'Veep' Incompetency Index: 'Some New Beginnings' and One Glorious Ending
Selina Meyer's pre-campaign campaign has officially begun and yet, in the premiere of Veep's third season, nearly everyone was surprisingly … not an idiot. For once, the Meyer team was content to let someone else lead the way in fuck-uppery.
"It's so full of shit, there's a colon right in the middle" – Ben Cafferty, on Some New Beginnings: Our Next American Journey
Selina Meyer's pre-campaign campaign has officially begun, and America's favorite vice president is back with a new book (just don’t ask if she actually wrote it). This week’s episode had a lot going on for the veep: While waist deep in the muck of an Iowa book tour, Selina saw the emergence of an electoral challenger in Secretary of Defense Maddox, and found herself mourning the loss of a pint-sized congressman. There was barely any time to decompress.
And yet, in the premiere of Veep's third season, nearly everyone was surprisingly … not an idiot. Granted, Selina's core team had the day off (sort of) and spent it celebrating Mike's wedding to reporter Wendy (Kathy Najimy!), so they didn't have as many opportunities to screw up as they usually do. But even during the nuptials, everyone pretty much kept their shit together. We sincerely hope this doesn't become a trend, because the overall level of competency left us feeling rather unnerved. It doesn't seem likely to stay that way, thank goodness. Like a law of physics, the Meyer team will always find a way to eventually screw itself over.
It isn't a surprise, then, that three newcomers and non-members of the veep's inner circle top this week's Incompetency Index. For once, the Meyer team was content to let someone else lead the way in fuck-uppery. And boy, was it beautiful.
1. Jonah Ryan
For someone who so effortlessly makes being a jackass look like an art form, Jonah had an especially abominable start to season three. After crashing Mike's wedding, Jonah revealed himself to be the brains behind D.C. gossip blog WestWingMan.net (featuring such hard-hitting scoops as an inside look at America's wind tycoons). He got a bit carried away in his hunt for the latest "gossip-tainment," though, and his zealousness to show the Meyer campaign as scrambling lunatics (in the wake of the secretary of defense resigning), ultimately cost him what he values most: his West Wing job. His downfall was a monument to schadenfreude (just ask Dan), complete with brutal self-honesty ("I don’t have anything else in my life!") and some truly terrifying threats ("I'll be back. I’m going to be back as the fucking president!"). Weirdly enough, Jonah's fuckup helped the Meyer campaign by forcing the president's hand when it came to announcing he's not running again. Still, losing his West Wing identity in such crash-and-burn fashion earns Jonah the top spot on the first Incompetency Index of season three. But really, we could've put him at the top simply for not washing his hands after using the bathroom.
Big debut on the index for the new guy! Props to Richard for making Gary look good. It only takes one useless aid to make it obvious just how much Gary does for Selina and how well he does it, and Richard was truly hopeless. His implementation of the Gary-whisper was pathetic at best, his thoughts on butter are troubling, and forget about thinking on his feet (Prime Minister of Scotland? Really, Richard?). Selina called him a disaster, and she was right.
3. Ben Cafferty
Ben, we love your deep-rooted cynicism and general abhorrence of life itself, but seriously, "Can you not keep a cat in a bag for one fucking second?" The president's chief of staff let it slip to Richard of all people the president's plan to not seek re-election and Selina's impending campaign. Plus, there was that weird moment when he mimed rummaging around inside Selina's uterus – sure, it was a metaphor, but yeesh.
4. Dan Egan
Dan bragged about orchestrating the fiasco that got Jonah fired, and for that he should be canonized, but he also used the phrase "I don't like to too my own horn" followed by him tooting his own horn. He finished the episode by actually asking Selina to do him "the honor" of making him her campaign manager (she hung up without giving him an answer), which is just so pitifully and predictably needy.
5. Sue Wilson
Sue on Jonah: "I hate that he learned English from pornography." Simply too accurate.
6. Amy Brookheimer
Amy didn't have much to do this episode aside from a white-knuckled release of her cell into Mike's wedding "phone bowl," but she still managed to be on top of her game. After pulling a stashed second phone from a certain private place, Amy broke the news of Maddox's resignation to the rest of the team, sending them all into overdrive. We also learned that she can text with her hands behind her back, which is seriously impressive, if not a little concerning.
He fired Jonah. That's all you need to know.
8. Mike McLintock
Mike got married! It was a blissful episode for Mike and it was actually a little strange to see Mike so, well, happy. He didn't shed his job entirely (the wedding vows included a statement to the press), but even he recognized how swell his wedding day was: "You might even see me cry today, and for once it's not about work."
9. Gary Walsh
Is it just us or are weddings Gary's natural element? In charge of the vows and the reception playlist, Gary was all over the wedding, and even charmed his way into Mike and Wendy’s honeymoon (because he always has baby wipes on him).
10. Selina Meyer
While her staff enjoyed themselves at Mike's wedding, Selina kicked some pre-campaign ass on her book tour in Iowa. She deftly dealt with caucus goers and brought the house down with her speech at Cowgill's funeral. Sure, she didn't actually write the book she was peddling, and didn't even sign all the copies she was supposed to, but Selina started off season three more confident than she's ever been. The nomination is a lock. Tell 'em, Selina: "You think I got here just because I got $50 million in the bank and this amazing ass?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.