Oh, poor Mike. After four years of ineptitude, Selina’s long-time press rep has finally realized the sad, hard truth: He’s not very good at his job. We, of course, have known this all along, but to see it dawn on Mike made for many laughs blended with drawn out “Awwwww’s.” What will that mean going forward? Will Mike attempt to improve, or is he next for the axe on this dismissal-heavy season? Here’s hoping for the former.
Even with Mike’s empathetic humor playing a small part, the campaign scenes of “Veep” are running along as though they’re Tom James himself: infallible. Every note struck just the right chord, from the surprise(s) of intruders in the White House to Selina’s predictably disliked Mommy Meyer bill. We even got to know a little bit more about Tom, first discovering his knack for honest b.s. apologies before learning he wants to legalize drugs. The progressive vice-presidential candidate may not be dumb enough to talk about it, but — if he’s got any evidence of his beliefs tucked away somewhere — you better believe his true self will be exposed at the worst time for Selina.
“Veep” broached a subject rare to the series this week: its characters’ actual ineptitude. One of the cathartic joys in watching “Veep” is seeing our nation’s leaders mocked by an unseen third party. Rarely do they accept their own flaws. While Amy did call out President Meyer two weeks ago for being “the worst thing to happen to this country since food in buckets — and maybe slavery,” that’s one character viciously attacking another, an exchange as common as cursing on “Veep.” Mike’s realization is much more rare, marking a self-hatred rarely inflicted on a cast of characters so blind to the real world they seem incapable of self-evaluation.
The new twist — and perfectly-tuned primary Presidential narrative — did help to make up for Dan and Amy’s suddenly sagging storyline. Pairing and pitting the two ex-White House staffers against each other seemed rife for possibilities when first introduced, but this week’s courtship of concrete reps provided only a few easy chuckles. Advancing their romantic endgame could be fun during these trying times, but even that could become too much of a crutch. Next week’s episode should prove telling to their long-term plans.
Jonah Put-Down of the Week
“I like my bourbon like I like my women: 18 years old and wet.” – Jonah, insulting himself
If Jonah is talented in anything (and that’s debatable), one of his attributes is a unique ability to misread a room. Whether he’s bossing around volunteers before Tom’s town hall speech or dropping the disgusting simile mentioned above, Jonah unknowingly says exactly what he should not. I don’t know whether Ben, Bill and Kent’s “Friday Night Drinks” was a blunt reference to “Friday Night Lights” or just a simple title, but even imagining Jonad being associated with something so honorable and pure makes me cringe. Coach would not approve. (Note: In an episode packed with choices for the below section, this one was far too gross to include/honor.)
Simile of the Season
If we were ranking best episodes for similes instead of best simile of the season, I can’t imagine any half-hour topping “Mommy Meyer.” There were more similes than I could count, leading to more than one inclusion on the voting ballot. Do they top Amy’s three-time champ? You be the judge.
“I’ll tell you what’s really difficult. It’s really difficult talking to you now that you’re sober.” – Selina
Watching Selina try to connect with her constituency is one of the most fascinatingly painful experiences of “Veep’s” many awkward moments — like a house cat trying to convince a pack of stray dogs it’s one of them. While I’m never shocked at how often she tries to appear “in touch” — remember Selina’s forced “SNL” appearance? — her lack of self-awareness never ceases to amaze me. By ordering some pizza and a tub of ice cream, the President of the United States (and not just any president, but President Meyer) thought she could have a casual conversation with some long lost friends.
Between Tom’s damn-near-clarevoyant situational understanding and Mike’s sudden disdain for himself, it feels as though “Veep” is heading toward a hard truth for its main character. Amy told Selina exactly what she had become in a vicious tirade that connected at a base level, but the upcoming election will hold more self-discoveries for Selina than she can likely handle.
(Runner-up: “Oh, come on, Mike. At least you’ve got your hair.” – Ben)
1) Ben Cafferty
– After a week of boredom, Ben was back in full force in “Mommy Meyer.” He was the only one to remain calm when the would-be assassins broke in, proving himself the steady hand under pressure President Meyer needs (even if it’s because he just doesn’t care).
2) Tom James – New addition: Tom Jane enters the power rankings this week after proving he is, in fact, fallible. His position on drugs could prove his Achille’s heel, even if he’s politically untouchable for now.
3) Kent Davison
– So, Selina won her first debate with Kent at the helm. Good news for Selina. Good news for Kent.
4) Bill Ericsson
– Bill’s oval office freakout was less than presidential, but that doesn’t mean he can’t run the campaign.
5) Sue Wilson
– Sue. Rules.
6) Mike McClintok
– Mike’s ineffectualness was outlined best by his inability to read Ben and Kent’s signaling paired against Tom’s confidant dismissal — and understanding — of Jonah and Richard’s own attempts to correct a speaker mid-speech.
7) Gary Walsh
– As sad as Mike was this week, he still seems to be in better standing than Gary. Come on Gary! Learn from your overspending dinner disaster earlier this year, and just get the Prez some pizza.
8) Amy Brookheimer
– Still better than Dan. Still outside the oval.
9) Dan Egan
– Still miles ahead of Jonah. Still losing ground quickly to his hired hand.
10) Jonah Ryan
– I will not give Jonad’s homophobic sampling any attention, other than to point out a) how douche-y it makes him, and b) how aware the writers are of this fact.