take the Oath of Office.  However, during the oath, Mike accidentally taps some nearby glass. Oh, Veep, never change.

Jonah has a job in the White House again, but it’s not a job he’d want, so he wants a new deal.

Gary, meanwhile, has been saving a particular pair of shoes for Selina.  She puts them on and prepares to give her first presidential address.  Problem is the shoes squeak like ducks with each and every step.  And it doesn’t help that the squeaks can still be heard when she’s done giving her address.

When Selina returns to her team, she is livid.  Any and every screw-up that happens from now on will be a part of her legacy, so no more screw-ups!  Lady, do you have any idea what show you’re on?

New Hampshire- Kent tells Selina that the Iranians don't like the removal of Leslie Kerr

Oh, speaking of screw-ups, the Iranians are pissed that Selina let go of Leslie Kerr from the State Department instead of Leanne Karr from Energy.  Easy mistake to make, right?  These kinds of goofs were probably easier to avoid as the Vice President, but now that Selina is the center of attention, every single pundit, outlet, paper, website, hack with a blog- you name it- is gunning for her, hard.  Maddox withdraws from the race, so there’s that, but Chung is still trouncing her in the polls.

There’s still Jeff Kane, who controls the senior vote.  Dan goes to Jonah, who wants a new deal that includes an assistant, but not someone named Jonah.

One day left until the New Hampshire primary.  Maddox and Pierce have endorsed Chung, meaning Selina has no choice but to go to New Hampshire to campaign.  The team has a meeting set with Jeff Kane, who would like to see Selina embrace social security reform.

New Hampshire- Team Selina at uniform factory

Everyone heads to a uniform factory in New Hampshire and the bad news train begins to roll on through: Ben tells Selina that she technically isn’t President because she didn’t say ‘preserve’ during the oath.  Thanks, Mike!  She’ll need to head back to D.C., but ther’s no time, so the plan is to have a local judge administer the oath.  However, Catherine’s not there to hold the Bible, so there’s one more inconvenience.  It gets worse.  Iran is still super pissed about Kerr’s firing, and this could a spike in gas prices.

New Hampshire- Selina takes the Oath of Office AGAIN

Catherine arrives, Uncle Jeff agrees to back Selina and the oath is redone.  So all is well, right?

Wrong.  Chung wins the New Hampshire primary.  The season comes to a close as Selina’s staff leaves the Vice President’s office and heads for the Oval Office.  I’d say it’s smooth sailing from here, but no.  Just no.

Ah, Veep, you never cease to make me laugh.  Combined with “Crate,” “New Hampshire” was a strong way to end the season.  In fact, I’d go as far to say that these were definitely my favorite two episodes of the entire season if only because everything built to this moment.  Granted, it wasn’t done in the way I had expected, but Veep has a habit of throwing a wrench into any plan you can think of.

So now that Selina is the President, the show’s very title is outdated.  Yeah, super minor and not even a nitpick, but can the show even be called Veep anymore?  Will it be called POTUS?  Can television shows even change their titles during their run?

New Hampshire- Selina listens to voice mail from Beyonce

There’s a real sense of optimism as Team Selina looks toward the horizon and heads to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but for us viewers, there’s the possibility that Selina may actually turn out to be a damn good President.  This is something Selina’s wanted for as long as we’ve known her.  She’s been shafted left and right whenever the President makes a bad decision, her staff is completely incompetent and the day-to-day handlings of a Vice President aren’t all that exciting.

New Hampshire- President Meyer on the warpath

But once Selina actually becomes the President, things don’t really get any better.  In fact, they are worsened by the fact that she is the President.  If she’d worn squeaky shoes and delivered an address as the Vice President, some pundits and sites may have gotten a laugh, but now she’s under a much larger microscope and every single move she makes will be scrutinized, criticized and analyzed to a greater extent.  But she tries to absolve herself of any blame, such as when she called the team a pack of idiots during “Crate” and telling Kent here that he should have questioned her authority when she removed Leslie Kerr instead of Leanne Karr.

New Hampshire- Selina's flubbed oath

Having to retake the Oath of Office and losing the New Hampshire primary certainly don’t help, either.  There was genuine truth to when Selina told her team that any screw-ups would become a part of her legacy.  She can’t afford to have someone muck things up for her, but it’s going to and already has happened right out of the gate.  The joy she and Gary felt when they first learned that she would become President dissipates by season’s end when nothing really changes.

New Hampshire- Mike thinks of other men named Leslie before Selina silences him

We do still get to see the honeymoon period where Team Selina relishes the good news.  Mike was absolutely giddy during his performance as Press Secretary and got big laughs from the journalists.  But once things go awry for Selina, he becomes more antagonistic.  While Mike seems to be on board for the long haul, you could hear the disappointment in his voice when he learned that Selina would gain the Presidency.  I get the sense that he’s just tired of politics in general and would prefer a less stressful job.  That or live out his life in peace with Wendy and his kids.

New Hampshire- Gary beats himself up over giving Selina squeaky shoes

And poor Gary just can’t catch a break.  Rachel Hordenthal told him to find a job he’s halfway decent at and throughout the season, he’s gotten progressively worse, even if Selina still considers him her right hand.  Then he gets left in New Hampshire, the first time Selina’s ever left him, and the shoes flub just created more embarrassment.  Tony Hale has been on-point this season and I loved his breakdown when he beat himself up over Selina’s squeaky shoes.

New Hampshire- Dan and Amy

I’m curious where the show will take Dan and Amy.  It seems like Dan is back to his old self, as seen through his spats with Jonah, and now that Selina might not need a campaign manager, where will the show take him and Amy?

New Hampshire- Jonah learns the internet is making fun of him

Speaking of, Jonah’s come a long way since the season premiere.  First, he got fired.  Then he tried his own blog and ran into conflicts with the Washington political elite.  Then Team Selina realized he was the linchpin to the senior vote.  And despite joining Team Maddox, the campaign went under.  And after all of this, he’s now back in the White House.  Of all the performances this season, Timothy Simons was definitely my favorite.

New Hampshire- Selina watches Chung's victory speech in the New Hampshire Primary

There is no joy for Selina Meyer and company, or any love in politics.  She becomes the President, but the daily problems continue.  In fact, I have to wonder if Selina will even still want the Presidency at this point.  This has been a very good season for Dreyfus, as she’s shown us Selina’s quiet moments of reflection and quick moments of anger.  Now she’s one of the most powerful people in the world.  Will it be what she expected?  If the season finale is any indication, it may just end up being more of the same for her and her ragtag team.  But that’s why we love Veep so much.  No one is promised happiness.

A Look at “Veep” Season 3, Episode 9: “Crate”

And so we’re back on the campaign trail as Veep wraps up its third season in a two-parter.  And what a two-parter it was, as we got a surprise turn of events.

Crate- Team Selina in New Hampshire, watching Thornhill's speech

The episode begins with just four days left until the New Hampshire Primary.  Team Selina is watching Thornhill’s speeches and amazed at how someone so average could get a crowd fired up.  And yet Thornhill is killing in the polls because people like someone who comes off as normal.  Selina, eager to get away from politicos for a moment, believes that she can be folksy.  All right, I guess.  The team plans to plant her on street corners, malls, schools and on local call-in shows in order to get her in touch with the proletariat.

Crate- Kent helps Selina onto her new crate

Kent has a genius idea: a heavy, reinforced titanium crate that Gary struggles to take out of the box.  However, he won’t be able to watch Selina give her literal stump speeches.  He’s headed back to D.C. to the President care to the First Lady.

From this, we get a brief montage of Selina delivering stump speech after stump speech- along with Dan briefly congratulating Amy on the campaign manager position.  Well, at least he’s not bitter.

Crate- Jonah has breakfast with Bill Ericsson

We revisit Bill Ericsson as he sits down to have breakfast with Jonah, who has bad news: the Maddox campaign is floundering and everyone is ready to abandon ship.  Jonah brags about having offers, but the truth is that he has none because, as Ericsson points out, he has no skills.  Jonah’s only useful because his uncle has the power to sway the senior vote.  In the end, Ericsson offers Jonah nothing.

Crate- Team Selina meets Quincy Carter, The Endorser

Selina meets with voters at a mall before her meeting with Quincy Carter, played by Nick Wyman: a writer at a local newspaper who can swing the vote, which is why he’s known as The Endorser.  He comments on the $1200 price tag for the crate.  Did that come out of Kent’s wallet?  Amy tells Dan to go grab Mike.

Crate- Wendy and Mike discuss their future

Mike, getting literally a few moments away from the campaign, speaks with Wendy about their future.  Though Mike at first can’t fathom the idea of leaving Selina, the prospect of him and his family having their home away from the world of partisan politics is tempting.  But Dan arrives and takes him away from his momentary happiness to bring him to Selina.  By the time they do, however, the reporter has already agreed to do a more substantial interview at another time.

Crate- Jonah speaks with his mother

Three days until the primary, Jonah makes phone calls while neglecting to help his mother, played by Nancy Lenehan, sort out her pills.  Dick.  Jonah admits that he has no D.C. friends- they just call him names behind his back.  Literally behind his back so he can hear them.  All the times they called him names to his face must not count.  But what he could use now is a phone call to Uncle Jeff.

Crate- Quincy Carter's one-on-one interview with Selina

During the one-on-one interview, Carter asks Selina three quirky questions he asks all people he interviews: who, dead or alive, does she most despite?  She tries not to hate anyone, but turns out most people would just go with Hitler.  Second, if she could alter one personality trait, what would it be?  Selina responds that she can be a bit impatient- Mike fully agrees- and turns out that Neil Diamond had the same response.  Finally, why does God allow suffering?  Mike tries to help out by asking Siri, but Selina’s response about childhood cancers will have to suffice.

Carter leaves as Ben and Sue enter.  Sue, as has been her job this episode, delivers more news of campaign donations.  The team talks of the various names they give to particular donors who they feel don’t donate enough money, such as GUMMI: Give Us More Money, Idiots.  Dan just calls them dicks.  It doesn’t stand for anything, though.

Crate- Team Selina realizes that Quincy Carter left his phone and it's still recording

And it’s at this point that Amy draws their attention to Carter’s phone, which is on the table and still recording.  They scramble to cut it off or, at least, delete the recording, but end up getting locked out after too many password tries.  Gary tries to stall for time, but Carter returns and reclaims his phone.

Crate- Jonah's mother calls Uncle Jeff

Jonah’s mom makes a call to Uncle Jeff to apologize for their spat, though she’s mostly there to help Jonah get a job with the Chung campaign.  All seems to be going well until mom and Joe fall back into their arguments, which leads to Uncle Jeff hanging up.

Crate- Team Selina learns that Quincy Carter wrote article on GUMMI code

At Selina’s New Hampshire campaign office, the team learns that Quincy ran a piece on what Team Selina really makes of its donors, some of whom have withdrawn their donations.  After a long silence, Selina acknowledges that there’s no way out of this for a sitting Vice President who is on the verge of losing New Hampshire.  But no, she’s not to blame.  Her team of ragtag morons is!

Crate- Reporters swarm Selina with questions

So during the next stop on the campaign trail, Selina and company are swarmed with questions, left and right.  She eventually gets to a room with some quiet and meets a couple from Syria.  Their conversation is cut short by the return of Kent who, as Amy notes, is acting weird.

Crate- Kent tells Selina that POTUS is resigning to spend more time with his wife, meaning Selina is about to become President

Kent reveals that the First Lady is not in a good place.  The President is going to resign in order to spend more time with her.

In other words, Selina Meyer is about to become the President of the United States.

Crate- Gary and Selina react to the Presidential news

Selina, clearly overcome with emotion, enters the nearest restroom.  Gary soon joins her and when he learns of the good news, he gets a nosebleed.  The two are overcome with elation and start laughing as if they’re on some kind of drug.  Whatever it is, I want some.

Word passes down the Veep grapevine.  Though the plan is to return to D.C. as soon as possible for the swearing-in ceremony, Amy points out that Selina is technically still running for President, so someone has to remain in New Hampshire and be the face of the campaign.  That someone is none other than Gary.

Jonah gets the news of Selina’s ascent.  It’s as if someone just flew two planes into his career.

With the odds heavily against Selina, “Crate” was mostly about setup.  I won’t address much of what I liked and disliked about it because I feel it would go along much better in the second half of these two episodes.  However, I will say that this had all the trimmings of any presidential campaign: stump speeches, going to local newspapers and media, and trying to appeal to the everyday voter.  Team Selina, as usual, finds ways to screw things up.  It’s just in their nature that things will go wrong.

Crate- Mike was going to raise ducks

And Selina’s rise had some negative implications for some, such as the aforementioned Jonah, but even Mike, who looked to be on his way out to spend more time with his family, is now drawn back into the fray when his boss gains the Presidency.

Crate- Gary's nose bleeds

The highlight of this episode had to be Gary and Selina’s overjoyed reactions in the bathroom.  And it all felt natural, as if they’d just been told to react to receiving the greatest news ever, and it was great.  Gary ending up with a nosebleed, coupled with there being no toilet paper and his bag having tons of tampons made the scene funnier.

Again, there’s much to say about this episode, but we’ll save that for Part Two.

A Look at “Veep” Season 3, Episode 8: “Debate”

You know, politicians are just like people.  No, scratch that.  In a way, they’re more like athletes.  They’re always read to step up to the plate, hit the political ball out of the park, make their way around all 50 bases-I mean states- and eventually land on home plate at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Or something like that.  “Debate” is a fun episode from start to finish and turns the American political system on its well shaven, red, white and blue head.  As always the case is with Veep, nothing goes according to plan.  This week, we tackle the Presidential debates and see how our candidates think on the spot, how much the American people will eat that up and, more importantly, wonder how in the world these people became politicians in the first place.

Debate- Debate Prep

The episode begins at the Meyer Campaign Headquarters, where Team Selina and temporary Dan stand-in, Jackson, played by Andrew Leeds, go over Selina’s rivals, primarily her biggest targets: Maddox and Chung.  Gary interrupts the debate prep to introduce the new and improved Selina Meyer!

Debate- Selina's new do

Complete with a new haircut that no one in their right mind would like.

Debate- Dan returns

Also sporting a new look is Dan, who has returned from London as a new man.  He diagnosed himself and apologizes to Selina for his behavior, so I suppose all is well.

During debate prep, everyone notices Selina’s right eye twitching, which is sure to cause a huge distraction during the debate.  Dan may have a smoking gun to take out Joe Thornhill: he has a friend in the MLB who says that Thornhill once had an affair.  It could be a finishing blow, but the team needs the sources to confirm this, first.

Debate- Mike tells Gary that he hates Selina's new hairdo

Mike talks to Gary in private about Selina’s look: he doesn’t like it.  At all.  He thinks it’s too short and Selina is opening herself to an onslaught of lesbian jokes.  So now they’ll have to find reporters and get them on their side so they won’t make fun of Selina.  They’ll probably do that anyway, but whatever makes these guys feel better.

Debate- Presidential candidates team photo

Three days later, debate night has arrived and we go to the University of New Hampshire.  We already know Meyer, Chung and Maddox, but now we’re introduced to Joe Thornhill, played by Glenn Wrage, and Owen Pierce, played by Paul Fitzgerald.  The five take the obligatory ‘Play nice and get along’ group photo before heading out to face the audience.

Oh, and Selina’s twitch is still there.

Debate- Joe Thornhill wows the audience and focus group

Thornhill kicks off the debate by pacing the stage and speaking about America because America.  What the country needs is someone who is ready to coach America and he’s just the coach for the job.

In the hallway, the campaign teams monitor focus group reactions.  Surprise, they all love Thornhill.

Chung talks about being in the army again and rescuing a soldier from a burning tank again.  Move along.

Debate- Wendy shows up to do a puff piece on Selina

Wendy shows up to do a puff piece on Selina, so nothing major.  Gary unintentionally spills that Selina listened to what Ray wanted, which contradicts what Selina says seconds later on stage that her fitness instructor played no part in the decision making.  Oops.

Debate- Owen Pierce brings out the plug

Oh, and Owen Pierce uses a plug for a visual.  How different, I guess.

Debate- Thornhill blocks Selina

When the candidates are asked about the military, Chung begins to respond, but Thornhill not only cuts him off, he doesn’t let Chung finish and he blocks Selina in the process.

Dan’s source confirms that Thornhill did have an affair.  When Amy gives Selina the signal to go ahead with this bombshell, Selina speaks to the fact that she has absolutely no skeletons in her closet.

Debate- Thornhill admits to having an affair

So what does Thornhill do?  He openly admits to having an affair on live television during a presidential debate!  But he still asks the American people for forgiveness!

Who knew that honesty could be such a powerful weapon?  This also means that Wendy can’t run with that story, so Mike better start talking about the First Lady’s condition.

Debate- Selina forgets the third of her three R's of immigration

Selina does still have one hopeful ace up her sleeve when the topic comes to immigration- her three R’s: reaffirm, reform and…she can’t remember the last one.  Instead of remembering that it’s “renew,” she says “repel” unwanted immigration.  And yet, the focus groups love her.  Why?  Because Meyer wills it, I guess.

Also, Selina’s twitch, which returns during her forgetful phase, turns into a useful distraction when Maddox focuses on it too much and pays little attention to the question from the audience.  Instead, he talks about holes, big ones, small ones and legitimate holes.

And Thornhill wins the focus group poll, so maybe Ericsson wasn’t too far off when he said voters would respond well to his kind of story.

Debate- Maddox takes center stage

“Debate” was the opposite way to present yourself to the American people, with methods such as using props, talking over and blocking candidates, not paying attention to the questions, bad word choice and forgetting your message.  These are the makings of a presidential debate doomed to fail from the start, and that’s just what happens.  Veep has always been about the unpredictability of politics, but also how no promises are kept and everyone will inevitably fail in one of the worst ways possible.  All this time we’ve followed Selina’s journey, but on the stage, we see that none of these contenders are truly ready for prime time.

Debate- Maddox, Meyer and Chung react to Thornhill

The satire of American politics on Veep has always been great, but it really shined with the debate by showing how much candidates try and stand out or have some sort of zinger.  Whether it’s Selina thanking the staff for organizing the debate or having a Rick Perry moment by forgetting one of three R’s, Chung pulling a John Kerry and reminding the audience how he served in the military or Thornhill trying to be the All-American style candidate, the country is doomed if this is the best we have to vote for.  I love it.

Debate- Amy talks with Selina

Selina’s in a transitional phase right now.  With the London trip over, it’s time to get back to business.  Ray is gone and she’s got both a new haircut and a new campaign manager.  In a way, it feels like a fresh start, but like the twitch, there are little nuisances that keep her from going as far as she could- nuisances that range from her staff, Jonah, her family, other politicians and even her own issues.  Sure, as Vice President, Selina may have a political edge over her competitors, but as we see in this episode, none of them come off as very polished.

Debate- Mike and Wendy's conflict of interest marriage

Everyone else on staff looks like they’d rather be doing something else.  Mike’s conflict of interest with his wife deepens when he and Gary try to cover up a mess that they end up making worse, and turns out that no one even spent time talking about Selina’s haircut anyway.  Hopefully these two don’t fall apart because of the conflict of interest, because I do think they make a good pair.

Debate- Selina's twitch returns

And Amy at least appears to be more competent at the campaign manager position than Dan did.  Good.  Whether she’ll remain that way, I don’t know.  Given the preview for next week’s episode, it doesn’t seem likely.

Debate- Selina meets Joe Thornhill

Oh, and I loved Thornhill’s debate debut.  Part of me wants this guy to actually win the Presidency not because I think he’d do a good job- none of them would, really- but because the voters seem to love him and as far as we know, he doesn’t have any political or personal baggage he’s unwilling to admit.

While there wasn’t a lot of debate so much as there was preparation for the debate and reacting to the debate, this episode had great writing, memorable lines and more misfortunes not just for our presidential candidates, but their staffs who must spin flaws into strengths.  Good luck with that.  Onward to the campaign trail!

 

A Look at “Veep” Season 3, Episode 7: “Special Relationship”

Even in another country, Vice President Selina Meyer has troubles all around her.  Learning that your campaign manager pimped you out is probably the biggest way to ruin your trip to London, even more so when you didn’t make any money out of it.  “Special Relationship” takes Team Selina to London, where they’re to meet with the Deputy Prime Minister.  Dan continues his work as campaign manager, but when he’s speaking quickly and downing Red Bulls to fuel himself, you know he’s headed for a crash.

The episode begins in London, where Super Campaign Manager Dan relays information to the team in D.C. about Selina’s upcoming visit to a pub.  Did I say super?  I meant on edge, as Dan is talking more frantically than before and downing Red Bull to give him a boost.

Special Relationship- Ben informs Selina about why the President couldn't come to London

At the Deputy Prime Minister’s Reception, Selina receives an update from Ben on the President’s status: he would have attended, but he had to remain in the states in order to close a deal with China.

Special Relationship- Meeting the Deputy Prime Minister

When Selina meets with the Deputy Prime Minister, he asks her about the accusations that the United States has been spying on them.  Huh.  That’s something I never read about in the Snowden leaks.  But no, Selina says, the United States doesn’t spy on other nations- they collect data.  There’s a difference.

Special Relationship- Mike and Amy not at the party

Mike and Amy don’t get to attend, though.  Mike’s preparing a speech for Selina and Amy is…well, Amy.

Special Relationship- Ray tries to learn a new word each day

Oh, and Ray’s not doing the team any favors, either.

Special Relationship- Jonah in London

Jonah’s also in London because Jonah wills it, I guess.  But actually, he’s there spying for Maddox.  Kent, who is also in London, reports back to the team.

Special Relationship- Selina and crew at pub, about to drink up

During the pub visit, Selina manages to hold onto her liquor longer than the Deputy Prime Minister, which is great, but it’s not so great when Selina repeats “Daniwah” over and over after hearing the crowd cheer it.  It’s actually “Down and one,” according to Amy, but whose keeping track, really?

Of course, with the speed at which news moves, the term trends on Twitter in no time.

The main event is Selina giving a speech to commemorate fallen World War I soldiers.  Gary chooses a relatively small hat, but Ray also isn’t a fan of that or Mike’s speech, which he feels is too wordy and could be simplified.

Amy, meanwhile, slips off to make a call to the German Chancellor, when she actually calls Jonah.  I’m not sure why she or anyone else on Team Selina would have or keep his phone number, but anyway, in a faux British accent, Amy tells Jonah that she has juicy details about a damaging story regarding Selina Meyer.

Special Relationship- Selina's goofy hat

So when Selina gives her speech, not only is it overly simple in its style, but the hat Ray chose for her is anything but.

Special Relationship- Jonah tells security guard that he's there to meet a man

Jonah, thinking he’s walked into All the President’s Men, waits in a parking garage for his informant.  A man waiting in a dark garage for another man is already questionable by itself, as indicated by the look the nearby security guard gives Jonah.  When Jonah gets a call, he doesn’t help himself out by saying the words “Deep Throat” over the phone.

Special Relationship- Jonah meets with journalist to discuss Ray's blog

So he meets a journalist from The Daily Mirror at a coffee shop, even though the journalist insisted on a pub, and wasn’t keen on meeting in a garage.  Jonah mentions that before Ray was brought onboard Team Selina, he had a blog that has since been deleted.  Through Jonah’s expert research, meaning that he went on Google, he found screen grabs from the site: among the many things Ray wrote about, one of them was that obesity was a punishment.  Well, that could be a problem.  Jonah believes that the site could really hurt Selina and though the journalist isn’t originally interested in the story- you know, he has actual journalistic standards- he eventually jumps on board.

Special Relationship- Mike, Ben and Deputy Prime Minister spot Selina's hat

The Deputy Prime Minister congratulates Mike and Gary on Selina’s speech, though the Vice President is nowhere to be found.  He suspects that Selina is going to meet with the German Chancellor at a nearby chapel, and is proven correct when he can see the silhouette of Selina’s hideous hat through a window.  Hey, if Mike and Gary can’t see it, then the hat’s not there.

Special Relationship- Selina and Deputy Prime Minister at press conference

During a press conference, Ray’s blog is the main topic and Selina is unable to avoid it.  Hell, she’s forced to admit to the press that she was once a fat child.  Unlikely, but sure, let’s try and sympathize with Meyer for a moment.  That sympathy goes away when she learns that Ray wrote about obese children being possessed by devils.

In the middle of all of this, Ben is called back to D.C. and Dan falls into a nervous breakdown.  That’s our campaign manager.  While the others take Dan to a hospital, Mike is in charge.  Mike is in charge.  Mike is in charge.  He’s got this.

Special Relationship- Kent fires Ray

Kent fires Ray, and that gets no argument from Selina when she returns.  She’s not too concerned about the fat remarks.  Fat people don’t even vote, right?  Even though Selina had already planned to drop Ray, she soon makes another big decision when Gary tells her that Dan only hired Ray as a sex slave for Selina.  Yup.  The Veep just got pimped out and everyone knew about it.

Special Relationship- Amy and Dan at hospital

At the hospital, Amy consoles Dan, just like a true friend would.  When she learns that Dan has been fired, however, she’s on her way out and Jonah’s on his way in, like a true friend would.

At the United States Ambassador’s residence, the team learns of tragic news: the first lady tried to commit suicide through a combination of vodka and overdosing on sleeping pills.  Kind of makes your problems seem not so big, huh?

Oh, and Amy’s the new campaign manager.  I guess that’s something.

Not even abroad can Selina Meyer ever catch a break.  This was another fun episode that, in Veep fashion, shows just how freaking hard it is to be Selina Meyer.  Anything, and I do mean anything, that could go wrong does go wrong.  Trouble follows her everywhere she goes, and finding out that Dan hired Ray as a sex slave was the final straw as far as whether Selina needed Dan as campaign manager anymore.  You get the feeling that she’s really fed up with her team.  Maybe it’s time she took Ericsson’s advice and got rid of her crew.  Keep valuables like Ben, Kent and Sue along since they actually get things done.

The only people who really come out on top this week are Amy and Jonah, but that happiness probably won’t last long.

Special Relationship- Selina tells Mike she doesn't want to talk about horses

“Special Relationship” took a break from the fast paced world of American politics to the slower paced world of British politics.  With this came a lot of poking fun at American misconceptions about another culture, such as Selina debating with the pub owner about football and soccer.  There was some great real life humor as well, such as the revelation that the United States had been spying on other nations.  Because how could a superpower as noble as us do something like spy on others?  We’re completely transparent!  Just when we’re not.  I did also get a laugh when Selina said that the crew needed to drive back to the airport at Diana speed, but a little more careful.

Though the episode had its fair share of comedy, it wasn’t without its developments, as we see with Selina dropping Ray, dumping Dan for Amy, and learning of the First Lady’s condition.  For all the terrible things that happen with Team Selina, it is nice that they took a moment to reflect after learning about the First Lady’s condition.  They’re not completely selfish and out to satisfy their own needs and vanity.  Not completely, I said.

Special Relationship- Ray and Kent

If this is the last we’ll see of Ray, I am glad Christopher Meloni brought some energy to the show.  Much more animated and light hearted compared to the gruff, more serious performance we’d seen him give on Law and Order: SVU.  Given how Ray was brought on to distract Selina from Andrew, does this mean Andrew will eventually be reappearing?  I mean, Selina did say she wanted him on board, but neither he nor Catherine appeared this week.

Special Relationship- Selina learns that Mike is in charge

Dreyfus herself turns in another strong performance, showing a great range of emotions to absolute dismay when she learns Mike is temporarily in charge, to imitation sorrow when she talks about being fat, to cruelty when she talks about fat people not voting.  That’s our Vice President!

Special Relationship- Dan tells Amy that she's a true friend

As for Dan, I guess the pressure just got to be too much for him.  He was already frantic last week, but the stress of the job collapsed under him.  Hiring a sex slave for Selina didn’t help, but his self-destruction was fun to watch.  Hell, his overreaction during the abortion debate telegraphed that someone like this would happen.  Hopefully he bounces back, but judging by the preview for next week’s episode, he appears to have mellowed out.

Special Relationship- Amy

So, will Amy, ultimately, be any better of a campaign manager than Dan?  Maybe, but I doubt it.  I mean, I like Amy and I’m sure that, buried beneath all that self-centeredness she shares alongside the other characters, there’s some semblance of a hard worker, but hey, now it’s her turn.  I think she may last longer than Dan, but I’m just waiting for her implosion.  Hopefully that won’t also involve Jonah showing up to rub it in, as he did with Dan.  Her celebratory dance may be one of the last happy moments she has once her job as campaign manager kicks in.

The beauty of Veep is showing how such a group of clearly talented individuals all fall apart when they’re put together.  The turbulent world of politics just turns their days upside down even quicker.  Nothing ever goes according to plan, there’s always someone with a camera or recorder nearby, ready to record your every single moment, and you just can’t catch a break.  But Veep makes it so much fun to watch these characters implode and crumble that you put aside your politics and just enjoy the ride.

A Look at “Veep” Season 3, Episode 6: “Detroit”

This week, Veep shows just how important it is that all politicians keep their views in check at all times.  Whether speaking in private or public, you never know whose eavesdropping or taking notes.  And the ever present hot-mic can be there to make your private comments go viral in seconds.  Selina’s on the trail again, but more interpersonal troubles with her team, some mismanaged words, and a run-in with the Statue of Liberty make for a frantic time this week.

Detroit- Selina, Catherine and Gary ride past protesters at National Jobs Summit

The episode begins in Detroit, where Meyer and company are set to attend the National Job Summit, complete with protesters.  Everyone’s already making plans: Selina plans to announce 7,000 new jobs, Catherine is excited to be on the trail and new campaign manager Dan is chewing out the networks to make sure Selina is covered.  Amy, however, complains about Selina’s personal trainer.

Oh, and Andrew is there, too.  More family drama, of course.

While Selina mingles, Amy-before Dan, mind you- breaks the news that a shooting took place nearby.  Emily La Fuente, a journalist that Selina never liked, was killed, but the team believes the shooting will overshadow the jobs announcement.  Yeah, why’d this woman have to go off and get killed the same day the Vice President was to make a major announcement?

Detroit- Jonah complains about not having a retractable lanyard

Elsewhere, Jonah complains about not being given a retractable lanyard.  Priorities.  However, he gets a chance to mix when he proposes to Mike a photo-op between Maddox and Meyer, just to prove that the two don’t hate each other.

Detroit- Sally Phillips returns as Finland Prime Minister Mina Houkenen to talk about guns

Sally Phillips returns to Veep to reprise her role as Finland Prime Minister Mina Houkenen, who is also at the conference.  To Selina’s delight, the husband is not, so no more random groping.  Houkenen is there to deliver the keynote address.  She and Meyer talk guns, with Houkenen insisting that America has too many firearms.  Selina, though she could be joking, says that there can be too many guns in America.

Detroit- Ray, Selina's personal trainer, played by Christopher Meloni, sees tension in Amy

Oh, we learn that Gary’s arm troubles are a thing of the past thanks to Selina’s personal trainer, Ray, played by Detective Elliot Stabler himself, Christopher Meloni.

Detroit- Jonah talks with Mina Houkenen about Selina's gun remark

Jonah has a run-in with Houkenen, who he manages to convince that he is part of Selina’s team.  Thus, it’s perfectly fine for the two to discuss Selina’s comments regarding the Second Amendment.

During some down-time, with Ray stretching Selina out, Mike brings in a statement that Selina can sign regarding the journalist’s death.  Amy, though, believes that Team Selina is getting too big.  Ben isn’t overly impressed with Mike’s draft of Selina’s speech: it needs something noteworthy that will automatically produce a memorable sound byte.

Detroit- Selina brings Amy aside to tell her that she's sleeping with Ray

Selina brings Amy aside to talk in private to ask what she thinks of Ray.  Amy is now perfectly fine with the trainer, which is great, because Selina is sleeping with him.  Selina wants him around, but for now, only Amy knows this secret.

Except everyone else but Mike already can guess this.

Detroit- Frenzy after Catherine punches protester

The group heads to the summit, but when they get out of their vehicles, trouble ensues.  A protester dressed as the Statue of Liberty gets a bit too close, so Catherine does what any Vice Presidential daughter would do and punches the guy out.  The whole planned speech is thrown into an uncontrollable frenzy and everyone is whisked away.

Detroit- Sue and Kent report to Team Selina

From D.C., Sue and Kent relay a change of plans to Team Selina, which just gets wind of a story regarding Selina’s comment on guns.  Makes you wish you were still dealing with the abortion issue, huh?

A now ticked off Selina does not want to do the handshake with Maddox, but Dan insists that good public relations will do wonders for their poll numbers.

Detroit- Catherine and Andrew come to Selina's room

That will have to wait later, as Selina and Ray have wonders to perform on each other.  Amy and Gary stand watch outside Selina’s door and the watch goes fine until Andrew and Catherine conveniently shows up.  When Selina emerges from the room, she and Andrew have a spat about their past relationship.

Detroit- Touching Selina

And to make things better, Houkenen shows up and apologizes for the story.  She didn’t intend for the comments to go public, but she was told that Jonah was part of Selina’s team.

The next day, Dan is eager to neutralize the gun issue and plans to do so by having Selina show up at the Wayne County Gun Fair- an all woman’s gun fair.

Detroit- Handshake with Maddox

Not before the handshake with Maddox and a chance for a viral photo takes place, though.

At the gun show, Dan advises Selina to be both conservative and liberal at the same time.  Easy, right?

Detroit- Selina at gun show

While the women in attendance are glad to meet the Vice President, they’re more excited to meet Catherine, whose popularity has exploded since punching Lady Liberty in the face.  The women even already have shirts with her face on them.  I don’t know how someone does that in such a short amount of time.

The team heads back to the summit so Selina can present her jobs amendment, only for Andrew to tell her that the company has defaulted.  There will no longer be any jobs after all.  Whoops.

Detroit- Mina Houkenen and Selina Meyer for Q&A

Kent, however, is able to make a quick switch so the speech is instead a Q&A with the panelist, who just happens to be Prime Minister Mina Houkenen.  When the Q&A begins, Houkenen presses Selina to mention the jobs announcement, but Selina tries to change the subject.  She sidesteps it long enough for Houkenen to literally force the announcement into her hand.  When Selina mentions the 7,000 new jobs, the crowd not only applauds, they give her a standing ovation.

Luckily, Selina won’t have really lied for another six months.  Also, she wants Andrew on Team Selina.  That can only end well.

So this week, we see the importance of sticking to your figurative and literal guns, less so clinging to religion.  When you’re not a public figure, you can get away with saying something potentially scandalous or controversial.  Not so when you’re a well known figure and especially when you’re the Vice President who is running for the Presidency of the United States.  Making an offhand comment in such a high position of power can lead to someone being offended, even if that was not the intent.

As we’ve seen throughout the show’s run, Selina Meyer is not one to mince her words.  We see so much of her life away from the cameras that we get an understanding of her political philosophy and politics as a whole.  When she’s with her team, she doesn’t need to censor herself.

Detroit- Maddox puts his hand on Selina's back

But the political world is ever changing and always moving.  Like a photo, a few seconds of banter can lead to an everlasting moment that mold a politician’s life.

Detroit- Mina and Selina talk about babies having guns

Unintentionally angering constituents is not new, but for the most part, what makes Selina different is that we as an audience don’t see her interact all that often with the voters she’s angered.  Now, the confrontation during “Clovis” is an exception, but whenever Selina says something damaging, we usually hear of its impact and the fallout it causes.  We don’t see Selina process it because she’s moving onto something else.  That’s the nature of the political business, especially when running for President.  Such a busy life means you don’t get to slow down and take in your surroundings.

It’s interesting to see Veep tackling such hot-button issues with abortion, fracking and now guns.  It plays well to the real life context of how much politicians have to shift and change their views based on the political climate.  Whether someone is flip-flopping or their views are evolving, politicians can change their minds in an instant, which is why it’s so important to stick to your beliefs as is.  For Selina, however, that would mean offending the gun lobby, which she needs to get her into office.  Dan’s line about Selina being liberal and conservative at the same time shows the tightrope politicians always walk, and sometimes walk back, when making their views known.

Detroit- Dan late on delivering news

Dan fits well into the fast paced life of campaign manager just fine since we’ve already known him to always be on the move.  So far, for obvious reasons, only Amy seems affected by it to the point that she herself believes that Selina is her best friend.  And Anna Chlumsky always manages to make Amy look so self-centered that it probably helps that she have a close friend in the wake of losing the job she very much wanted.  It is clear, though, that Dan still buckles to higher authority figures and hasn’t fully let the power get to his head- as we see when he chews Mike out for his badly written speech, only to backpedal when he learns that Ben wrote it.

Detroit- Catherine REALLY doesn't want to go to a gun show

I liked Catherine’s outburst, but I wish we got to see more of her sticking up for herself.  Throughout the episode, she complains about Dan sending her to outlets like movie awards shows just to do damage control.  Problem is everyone around her is so busy that they still see her as a kid worth ignoring.  Even at the end, because Catherine tells Selina that are problems are tied to Dan, she should speak to Dan.  We don’t see Catherine that much, but whenever we do, we see a girl who has missed out on having a normal childhood due to her mother’s political ambitions.  If she’s going to continue traveling with Team Selina, I do wish she’d show more of a spine.  Now that both Mom and Dad are on the team, however, I wonder whether she’ll have any say in anything.  Hey, at least the girl gun lobby loves her.

Detroit- Jonah waits for the big photo moment

Jonah was actually used effectively this week and not just for jokes.  By being the one to leak the story about Selina’s gun comments, he put her on the defense and scooped the rest of the competition in the process.  It was breaking news as it happened, so good for him, even if his involvement this week was minimal.  Plus he got the photo op he wanted with a nice viral photo as a bonus.  I’d say he had a pretty good week.

Detroit- Ray guesses Rudolph

Briefly on Ray.  I think Christopher Meloni did a fine job playing him, but I wish he had a better introduction.  Given how the others speak of him before he actually appears, it gives off the vibe that he’s been around for awhile and we don’t know how much time passed between this week and last week’s episode. Maybe not all that long, but I wish our first impression of him had also been the team’s first impression.

“Detroit” showed how easy it is for politicians to backpedal their words when they think no one else is listening or will take them seriously.  It doesn’t turn Selina into a flip-flopper, mind you, since she doesn’t regret what she says, but it does show that politicians ought to watch their words since it only takes one leaked story to get the ball rolling.  There’s no clear answer when it comes to hot-button issues.  If there was, politicians would be able to get things done and people would be less divided, but that’s a reality that we’ll never live in.  The choice to involve Andrew with the team can’t end well for Selina since mixing family with politics has never worked in her favor.  Sure, she’s at least trying to reunite the family, but come on, you’re smarter than this!  I enjoyed the callback to the abortion debacle and how difficult it was to nail down a position on that.  Hopefully the fracking issue reappears as well, as these sorts of topics will only pile up as the race for the Presidency continues.

A Look at “Veep” Season 3, Episode 5: “Fishing”

Being nice when you want to run for President must be an impossible task, if Veep is an indication of anything. This week sees Selina and company trying to stop potential presidential competitors from campaigning and, in typical Veep fashion, just about everything that could go wrong indeed does.

Fishing- Selina rallies the campaign team

The episode begins in Selina Meyer’s complete and ready-to-run campaign office. The team talks up their beloved presumptive presidential candidate to the interns- Amy and Dan in particular laying it on thick- but another potential candidate grabs their attention. On television is ex-Major League Baseball coach Joe Thornhill, who announces that he is also running for President of the United States.

Selina, after rallying the troops, speaks with Ben, who reminds her of the planned luncheon with Bill Ericsson. Ben advises her to not tell Amy or Dan know since they’re both competing for the campaign manager position.

Fishing- Mike and Gary's awkward encounter in bathroom

In the men’s room, Gary is airing out his shirt when Mike emerges from a stall with a bag. Inside the bag are his troops. He and Wendy are trying to have a baby, so he’s taking his sperm to a doctor so he can begin the assault on Egg Mountain.

Fishing- Selina meets Bill Ericsson, played by Diedrich Bader

At a restaurant, Selina finally meets with Bill Ericsson, played by the man himself, Diedrich Bader. Ericsson lets her know right off the bat that it’s bad to talk about running for President before securing a campaign manager. As Vice President, Selina is only three yards ahead of her competition when she should be three miles ahead of them. The reason? Team Selina. Well, of course. Ericsson advises her- all while also interrupting her-to dump Amy, Dan and Mike. Oh, and Gary, too. Even though Gary is pretty much Selina’s asshole, it’s time for her to get a better one. It’s a big thing to ask for, dumping your entire staff, but Ericsson, in return, promises to maximize her chances of becoming the most powerful person in the country. Sounds like a good deal.

Back at the campaign office, word spreads that Jonah has been hired by Maddox, who wants Selina to meet him at his country home. Selina wants Mike to attend but, without giving his reason, turns it down, so even though she doesn’t want to pick between him and Amy, Dan it is.

Fishing- Selina meets George Maddox at his fishing home

At Maddox’s country home, Team Selina learns what Jonah’s new job is: bag man. He’s essentially Maddox’s Gary.

Selina asks Gary in private if she’s ruthless. You know, can she be a complete bitch? Gary isn’t a fan of Selina talking about herself that way, or his arm, but to change the subject, he discusses Mike’s happy jack antics back at the office. Selina decides to give him a call.

Fishing- Dinner at Amy's

Amy, meanwhile, invites Kent, Sue, Mike and Ben to her home for dinner with the obvious motive that she wants them to back her as a potential campaign manager.

When Mike returns from the bathroom, Ben, through his own brand of humor, tells Mike that he knows about his escapades. Mike admits it, much to the surprise of everyone else who didn’t know, as Mike had believed. To change the subject, Amy decides they should all talk about something besides work.

There’s an awkward silence. Sheesh, these people are really tied down by their jobs. Amy breaks the ice by telling everyone there that she really appreciates them. They eventually do get to talking and land on Jonah who, as Ed tells them, is the nephew of Jeff Kane. Kane is responsible for the senior vote in New Hampshire.

With this information, Amy orders everyone out of the house so she can call Selina and let her know. She even wants Ed out of the room even though it’s their anniversary. Why? Because he went a full year without telling her about Jeff Kane. Yeah, Ed! Get your priorities together!

So Dan tries to be nice to Jonah, but it goes nowhere.

Fishing- Selina and George discuss Presidency alone

Maddox and Meyer finally talk one on one, with Maddox refusing to step aside so Selina can run. Meyer talks up the power of the Vice President, but Maddox counters that she used her powers very selectively. They both believe that the other should be their running mate. Neither of them will have that, particularly Selina, who would rather be shot in the face than be Vice President again.

Fishing- Dan shows up at Selina's meeting with Ericsson

That worked. The next day, after Maddox has officially announced, Meyer meets with Ericsson again. Oh, so is Dan, after putting some pressure on Sue. I honestly have no idea how he put pressure on Sue, of all people, but whatever, Dan’s there, too. Ericsson tells Selina that he can’t be her campaign manager because he’s accepted an offer by Thornhill. Though Thornhill may have no chance, voters love an underdog story.

Dan and Selina are silent on the ride back until Selina, with nowhere else to go, flat out asks Dan if he wants the campaign manager position.

Fishing- Drinking at the bar

At a bar that evening, the rest of Team Selina drinks away and prepares to drink even more when they receive word that Dan has been named campaign manager.

Since he will manage the campaign, Dan figures that he and Selina will develop a close, intimate relationship. As such, they should air out any dirty laundry. Dan goes first: when he was young, his friends dared him to kill a stray dog, and he did. Selina’s secret? Before she and Andrew split up, Andrew’s car caught fire…courtesy of Selina. It’s the start of a beautiful relationship.

Being nice must be one of the worst things ever when you’re a politician. Whether having to put on a happy face to the worker ants or other politicians you despite, posing with someone who has a knife in your back or breaking bread with someone you’re about to fire, politicians enjoy lying through their teeth, and Veep is no exception. What began with nice intentions devolved into arguments galore when Selina refused to be Vice President again.

Courting is hard. You want to say the right things to the people you need on your side, but you don’t want to offend them or come off as desperate. The more you want something, the more forceful you’ll come off in your approach, until it reeks of desperation.

Fishing- Selina asks Gary if she can be ruthless

For many aspiring politicians, the Presidency is the fabled prize. You don’t want to just stay as a State Representative forever. You’ll want to move up to Speaker. Then you’ll look at Congress. Soon after, the Presidency sounds very enticing. As we see, few are comfortable where they are. There’s a lot of anger in what Selina said about not wanting to be Vice President again. As VP, she’s taken a lot of the President’s crap and had to clean up his messes. To her, this is her time to shine. She’s mostly been the punching bag and prop of the administration.

But being nice just is not this group’s strong point. They’re far too vain and self absorbed to give enough time to other matters. It’s amazing that they’ve been able to accomplish…whatever it is they’ve accomplished together all this time. If Selina’s team behaved more like Ben and Kent, chances are they’d get more things done.

Fishing- Mike admits that he and Wendy are trying to conceive a child

I liked the subplot with Mike not just because of the humor at his expense, but it’s a chance to see his life outside of working with Selina. Both this and the honeymoon with Wendy show that he does have a life to live that doesn’t involve politics. He feels more grounded than the others, but only because we’re allowed to see more of his home life.

Fishing- Amy appreciates people

Amy’s dinner scene is indicative of the fact that these people are defined by their political lives. I question what they did before working these gigs. The silence during the dinner scene was just uncomfortable, almost like when everyone had to give up their cell phones during Mike and Wendy’s wedding. Amy herself is completely vain, but hey, at least she acknowledges that she can’t be nice to people. Given how much she’s on her phone and blaming someone else for things that go wrong, it’s no big surprise.

Fishing- Gary tells Selina that his shoulder is fine

And poor Gary, again. Again, I like the continuing thread the writers have done with him thus far and focusing on his shoulder hurting. He’s been Selina’s right hand man for so long, it’s remarkable his arm hasn’t fallen off by now. You gotta feel bad for Tony Hale, though. I mean, in Arrested Development, his character eventually lost a hand. And now here, his character is in danger of losing an arm. He just can’t win.

Fishing- Ericsson tells Selina that it's time to fire her team

I liked Ericsson and the points he made about Selina needing to dump a completely incompetent crew. I do hope we see more of him. Given how prominent Diedrich Bader was featured in the trailers and the mention of him during the season premiere, I would like to see more of Bader on the show. It feels like a waste to build him up and then just drop him as soon as he appears.

Fishing- Jonah not buying Dan's attempts to be nice to him

And while Jonah may not be happy as a bag man, I’m sure he is glad to know how much Selina now sees him as integral to New Hampshire.

“Fishing” showed the challenges of courting and how a little bit of sincerity and kindness go much longer than trying to cram years of kindness into a single night. We see how politicians want to clear the field for themselves because they feel it’s their destiny this time as opposed to any other time. Remember how the Republican Party wanted every faction to rally behind businessman Mitt Romney even though there was clear division? Remember how now Democrats want Hillary Clinton to be the only nominee for 2016, claiming that it’s her time and she’s the most qualified? Yeah, Veep again does a good job at holding a mirror up to our own political process and showing the cracks. It will be interesting to see how Dan’s promotion shakes up the team once they reconvene next week.

Look, the political game is dirty. Sometimes it means having to get your hands deep in the mud and fling dirt at anyone who wishes to challenge you. Just look at attack ads and the partisan hackery that has worsened the sickness that is our political process. Getting dirty will have an effect on the campaign, so I’m sure we should expect something similar from Meyer during the campaign.   And with Thornhill thrown in as a curveball, we’ll see if voters will go with someone they know or root for the unknown underdog.

A Look at “Veep” Season 3, Episode 4: “Clovis”

Rule of thumb: make sure you don’t have a porn parody site if you decide to run for President of the United States.

This week’s episode of Veep takes Selina and some of her crew to Silicon Valley to get cozy with the rich and powerful internet tycoons.  It wouldn’t be Veep without a few verbal hiccups along the way, and there are some but, in my opinion, the main storyline takes a backseat to the story’s secondary plot.

Clovis- Cassie Langley calls out Selina's flip-flop

The episode begins in Palo Alto, California where Selina has just finished giving a speech in Silicon Valley.  While meeting and greeting locals, Selina has a run in with one stand-out woman named Cassie Langley, played by Lindsey Kraft.  Meyer doesn’t immediately remember Langley despite the fact that she worked on her campaign.  Whoops.  But luckily, Cassie isn’t there to reminisce about their first meeting.  No, she takes issue with Selina’s current stance on environmental issues, given how she campaigned as being very pro-environment.  The others take no time at all in getting Selina out of there before the fracking flip-flop flashback can go back even further.

Clovis- Jonah's blog post on Selina's fracking flip-flop

Word spreads quickly, though.  Back in D.C., Dan watches Danny Chung speak about Selina’s flip-flop.  Worse than that, Jonah posted a story about it on his blog and he’s racking up hits as the story quickly goes viral.

Clovis- Ben and Dan talk at bar

With the day not going his way, Dan complains to Ben that night at a bar.  He still believes he’ll make a great campaign manager if Selina picked him, but Ben tells him that such aspirations would mean getting down and dirty with anything he can get his hands on.  For example: there’s word that, while in Iraq, Danny Chung and his unit got into some questionable behavior.

Though Dan has no way of proving it, that doesn’t mean he can’t casually let it drop in conversation during a poker game with Jonah and a few others.

The next day in California, the group is about to leave, but Gary is the last one ready after a man leaves his hotel room.  All right, then.

Clovis- Melissa Conners shows Selina and company around Clovis

They meet Clovis Chief Financial Officer Melissa Conners, played by Mary Grill, who lets them know that Craig would like to meet them.

Clovis- Craig Jergensen meets Selina

We’re then introduced to Craig Jergensen, played by Tim Baltz, who gives Selina a smart watch.  A smarch, if you will.  It’s supposed to swap Clovis profiles, but when Craig and Selina shake hands, it doesn’t work.  Selina takes it for a test run and tries to look up her campaign site, MeetMeyer.com, and she gets taken to Sea World’s home page.  Meh.  Close enough.

Clovis- Jonah after calling Dan about potentially running with the Danny Chung torture story

Jonah, meanwhile, is on the fence about going with the Danny Chung torture story since there’s no verification and no leads.  However, he decides to go ahead and just put it out there in the hopes that it will catch fire.  After all, that’s Journalism 101.  I think I missed that class.

Clovis- Meating Meyer

More testing with the smarch.  Kent tries to look up MeetMeyer.com, but gets directed to MeatMeyer.com, a parody site.  The group tries again, only this time they get MeatingMeyer.com, a porn site depicting Selina getting porked.  Surprisingly, there’s no page that asks to verify your age before entering.  What an open and welcome porn site.

When it’s time to talk business, Craig admits that he doesn’t follow politics all that much, until he brings up the repatriation tax.  Clovis is very post tax.  And he at least likes Selina’s initiative to put tablets in the classroom.

All of a sudden, Jonah’s blog post pops up and when Gary slips how Jonah is well known in D.C., Craig decides he wants to buy Ryantology.  Way to go, Gary!

And when Jonah gets the news, he’s ecstatic, more so since, you know, just lost his job at the White House.

Clovis- Melissa tries to court Amy

Melissa pulls Amy aside and tells her how much she admires her potential.  She cuts to the chase and offers Amy a job at Clovis.  The pay is no tiny sum, either, but Amy turns it down, saying that the life of a Clovis employee just isn’t for her.  Kent doesn’t take the offer either, lucrative as it is.

Oh, and because this had a point, Gary addresses that he’s had great shoulder pain for the last few days, so he had a masseur come and give him a rubdown.  That makes more sense.

Clovis- Selina talks Danny Chung and torture

When Selina finally gives her speech at Clovis, she does so in front of a word cloud containing many, well, words.  Among them are “Danny Chung” and “torture.”  When asked about the torture story, Selina, while refuting the claims, continues to use the words “Danny Chung” and “torture” over and over again.

As a result, as Dan lets her know, the media and everyone else believe the two are synonymous.  Whoops.

Never mind, though, as Danny Chung speaks at a press conference and lets everyone know that documents reveal that the torture claims are bogus.  Too bad, Jonah.

Rand Paul signs Facebook wall

Appealing to high tech billionaires has proven to be a must for politicians.  The most recent real life example that comes to mind is Rand Paul’s visit to Mark Zuckerburg and him signing the Facebook wall.

Clovis- Selina about to sign the Clovis wall under Ron Jeremy's name

Again, I like when Veep can pull from real life examples and make comedic moments out of them, as with Selina almost signing her name under the likes of Lance Armstrong or Ron Jeremy’s.  How do you get Ron Jeremy mixed up with Jeremy Irons, by the way?

Clovis- Selina asks if Jeremy Irons fucked her

But, as this is Veep, things can and will go awry for Selina.  Whether its Gary drawing attention to Jonah or Amy constantly texting, the crew gets lost in their worlds.  This is what makes Veep work: separately, the characters can probably perform very well, but combined, they’re a guaranteed wreck.  That said, I enjoyed the visit to Clovis and it’s Google-like appearance down to the website’s logo looking very similar to the current one used for Google Chrome.  Also, while I’ve never experimented with them, the Smarch watch gave me a Google Glasses vibe.

Clovis- Melissa tries to court Kent

This A storyline was funny, but it wasn’t as interesting to watch as the other plot.  More on that in a second, as I wanted to touch upon Melissa courting Amy and Kent.  She sees that the two have potential and could do great elsewhere.  Obviously they turned down the offers, but I think the episode could have gone further with this.  Dan and Amy are dead set on becoming Selina’s campaign manager that being courted by others may not have entered their minds.  Such was the case here, but the problem I had was that the courting came so late in the episode that it didn’t really have any impact.  I’d have much preferred if Melissa noticed Amy and Kent earlier and tried to court them, but obviously the focus was Selina’s visit to Clovis.  I just feel this could have been developed more.  Yes, Melissa does say early on that she knows all about Amy, but that’s really it.  It’s delivered almost as a throwaway line.

The same goes with the mother calling out Selina’s flip-flop.  As a politician, and especially as the Vice President, every single word that comes out of Selina’s mouth will be scrutinized, analyzed and criticized.  We live in an age where comments caught on mic have the potential to go viral if they aren’t remarks a politician wants the general public to hear.  I hope I’m not the only person thinking of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark or Barack Obama telling Medvedev that he would have more flexibility after his last election.  Now that she’s running for President, she can expect a microscope to examine every single word she says.  Again, this wasn’t the crux of the episode, but given how it’s a flip-flop, I think it could have a larger impact than it did.  As is, it feels like by the end of the episode, the flip-flop is all but forgotten.

Clovis- Bar talk

But as I said, I much preferred the storyline in D.C. where we see the impact of Selina’s flip-flop.  Much of this had to do with the slower moments, such as Dan’s conversation with Ben about getting down and dirty as a campaign manager.  Ben strikes me as the politician that has seen it all, which is why he has no qualms with Dan sacrificing his dignity for a cushy job.  As we saw during “The Choice,” there’s very little he cares about, so whether Dan lands on his feet or his face doesn’t matter.  He put in Dan’s head the idea that Chung may have been involved with torture, so his job is done.

Clovis- Jonah's site was linked on Playbook this morning

And as usual, Timothy Simons turns in a great performance as Jonah because we see not just his desperation to get the jump on a potentially big story, but we see his desperation and anger at those who thought he would never make something of himself.  Going viral with the fracking story was the first step and even though the universe would be misaligned if Jonah were to become rich, I’m positive he will bounce back from this.  He always does.  Though I have to wonder where he went to journalism school if he thought it was all right to just publish a story without all of the facts.  I mean, sitting back and hitting “Publish” so you can wait for the post to snowball?  Shoddy journalism, Jonah.

Clovis- Selina, Melissa and Amy

Overall, this was a good episode.  Not bad, but not great.  Just good, and that’s just fine for Veep.  There’s nothing wrong with the episode, per se, and, as usual, there was plenty of humor to be found, but I just felt that the main storyline had a lot of threads that could have gone somewhere, but didn’t.  The Selina at Clovis plot didn’t feel as engaging as the events going on in D.C. with Dan or Jonah.  I’d like the flip-flop reveal to come up again later since, well, it’s a flip-flop and Selina would have to own up to that without ducking behind secret service and her team.  Will it?  Probably not, but now we know that there’s one mother probably reconsidering her vote for Selina Meyer.

Clovis- Gary asks Selina what she thought of the random man who left his hotel room

Oh, and Selina?  Pay Gary a little more attention.  He’s more than earned it and that would probably ward off any suspicion about why a random man walked out of his hotel room.

 

A Look at “Veep” Season 3, Episode 3: “Alicia”

Never let it be said that Veep leaves the little guy or gal behind.  Not all of the time.  We see the world come hard against Selina as almost everything that could go wrong or be potential setbacks for her do indeed happen.  Let’s jump right into it.

The episode begins in Anacostia, before we then cut to a section of D.C. that looks absolutely nothing like Anacostia, but such is most television shows that try to depict the District of Columbia accurately.  Getting way off topic here.  I’m a local.

Alicia- Jonah tries to stop Alicia and Dee

A woman named Alicia Bryce, played by Tracie Thomas, and her friend, Dee, played by Edwina Findley, place up signs about a walk to the White House.  The walk in particular promotes universal child care, not exactly high up on the list of priorities for politicians when they actually enter office.  Nonetheless, it attracts Jonah’s attention, as he wants to tell Alicia’s story.

Turns out that Amy does, too, so Alicia goes with the more legitimate looking individual and talks to Selina on the phone.

Alicia- Kent tells Selina that universal child care is of no value

Selina promises that Alicia will play a key role with the campaign.  How big a role that is, we’re not told yet.  Kent tells Selina that child care is of no value in the world of politics.  As a result, bringing Alicia in would do no good, even with the two weeks rehearsal needed to prepare for Selina’s speech.

If that wasn’t enough, Dan brings Selina more bad news: Saturday Night Live has done a sketch making fun of her, an elected official, which we’ve never actually seen before on SNL, ever.  Dan suggests that Selina take it in stride and learn to laugh at herself, but Selina says nuts to that and demands NBC fix this.  It’s already starting a chain reaction that could turn off some potential voter groups.

Alicia- Mike hands out advance copies of 'speech' to press

Mike hands out advance copies of the speech, which turn out to just be press releases, just as Alicia arrives.  The choir that was supposed to be in the crowd behind Selina has fallen ill.  Selina comes in and meets with Alicia to give her just enough time to tell her that 38 percent of children don’t have health care.  Only 38 percent.  But then Senator Doyle shows up for his meeting with Selina.

Alicia- Doyle tells Selina to drop universal child care

Doyle recommends that Selina dump child care because it’s a bottomless money pit.  To play it safe, he says, she should play up the AARP.  As much as people may not want to believe it, older people actually vote.  Seniors are the easy vote.  Ben suggests Selina pick another principle.  Somehow Leon gets wind of a rumor that Selina will drop child care.  If she doesn’t, Doyle believes that politicians en route to Selina’s speech will suddenly get stuck in traffic for a long time.

Oh, and Dan learns from SNL that they plan to do another sketch.  Lovely.

Alicia- Catherine shows up in same dress as her mother

And Catherine shows up in a dress similar to Selina, who wants her out of it.

Selina doesn’t want to buckle to pressure, but she recognizes that the Party will dictate to her.  They will not, however, claim ownership of her.  So she decides to lose child care and replaces that priority with seniors.

And the bearer of the bad news would be Amy, if she didn’t pass on the honor to Mike, who has to break the bad news to Alicia and Dee, who has just arrived.  The two are understandably angry, and they don’t really do Mike any favors when he tries to calm them down.

Alicia- Mike unintentionally calls Alicia a stupid cow

So what does Mike do?  In his anger, he calls Alicia a stupid cow.  Yeah.  And Jonah heard it, too.

Alicia- Ben finds Mike in the room of regret

Ben later finds Mike sulking in the room of regret, but he has a solution: he must go lower than Jonah.  He must apologize.

Alicia- Mike begs Jonah to not run the cow story

But this is Jonah, and as he doesn’t have a better nature, it wouldn’t be right if he didn’t milk it a little bit by having Mike sing a Civil War song in an accent.

Alicia- Catherine talks some sense into Selina

While in her depressed funk, Selina gets a pep talk from Catherine, who reminds her that she’s had a shitty time as the vice president’s daughter and missing out on having a normal life.  However, it’s been worth it if she becomes the daughter of the next President of the United States, Paul Ryan!

I mean, Selina Meyer.

So Selina comes out and decides to wing any speech.  The speech has to actually be written, though, so there’s that.

Oh, and Lorne Michaels tells Selina that SNL will stop doing sketches about her.  After doing one more about her.  Hey, at least he told her.

Jonah still intends to write about Mike’s meltdown, but then he goes and blows it by asking Alicia to confirm and comment on the remarks.  Alicia denies it, but once Jonah is out of sight, she still tells Mike off for, you know, calling her a cow.

Selina announces her presidential candidacy off-screen, though we hear snippets of the speech and though she dropped child care, she did include a mention of Alicia’s daughter in the speech.  Selina tells Alicia that someone from the vice presidential team will travel with Alicia to one of her events.  Not her, though.  She’s the Vice President and stuff.  Far too busy for a commoner.  The burden falls on Catherine, who, after schedule confirmation, also cannot attend.

Once again, never let it be said that Veep leaves the little guy behind.  Sort of.  Well, let’s clarify.  Never let it be said that Selina and company intentionally leave the little guy behind.

No, that doesn’t work, either.  All right, how about this: Selina and company try to make time for the little guy, but it doesn’t always work out, which is pretty much the case for this week.  In one of the more character driven episodes for Selina, we see her grapple with sticking to her principles in the face of fighting a battle that won’t, in the eyes of other politicians, reel in new voters that will help her clinch the presidency.

Alicia- Alicia watches Sue prepare the crowd

The little guy, the commoner, they don’t have overflowing pockets of money, don’t own their own super PAC and have little to no name recognition.  Alicia is one of those people in the eyes of Kent, Ben, numerous other politicians and maybe even Selina, too.  To them, Alicia is just another faceless name in a crowd that symbolizes America like a United Colors of Benetton poster.

Speaking of, I did like the storyline of trying to arrange who will stand where behind Selina when she announces her candidacy.  Anytime you watch a politician give a speech, watch the background behind them.  Chances are they’ll try to have one of every flavor, creed, color and gender.  It makes everything look diverse.  In addition, politicians will name a particular person or two to highlight their personal struggle or achievement.  Those little moments humanize the politician and it helps make them personable and relatable to voters.  A good example of that would be then President-elect Obama telling his daughters that they would be getting a puppy since they were headed to the White House.  People remember things like that because they make the politicians appear normal, like us, as opposed to being bought and sold by special interest groups.

Selina wants to maintain that human side of her, but this week, nothing goes her way and it brings her to a low point before she’s even declared her candidacy.  She wants to aid Alicia’s child care efforts, but it’s a losing battle.  She’s under pressure from all sides to do what they believe is the right decision, which justifies Selina’s anger when she realized her party wanted to pull her strings instead of letting her do for herself.

Alicia- Selina and Catherine in same dress

This doesn’t mean Selina is without fault, as she’s got a snarky retort for most situations, but being flanked from all sides shows just a taste of the pressure she’ll receive during her presidential run to bend to many sides just to make everyone except her happy.  Dreyfus shows a lot of frustration in her performance, much of it done without saying a word, and it shows, again, her range as an actress on a show that’s mostly known for its comedy.

And we did get some humor here, but I wanted to address two things: so Jonah wants to blackmail Mike.  He knows what he heard.  Why didn’t he just run with it instead of going to Alicia for comment?  Sure, Alicia may have screwed him over either way, but he was a witness to it, so I’m not sure why he went out of his way to get Alicia to comment.

Alicia- Selina parody on Saturday Night Live

And I did enjoy the Saturday Night Live subplot that ended with Selina appearing on the show to thunderous applause.

Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live

An obvious reference to Sarah Palin’s appearance on the program and made even funnier by the fact that Julia Louis-Dreyfus herself is a Saturday Night Live alumna.  I am curious as to why the show didn’t use someone who’s currently on SNL to parody Selina, but that’s coming from the perspective of someone who regularly watches the show and would actually notice that.

Alicia- Kent talks to Dan about the speech rewrite

The reality of Selina’s situation is that older people vote and child care isn’t going to win her the presidency.  She doesn’t like it, but that’s the nature of politics.  Money talks and politicians gain a boost in name recognition if they go hand in hand with special interest groups.  That, in turn, makes them career politicians who lose touch with their constituents and more in touch with the political cesspool that is Washington and the little club called Congress.  Child care sounds good on paper, but come election time in November, it may not make a difference.

This episode showed Selina at a crossroads.  She wants to back the little guy, but she can’t realistically win the presidency without the big guys.  After years of having to deal with POTUS’ problems that end up lumped onto her, she’s making a run for the presidency.  And there’s much at stake, as we see when Catherine explains that her crappy life will be well worth it if Selina becomes president.  “Alicia” tackled the complexities of trying to integrate to everyday voters while not ignoring big donors.  It pushed Selina to a low state, but then launched her back to reality when she proudly announced her candidacy for the president of the United States.

Let’s sit back and enjoy the ride.

Alicia- Not Anacostia

Seriously, this looks nothing like Anacostia!

A Look at “Veep” Season 3, Episode 2: “The Choice”

Who doesn’t love controversy?

Veep mixes it up with the wonderful subject of abortion. In addition to wanting to be the first to make or clarify a statement, Veep, through its great humor, shows just how complex it is to nail down a position on this topic, even more so when you’re a politician who has presidential ambitions.

The episode begins with Gary receiving a call from honeymoon Mike, who lets him know that Wendy got the heads up that the President’s bodyguard is quitting. He teases that Gary could fill that slot, but Gary is completely loyal to Selina, right?

The Choice- Meyer Campaign Office

Speaking of Meyer, we cut to what’s supposed to be the Meyer Campaign Office in Maryland, though Amy clarifies that this building doesn’t exist and no one should know that it exists. Looks pretty bland, to be honest, but it will do for now. Richard, despite being left in Iowa, has somehow made it to the area along with Kelly, played by Dana Powell, who will be working on the campaign as a photographer. Hopefully they’ll be more useful than the phone, which doesn’t even work. Splendid.

The team is preparing to tag along with a night patrol for some pre-campaign campaigning. Dan offers to stay behind, but Selina won’t have any of that. Gary suggests that Selina just come out and say that she’s running for President, but it would look bad if she made this announcement while the sitting President was still in office.

The Choice- Veep team at Baltimore Harbor

So at the Baltimore Harbor, we learn that Dan doesn’t do boats that well. That could be a problem, as the group learns that a vessel carrying suspicious cargo has been intercepted.

The Choice- Jonah visits Mike

Mike gets an unexpected visit from Jonah, who already knows that the Veep team has a real estate office. However, he’s there because he’s starting a consulting firm and wants Mike on board for what he refers to as “Ryantology.” A D.C. insider becomes a D.C. outlaw.

Back on the water, the team finds the perp, but Selina is unable to make it over to him for a quick photo. Oh, and turns out he even voted for Selina. How nice of him. But Amy alerts everyone to a sudden announcement from the President: he’s suddenly pro-life after so much time being pro-choice.

The Choice- Team Veep discusses POTUS' and Selina's abortion stances

When the team returns to the impromptu campaign office, very late into the night, Selina talks with Ben, who had no idea that the President would make such a big announcement. Selina knows, however: the President is trying to screw with her, and on such a controversial issue, she has to tread lightly. The team decides to bring in some special interest groups, with pro-choice in the morning and pro-life in the afternoon to prevent any sort of philosophical scuffles.

Mike, also in on the call, tells Selina that the media are awaiting her stance. She can’t identify as a woman because men hate that, and women who hate women hate that. Gary brings up that Selina does mention abortion in her autobiography, and she did, but her explanation is vague and such political fodder that anyone would say without wanting to offend any side, so that’s no good. If she goes with that, she’ll appear weak. But she better come up with a position fast, as Kent has booked her for a 7 a.m. appearance on Good Morning America. Canceling the appearance would make Selina look bad, so she sticks with it, even though it sucks.

The Choice- Jonah's first video blog

Jonah’s made his way from Mike’s home to his own apartment, where he does a video blog about trashing old media. He plans to do more updating than he does dating, which is apparently a lot. Funny, Jonah. Very funny.

The Choice- Defining Selina's stance on abortion

With the Veep and company, they’re still trying to come up with a defined position on abortion that won’t offend anyone. Dan, however, has been pushing for Selina to push one way or the other. Selina realizes that she’ll screw over constituents whichever way she leans: if she’s pro-life, she’ll be a traitor to her sex. If she’s pro-choice, she’s a traitor to the President. The key is to make abortion safe and accessible for vulnerable women.

Maddox, meanwhile, issues an ambiguous statement: science may have given us the map, but we are lost without morality’s compass. How very vague, indeed.

The Choice- Dan explodes

While everyone else isn’t convinced, Dan acknowledges that Maddox said something rather than nothing at all. He goes on a long winded rant about picking a number for the cutoff number of weeks, which no one there has done so far. When he’s done ranting, he apologizes for exploding, and Selina accepts it while also retaining the right to fire him.

The Choice- Cardinal Branzini

She sends him home just as Cardinal Branzini, played by Michael Salconi, arrives. Gotta appeal to the Catholics, after all. Amy delegates tasks: Gary is to bring in Rachel Hordenthal, from Planned Parenthood, Mike will steer in Michael Cunningham, who is pro-life and should stay away from Hordenthal, and Sue will help Kent finish polling.

The Choice- Gary arrives with Rachel of Planned Parenthood

Gary brings in Hordenthal, played by Meredith Holzman, but Selina is still speaking with the Cardinal, so he tries to distract her by taking her to a break room. Next up after the Cardinal is the ACCDP, who Mike has on the phone. What does ACCDP stand for and what’s their stance? Mike doesn’t know. But one thing’s for sure: ACCDP’s stance has not changed. So Mike leaves the room to bring in Cunningham, played by Bob Cusack…

The Choice- Awkward confrontation between pro-choice and pro-life

…just as Gary returns with Hordenthal. Of course, the two groups run into each other and Amy ends up picking Cunningham to come in first. A very insulted Hordenthal storms off, but not before telling Gary that he should quit the job and find something he’s halfway decent at.

At least Jonah gets a bit of good news. I mean, the Huffington Post cancels on him, but MSNBC wants him on at 7 a.m.

When the dust at Selina’s office has settled, Mike comes in with an early copy of Danny Chung’s abortion statement, 10 minutes before he planned to announce. Mike didn’t actually read Chung’s stance, he just printed it out. How thoughtful. But Chung believes that a 22-week cutoff is appropriate. It turns out that no politician in the history of anything has ever suggested a 22-week cutoff. Selina realizes that Dan may have been right when he said to just pick a stance and go with it. Amy suggests going with the same number, but Mike reminds everyone that the press will just believe that Selina copied Danny. They’ll also call her names like Copycat Selina, Me Too Meyer and Shit for Brains. Maybe not that last one, but it’s on the list somewhere.

The Choice- Kent's survey data

Kent and Sue return with the survey data: turns out that a whole lot of Americans just flat out don’t know their position on abortion.

How about that?

So Amy just says that Selina should just issue a version of what her book said, just different from what Dan wrote.

When Selina appears on Good Morning America, she states her vague and generalized position, all while pointing out that she is, in fact, a woman.

The Choice- Jonah on MSNBC

Oh, and Dan threatened to break Jonah’s legs if he said anything about Selina’s abortion position on MSNBC. The interview goes as well as you’d expect.

So Selina is put between a rock and a woman’s right to choose. Much like last week, this episode worked due to the biting satire on the political process of picking a side on a controversial issue. It showed the complexities of trying to narrow down a specific viewpoint without offending other potential voters. With the President changing his position from pro-choice to pro-life and getting praise and hate for it, we also see how common it is to flip-flop from one side to another and still act like you’ve come out on top. But we wouldn’t know anything about that Romney, Obama, Bush Jr., and probably a slew of former American presidents and presidential candidates.

From the photo-ops to staged promos in order to make candidates look good at the right time, Veep skewers candidates who make supposedly random appearances at specific locales for a quick photo shoot and are out in a few minutes.

Paul Ryan Photo-Op

I love that the writers are poking fun at this, particularly given all the fuss about staged photo-ops, the Paul Ryan one being the most recent that pops in my head.

The Choice- Selina on Good Morning America

Not to mention all the problems that come into play once all the starry-eyed dreams of becoming President fade away when you realize you have no campaign, no infrastructure, no money or even a competent staff, as is the case with Selina. Granted, she and her team are inept regardless, which is part of what makes them so much fun to watch, but when you put these personalities together toward the goal of making Selina, there are bound to be screw-ups, and they are very funny.

The Choice- Maddox on his Christianity

Abortion will probably always be a touchy subject for Americans despite so many not having any real opinion on it. And politicians have it even harder when trying to appeal to us. As such, like the potential candidates in Veep, their stances are vague and filled with such typical political jargon that doesn’t even help define a stance. When one of Maddox’s men tells him not to base his stance on his Christianity, but to be ambiguous, we see how the pro-life camp has to walk a thin tightrope to define their stance without contradicting their faith.

I like how layered this episode managed to be in the span of half-an-hour. Through Selina, we see how much harder it is for women to take an abortion stance that will win them voters, but not alienate others. There’s a lot of truth to what Meyer said about female politicians having a much more difficult challenge because they could end up offending their gender. I give a lot of kudos to Selina, though, for not just picking a side for the hell of it, which could go against her personal beliefs. Despite being inept every now and then, Selina is a driven politician. She knows what she wants, but she’s unable to get it because almost every single thing that could go wrong for does go wrong. But I did like the honesty in her tone when she suggested that the government just get “out of my fucking snatch.”

The Choice- Dan threatens Jonah

As far as the others go, Jonah is just as stuck now that he’s not at the White House anymore. He must think he’s hot stuff if the highlight of his day is getting free water bottles when a car from MSNBC picks him up for his interview. Heck, show up to any sort of social gathering and you’re sure to find more than just free water bottles up for grabs. Whether he’ll keep buckling under pressure from Dan remains to be seen.

The Choice- Dan after exploding

After all, Dan is unhinging and could be on the way out the door as a result of his long-winded rant. I get the point of what Dan is saying: pick a position and stick with it. But in a politically charged environment, nothing is ever that simple. And even more so when it involves abortion. His anger seems partially based on the fact that Selina still hasn’t decided on a campaign manager, and given Dan’s outburst, I wonder if he’s even still in contention. And if he’s going to go around threatening Jonah, which isn’t exactly undeserved, that won’t make him look good since he’ll still be associated with Selina’s office. He didn’t have any snarky humor to help balance out being on edge, but it was funny how he couldn’t even handle the thought of being on a boat without wanting to hurl.

The Choice- Snarky Gary

Also, a snarky, sarcastic Gary is one that I like a lot and would like to see more of, even if he’s back to running around and having to clean up messes. At least Selina, despite everything that’s going on, very much appreciates all he does.

By the end of “The Choice,” Selina had a vaguely defined and ambiguous stance of or relating to the subject of a woman’s decision to make the choice of valuing life and having a say in the matter at the same time, but at different points. Sounds kind of vague. It poked fun at politicians and their inability to just pick a stance, but also the challenges in staying committed to your point of view when you want to run for the White House.

Just be sure you’re both pro-choice and pro-life at the same time and you’ll be fine.

 

A Look at “Veep” Season 3 Premiere: “Some New Beginnings”

“All my orgasms have come at once.”

And like that, we’re back to Veep! And I must ask: if Selina becomes President of the United States of HBO, does the name of the show become P? Or POTUS?

I’ll admit that I didn’t get around to watching Veep when it first debuted because my focus was on other programs. Now, having had the time to sit down and play catch-up, I’m in agreement with the positive buzz I’ve heard regarding the show. Whether it’s how well the cast plays off of each other or how inept politics are portrayed- and in a sense, actually are- Veep is a comedy worth watching, but chances are, you already knew that.

So Season 2 ended with Selina and her team learning that the President would not seek another term, opening the door for her to run.

Some New Beginnings- Selina at book signing in Iowa

The season picks up two months after the previous one with Selina in Iowa on a book tour to promote her new title: “Some New Beginnings: Our Next American Journey.” At a book signing, she fluffs both locals and potential caucus goers, including telling people that her book’s title is not a Star Wars reference or being given a giant slab of butter in the shape of Iowa. As her staff is unable to attend, accompanying Selina on this journey is Richard, played by Sam Richardson.

Some New Beginnings- Amy, Dan and Gary at Mike's wedding

Because the rest of the staff is still in D.C. for Mike’s wedding. Gary is freaking out since Selina’s never been away from the group for so long, Mike is giddy with excitement, and both Dan and Amy wonder which of them will be hired as Selina’s campaign manager. They also wonder what’s taking the President so long, as it’s been a whole two months and he’s still been quiet on his announcement.

A more potentially pressing announcement is afoot, though, as Amy learns of a rumor that the West Wing is abuzz with news that Defense Secretary Maddox will be making a statement soon.

Some New Beginnings- Wendy wants the phones in the phone bowl

However, turns out that Mike’s fiancé, Wendy, played by Kathy Najimy, would- as most people on their wedding day probably do- like as much focus on the ceremony as possible. So much, in fact, that she has everyone turn in their phones. If it wasn’t already clear, people in this day and age can’t exist without their mobile devices, so to have the Vice President’s staff turn over their phones is…well, I’d say it’s like asking them to give up breathing, but as we’ll find out soon, they find ways to manage.

Some New Beginnings- Ben pays Selina a visit

Back in Iowa, Selina leaves the book signing for a bit to head to her hotel room. Signing books can only be entertaining for so long. Makes you wonder how any of our current real life politicians, past or present, are able to stomach this sort of thing. She tries to call Gary, just as he’s reading the wedding vows, so he does the polite thing and wraps up the vows as soon as possible just before texting and walking off. Ben pays a visit, as he was on the way to Congressman Rick Cowgill’s funeral. When Gary finally responds, Selina ignores the call. Huh.

Some New Beginnings- Dan reads Jonah's gossip site, WestWingMan.net

At the wedding, an uninvited Jonah bursts into the bathroom just as Dan is about to leave. Jonah lives down the street from Pam “Pentagon” Kendall and when her car broke down on the way to the wedding, Jonah, in a show of absolute selflessness, offered to give her a lift. She hasn’t, to Dan’s dismay, given him any intel on the Maddox announcement. But if Jonah wants to know, he’ll learn through WestWingMan.net, the hottest gossip site in D.C. Most of the stories are pretty dull, but if something juicy arrives, the West Wing Man will have it.

Yeah, Jonah’s the West Wing Man.

Some New Beginnings- Ben and Selina sign books

Selina and Ben pass the time by signing books that she didn’t even in write: politics in a nut sack, really. We even learn about some of the alternate subtitles proposed to Selina: Red, White and Yellow or Hands of Our Children. Riveting. As tiring as all this is, if Selina’s serious about running for President, she has to endure 18 more months of this. Not exactly the most exciting job.

Ben doesn’t see it as that much time, though. When Selina asks him to help her choose between Dan or Amy as a potential campaign manager, he picks neither and settles on one Bill Ericsson, a very proven manager. He’s available and will be at Cowgill’s funeral, so perfect time to meet, greet and grieve.

Some New Beginnings- Attempted Wedding Photo before Amy learns that Maddox resigned

No grieving at the wedding, though, but Amy picks up some juicy information via an extra phone hidden somewhere in her dress. Maddox is going to resign, so you know what this means? Everyone gets to use their cell phones for five minutes!

As the veep team goes into crisis mode, Jonah snaps a quick photo and uploads it to his website.

At the White House, though, Kent tries to convince everyone that they are not, in fact, in a crisis. Everyone ought to stop running around, then.

Some New Beginnings- Selina and Ben blurt things

En route to the funeral, Selina lets Dan know that something needs to be done if there’s a possibility that Maddox may run for president. Dan gets right on it by letting Jonah know that many will find a connection between the photo he took of the VP’s team freaking out and Maddox suddenly stepping down, as he could be a big rival for Selina.

Some New Beginnings- Selina meets Blake Stewart

At St. Aloysius Church, Selina runs into Blake Stewart, played by Kevin O’Rourke. Gary- via video calling- recognizes Stewart as the man who won the presidential nomination a decade ago, but then lost disastrously. He will definitely throw off her game. Blake talks about his failed run and how he thought his team failed him, but realized it was him all along.

Some New Beginnings- Kent fires Jonah

Over in D.C., Kent demands Jonah’s White House pass. He’s done. Out. He knows all about WestWingMan.net. The photo that Jonah posted roused the suspicion of the press. Deleting the photo only made it worse. It’s now impossible for the White House to remain silent on the President’s secret, so he will be making his announcement today. The team heads out to alert the major news networks, though Kent advises them to not interrupt any major sporting event. Unless it’s golf, anyway.

Ben tells Selina that Ericsson has already bolted back to D.C. after hearing about Maddox. When it’s Selina’s turn to head to the altar to say a few words, she speaks of Cowgill as if he were a close confidant. The crowd loves it.

Some New Beginnings- Selina gets a call from Dan about Maddox and POTUS announcements

After this, Selina learns that Maddox canceled his statement because the President has his own to make. Dan calls and tries to break the good news to Selina, but since she already knows, there’s no breaking news to break. Dan makes the decision to ask Selina about whether she’ll take him on as campaign manager, but Selina cuts the call short. Sorry, Dan.

This is a great start to the season and recaptures the humor that makes Veep so much fun to watch. We’re still in the early stages of Selina’s run for President, but one thing I’ve enjoyed about Veep is how much it takes our political process and turns it on its head. House of Cards plays it straight. Scandal, though I’ve never watched it, I assume does the same. Veep is about skewering this and it continues this tradition with Selina having to sign books and mingle with the odd assortment of folks in Iowa.

Some New Beginnings- Caucus Goer presents Selina with Butter Iowa

Whether it’s the aforementioned fan who asked about a reference to A New Hope, the woman who asked Selina about her favorite word or Selina just mentioning that blind people are people too, there was no shortage of quotable lines either from Selina’s end or at the wedding. And I have to wonder how real life politicians can even stomach having to pander to every single type of potential caucus-goer just to garner their vote and support. When Selina and Ben talk about politicians signing books that weren’t written by them, I got flashes of the political book section at a Barnes & Noble near my job.

Some New Beginnings- Amy and Dan on POTUS annoucement

As for the wedding, it is insane just how these folks can’t go even a few seconds without whipping out their mobile devices and checking for updates. It’s a humorous little poke at how society is so reliant on technology. Many a day, whether going to or from work, do I see so many folks on the train just texting or reading away, only making a move to let on incoming passengers and never letting go of their mobile devices. And where in the heck in her dress did Amy keep that phone, anyway? Strapped to her leg? Strapped further up? Further up?

Some New Beginnings- Jonah packing his things

For Jonah to lose his job is just a temporary speed bump for him. This is Jonah. Of course he’ll find some way to remain a part of the political inner circle, maybe just without his blog. Timothy Simmons, as always, is great in the role and he had a couple of great lines this week, such as telling two women at the wedding that they’re like Easter eggs he’d like to crack open or calling himself a sex wasp ready to go after women at weddings who are like ripe fruit, ready to drop.

As far as Selina’s decision to run goes, the way Ben suggests that she take on this Bill Ericsson man for her campaign manager may mean she’ll rely less and less on her own team. I mean, let’s face it, collectively, they aren’t all that good at their job. They’re fun to watch, to be sure, but they also suck. But we’ll see what Selina decides to do.

Some New Beginnings- Richard

And poor Richard. He will just never be Gary.

Veep returned without missing a beat and “Some New Beginnings” was a strong way to start the season. There’s a lot in play here with Selina mulling a presidential run, Dan and Amy fighting for the campaign manager position, Jonah out of a job, mixing with potential voters and all the fun stuff that make politics so messy and entertaining to watch. Unless it’s House and Senate business on C-SPAN or C-SPAN 2. Glad the show’s back and as funny as it always has been. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.