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‘Veep’ Review: All Hail Tony Hale, The Man Who Makes Hiding His Thumb a Comic Tour de Force

Tony Hale already has two Emmys for playing bagman Gary Walsh on "Veep," and he's still finding ways to top himself in Season 6.

Veep Season 6 Episode 3 Tony Hale

Justin M. Lubin/HBO

[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “Veep” Season 6, Episode 3, “Georgia.”]

Immediate Reaction

Last week, two videos appeared online. In their own right, they’re short, funny insights into how “Veep” is made and what makes it capital-G Great! But after watching Episode 3, the videos also serve as an appetizer for the main course; a prologue to the main event; or, to use a painfully modern analogy, the teaser to the teaser trailer. (How are these still a thing?) The point being, they gave us a taste of what was to come: Tony Hale full-on killing it in Episode 3.

The first video was a behind-the-scenes clip of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale blocking out the opening scene from Episode 2.

Watch how @officialjld and @mrtonyhale figure out Episode 2’s stunt in rehearsal! #bts #veep

A post shared by Veep (@veephbo) on

Showcasing the collaboration that went into a quick but hilarious bit — we all remember Selina spinning over the beam last week and Gary plopping her into place just in time — the video is yet another example of just how dedicated the “Veep” cast and crew are to every moment of every episode. It’s why each half-hour feels like it’s overflowing with greatness and why each viewer has their own favorite part come Monday morning.

But I digress: The second video came straight from HBO, as Louis-Dreyfus and Hale were asked to switch roles and recreate a scene from Season 4, Episode 6.

Now, Louis-Dreyfus’ soft, drawn-out “riiiight” and subtle uncrossing of her legs were observant masterstrokes in their own right, but we’ve got to talk about Tony Hale. The hair flip. The eye roll. The way he pauses and then slams into the word “fucked.” It’s more than an impression of another performance, but one that felt aware of how Hale is perceived as Gary: Gary never gets to swear, and Hale relished the moment by hitting Selina’s coarse language so bluntly.

All this is to say, a) Tony Hale is the best, and b) what a performance he gave this week! We were enjoying Gary pre-green thumb, but Hale’s background efforts to keep his Georgian voting faux-pas hidden were absolutely hysterical. Trying to bite open the water bottle; removing Selina scarf with his teeth; the soup scene!! It all culminated when he tried to answer Selina’s phone without a thumb — which, is exactly as hard as it looked, if you’ve never tried it — but even Selina saying Gary’s thumb “looks like he just fingered the Incredible Hulk” couldn’t top Hale’s physical performance preceding it. Just give him the Emmy now.

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Veep’: A Big List of the Ways Women in Politics Get F***ed, and Not in a Good Way

Jonah Put-Down of the Week

Veep Season 6 gif Fuck Me Jonah Timothy Simons

“I will destroy you in ways that are so creative
they will honor me for it at the Kennedy Center.”

– Selina Meyer

It’s here! It’s finally here! Selina and Jonah’s first meeting since the “historic” House vote that cost her the presidency was brief, but it did not disappoint. Not only did Louis-Dreyfus ferociously attack the word “honor” and counter it with a nice lilt on “Kennedy Center,” but Jonah trying to replicate her brilliant wordplay seconds later was an appropriate catastrophe.

“I am going to find ways to destroy you so hard that everyone at the Kennedy Center is going to take a massive shit,” Jonah said to his ex-aide, Richard.

“It’s really nice to see you,” Richard said, perfectly.

And yet, even with this wonderful capper to a long-awaited exchange, another moment, an assumed moment, nearly tops it. Jonah ending up at a Nazi concert was one thing — one very, very funny thing — but it’s how he got there that hides the put-down. Jonah told Richard the doorman recommended he go to this show, which means one of three things:

  1. The doorman is a skinhead, which I find unlikely, if only for the comedic potential in the next two explanations.
  2. He took one look at Jonah and assumed he was a skinhead. Even if they had a conversation, that presumption isn’t off the table.
  3. He had a horrible experience with the Congressman, and told him to go the concert to embarrass him. I don’t know which of the last two reasons are most likely, but either are great, great context.

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

Simile of the Season

*Context: For those unfamiliar, Dinah Shore Weekend is a five-day weekend getaway and music festival held annually in Palm Springs, CA. It’s known as the largest event for lesbians in the world.

Rhetorical Abuse

“With Scab Calloway?”
– Selina

Pair this punny description with every single facial expression Selina made when gazing upon Nicolai, the blemished Georgian candidate, and boom: There’s your rhetorical abuse. Egad.

Power Rankings

1. Dan Egan
– I don’t know if Dan embarrassing Amy on national TV was the crowning achievement of his life, but it has to be up there.

2. Catherine Meyer
– She’s having a baby — Dan’s baby, technically, but that’s still a win.

3. Richard Splett
– Richard earns a move up for the tourist gag alone.

4. Jonah Ryan
– Not only was he spurned by his peers, but the best diss he could come up with to get back at them was, “Hey Pinocchios.” Yeesh.

5. Gary Walsh
– Hale ruled, but Gary remains in the middle of the pack, power-wise (at best).

6. Mike McClintock
– Mike is so bad with money he doesn’t even realize his job is a negative expenditure.

7. Ben Cafferty
– That Ben once worked for both corrupt Georgian candidates is no surprise, but it was an astutely funny inclusion.

8. Kent Davison
– “There is literally no Georgian law. And I am using literally correctly.”

9. Amy Brookheimer
– No job. No fiance. Might a return to the Meyer team be in her future?

10. Selina Meyer
– The Godmother of the Caucasian Spring still found a way to turn $20 million into a few hundred thousand dollars, pushing her dream of a library further away.

Grade: A-

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

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