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‘Veep’ Season 6 Premiere Review: The Best Insults of Episode 1 and Updated Power Rankings

A congruous start for a divergent group, as "Veep" proved it doesn't need the White House to be bitingly funny.

"Veep" Season 6 Tony Hale Julia Louis-Dreyfus Episode 1

Justin M. Lubin/HBO

Immediate Reaction

The one-two punch of Ben telling Selina “It’s over” and Selina getting on a passenger plane with the common folk provided a summary of what Episode 1, “Omaha,” accomplished: We won’t see Selina in power again anytime soon (if ever), but we will get to watch her writhe in agony while adjusting to a “regular” life.

Between complaining over her five-figure weekly allowance and comparing her election defeat to “a frat house gang rape, except I didn’t even get a candlelight vigil,” the premiere focused on an ex-president still in recovery. Characters alluded to a mental breakdown — one we probably previewed in the waning moments of Season 5 — and Selina’s only joy came when she was planning her secret comeback.

Well, that’s over, and “Veep” is moving forward. We’re going to see a new side of Selina, and a new side of many characters, as the six-year-old series ventures onto untrodden ground. It’s a courageous decision by showrunner David Mandel and the writers; one that aligns with an inspirational saying that might help Selina (not that she’d listen): The right choice is often the harder choice, even if Episode 1 made crafting a new era look easy. If things keep rolling along like this, we’re in for one helluva year.

READ MORE: ‘Veep’ Review: Season 6 Turns an Epilogue Into a Fresh Start as Julia Louis-Dreyfus Continues to Slay

Jonah Put-Down of the Week

No, no. Not that. That’s coming. The above takedown of Jonah Ryan by the now ex-President Meyer was delightfully teased in the Season 6 trailer, but it wasn’t in the premiere episode. We just wanted to build it up a bit more, since the end result is oh so sweet. This week, we’re going with:

“A moment of your time, Congressman Powder.”
– Congressman Roger Furlong

Furlong (played by Dan Bakkedahl) could probably win this category every week, given the opportunity, and he may have more chances to eviscerate Congressman Ryan than ever before thanks to their shared corridors in Washington D.C. This week, Furlong’s above comment was merely an introduction to a complete takedown of not only Jonah, but of Kent, as well.

Poor Kent. Your job really isn’t much better than “sponging up jizz,” is it?

READ MORE: ‘Veep’: Gary Cole on How Kent Could Help the Trump Administration — Watch

Simile of the Season

READ MORE: ‘Veep’: Julia Louis-Dreyfus & Cast Tease Season 6: ‘Keep Your Eyes on Obama,’ Not Trump

Rhetorical Abuse

Veep Season 6 Julia Louis-Dreyfus Episode 1

“There’s no one out there who wants to see a Meyer comeback, ma’am. It’s over.”
– Ben

The truth cuts the deepest, and Selina Meyer was not ready to hear Ben’s truth. Even after a painful announcement to Gary — who could not hide his terror at seeing Selina slung back under the pressures of a political campaign — and her family, the former president’s plan to run again remained steadfast…until Ben spelled it out for her.

“It’s over.” And it really feels like it is. “Veep” is focused on the future, and staging some sort of miraculous comeback for a character who certainly doesn’t deserve one would feel manipulative at this juncture, not to mention redundant. We’ve seen the VP’s office, the President’s office, the campaign trail, the recount, and even a special run-off election. Now it’s time to see what comes next. Episode 1 let everyone know that — starting with Selina.

READ MORE: What We Learned About ‘Veep’ Season 6 From Living In It

Power Rankings

Veep Season 6 Reid Scott Episode 1

1. Dan Egan
– Dan seems to have come out on top in the Meyer staff shake-up. He scored a major interview with his old boss. He’s on a major TV network. He seems to fit right in, and he should be able to build momentum off of Jonah’s insane outburst. Plus, TV stars can become politicians at the drop of a hat…

2. Jonah Ryan
– He’s the only member of the cast to hold office, but his introduction this year said everything we need to know about where Jonah stands: While giving a speech to Congress, not only was the room empty, but the C-SPAN camera didn’t even bother to pan up to fit him into frame.

3. Amy Brookheimer
– She’s running another major campaign and dating the candidate. The latter seems of no importance to her, but the former puts her in line to keep moving up in politics.

4. Catherine Meyer
– Catherine, freed from the burden of her mother’s oppressive control, is blossoming. She looks great, sounds great, and was acting with never before seen confidence…until Selina announced she was running again. But now she’s not, so Catherine should be OK.

5. Gary Walsh
– On the one hand, this is Gary’s dream scenario: hanging out alone with Selina, in their pajamas, playing mahjong. On the other hand, she seems more irritated with him than ever, which could break a relationship built on her success.

6. Richard Splett
– Richard’s choice to hang with Selina is intriguing, given his close relationship with Jonah and the Congressman’s upward trajectory. But he’s loyal to a fault, and time will tell if sticking with Selina was a good move. (Plus, either way, Richard will be smiling.)

7. Ben Cafferty
– Uber was never the right fit for Ben, and we have no doubt he’s better off without them. That being said, we have no idea what could make this perpetually pessimistic man happy, so we’re just hoping he finds something or someone that does.

8. Kent Davison
– Kent, Kent, Kent. Statistically, taking a job with Jonah is the right call. But if you had a heart, it would’ve overwhelmed that logic.

9. Mike McClintock
– “I never thought I’d never work again!” – Mike
“Me too!” – Wendy, Mike’s wife

10. Selina Meyer
– How the mighty have fallen. And there’s no clear route to the top. Is another breakdown coming?

Grade: B+

“Veep” Season 6 releases new episodes Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO, HBO NOW, and HBO Go. 

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