"For the first time in four years I can say what I really think"– Selina Meyer, preparing for her presidential campaign launch.
If it weren’t so hilarious, "Alicia" would be a very tragic episode of Veep. On any other show, Selina’s balloon-bashing freak-out and her daughter's woebegone rant would be truly heart-wrenching. On Veep, it’s just politics.
Last week the show addressed a single issue; this week it tackled the soul-sucking rat’s nest of constituency politics and sacrificing any semblance of one's true agenda for the party. And it’s when Veep lifts the depressing curtain off of party politics that it's at its most poignant. Selina, clinging to her principles, has her hand forced by the senior members of her party when it comes to dictating what makes it into her campaign kickoff speech and what doesn’t (good: seniors citizens; bad: children). "I’m supposed to let a bunch of dead-eyed white guys shit all over absolutely everything that I stand for?" she asks. It’s so horrible you have to laugh.
Thankfully in the midst of this bleak portrayal of U.S. politics, the Meyer staff as a whole wasn’t terribly incompetent (with one notable exception, that is). It’s almost as if they’re at their best when everything else falls to shit.
1. Mike McLintock (Last week: 7)
We’d like to cut Mike some slack, seeing as it was his first full episode back to work after his honeymoon, but we really can't. Where to start? The revelation that Mike (which according to him stands for "My kind of guy") wears too much cologne, or his admittance that he’s punched himself in the face before? No, we should probably go with the time he called one of Selina’s VIP guests a “stupid cow.” Not only did he insult the woman he just told was cut from the veep’s speech, but he did it in front of Jonah, too. That’s one perfect storm fuck-up. Mike followed up his exemplary incompetence by groveling for mercy from Jonah. Seriously, Mike got on his knees and begged Jonah not to “report” his flub with Alicia. It was one of the saddest things we’ve ever seen. For that, he gets the top spot. But if there’s one silver lining, it’s this version of "Goober Peas".
2. Jonah Ryan (Last week: 2)
Jonah, who drives a Scion and compares himself to John Steinbeck and Denzel Washington, tried his hand at real reporting this week by sneaking into the pressroom with the big guys (Leon West!) for Selina’s speech. Unfortunately, old media didn’t quite take to Jonad … or, we should say, "some pissant who narrowcasts libelous poison from his mother’s phone." He didn't even end up getting his scoop on Mike. At least he's honest when Mike tries to appeal to his better nature: "I don't have one of those."
3. Dan Egan (Last 1)
After coming dangerously close to losing his job last week, Dan did slightly better this week. He thought he nailed the rewrite of Selina’s speech (well, after some last minute tweaks, of course) and tried to handle the SNL parody of the veep himself. In the end though, Selina ended up doing both of Dan’s tasks herself – which means he was pretty much useless this entire episode. And how many times do we have to say it: hospitals can’t go after military in a speech, Dan.
4. Ben Cafferty (Last week: 8)
Ben gave Mike some apt wisdom on dealing with one’s own incompetency: "It’s an ancient technique that’s been applied by lovable losers since way back. It’s called begging … You have to go lower than the lowest lowlife." Sounds like he’s speaking from experience.
5. Amy Brookheimer (Last week: 6)
Is Amy bad with kids or what? She seriously needs to update her references (Power Rangers are so '90s, Amy) and telling a little kid that "peeing is fun" is just sort of creepy.
6. Gary Walsh (Last week: 5)
What exactly did Gary do this week? He tried and failed multiple times to give Selina a drink. Sometimes the poor guy goes unappreciated.
7. Kent Davison (Last week: 3)
Ask Kent what he thinks of SNL: "Nothing less funny than a comedian."
8. Catherine Meyer (Last week: N/A)
A surprise appearance from the veep’s daughter! Even though she made the unforgivable mistake of dressing exactly like her mother, she also "fixed" Selina with a brutally honest summation of her life hitherto. Spoiler: Catherine has not particularly enjoyed her formative years.
9. Sue Wilson (Last week: 10)
Sue spent the episode tagging guests with red stickers and shuffling benevolent taxi drivers and injured firemen on the steps behind Selina. Forever on the ball.
10. Selina Meyer (Last week: 9)
Let’s ignore the fact that Selina ended up caving into Senator Doyle and his "I’m not blackmailing you" blackmail. Let’s ignore that she treated her long-suffering daughter like dirt. Because in the end Selina deftly handled every crisis thrown at her, preventing herself from becoming just an "optimistic warmonger with a soft spot for educated gays." And let Selina remind you: "They do not own me." She let the party leaders dictate to her.