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Veep Recap: I Can’t Identify As a Woman!

Obviously we’re not here, and this does not exist, but welcome to Selina Meyer’s campaign office. It is a Polish dungeon with non-functioning toilets and broken phones, but that’s neither here nor there, because we are neither here nor there, because this conversation never happened.

How’s the gang doing? Well, Gary is having a bit of an existential crisis: He does not want to be a man in his 40s carrying a bag, and also he just realized that he has his dad’s face. Mike is out of commission, on a sort of staycation-style honeymoon, living every man’s dream, I assume: eating chips and putting a penny in a jar every time he and his beloved have sex. They’ve already got, like, 15 pennies in there! Dan and Amy are jockeying to be Selina’s campaign manager for a technically nonexistent campaign. Jonah is starting “Ryantology” as a “D.C. insider turns D.C. outlaw.” Yeah. More on that later.

Friends, our cries were heard and our prayers answered: Iowa bodyman is back! He has a name, Richard, and so far he mostly goes around clogging toilets (… ugh) and promising to be Selina’s shadow. Kelly is here to take photographs, be incredibly enthusiastic, and dress in clothing to match her hair dye. They’re all going on night patrol with the Coast Guard, except for Richard — who learned to swim for this especially! — for some pre-campaign campaigning.

Dan gets seasick — I love when people who are terrible get leveled by the elements; nature and illness are the great equalizers of our lives — and Gary fixates, for some reason, on everyone else’s refusal to use the term below deck instead of downstairs. Selina busts a weapons runner who voted for her, but we need to turn this boat around, because POTUS is suddenly pro-life. They’re already calling him PROTUS, which is stupid, as Amy points out, because both sides have pro at the start.

On any other show, this turn of events would make me very, very nervous. At this point, we have a solid 22 minutes left of the episode. Twenty-two minutes of abortion jokes. But this is where Veep excels: high-wire humor. Let’s do this.

Back at the VP office, Kent is hitting on Sue. Sue is perfection. Kent compliments her hair. Sue’s reply: “I got it chemically relaxed. It was enormously painful.”

In the “real-estate acquisition” in Maryland, Selina talks literal shit about the president — “This is POTUS trying to screw me. This is the unflushable turd that is left in the can for the next person, e.g. me.” — and her team talks over how to meet and greet with every abortion-related interest group in D.C. What with the whole third-rail nature of abortion politics in this country, Selina is advised to keep the anti-abortionists and the pro-choicers away from each other so, as Ben tells her, “Nobody shoots any doctors.” Dan is already starting to crack, insisting that Selina just make a call right away because no matter what happens, she’ll piss someone off.

I liked watching Selina determine her point of view by committee — “We have to decide how I feel about abortion” — and seeing her rip apart Mike’s suggestion of “As a woman”-ing the problem away: “No, no, no, I can’t identify as a woman! People can’t know that. Men hate that. And women who hate women hate that, which, I believe, is most women.”

But my favorite part of all of this is that we actually get a little insight into some of Selina’s views. Sure, she doesn’t have the guts to risk any political capital to say what she’s really thinking in public, but at least we get to hear her thoughts in private: “Maybe I should just say, ‘Get the government out of my fucking snatch.’” And, “If men got pregnant you could get an abortion at the ATM. Let’s state the obvious.” Yes, please, state the obvious! Later, it felt like we were hearing JLD through Selina when she corrected Dan by saying, “It isn’t that simple, all right? This is about access to safe abortions for vulnerable women. It is a serious issue.”

And, oh man, Selina’s staff. Dan has this chart of weeks and fetal development on a whiteboard, trying to rush the decision along for reasons unclear. (Is it just that he’s kind of an impatient prick, or are we supposed to read more into his unwillingness to debate abortion like it’s an issue that merits careful consideration?) I never thought I would say this, but Gary found a way to accidentally make seeing the size of a baby during different stages of pregnancy totally hilarious and bizarre by lining up progressively larger pieces of fruit on a table.

Dan completely loses his cool — “Look, I love abortion. I’m an abortionado. But I would go pro-life in a fetal fucking heartbeat if it meant winning.” — and gets himself fired. Biggest laugh of the night may just go to the moment when the Cardinal walks in and sees the fetal fruit lineup and Dan’s “pick a number” chart. The whole process of Selina trying to meet with both the pro- and anti-abortion lobbies while appearing to prioritize both is hilarious, especially when no one on her staff can remember what ACCDP stands for, or if that’s even the right acronym. (For those of you not living in Washington, “I can’t remember what the acronym is and/or what it stands for” may just be the most D.C. problem in the history of the District.)

Dan’s right about one thing, though, because Selina needs to make a statement fast. Chung and Maddox attacked in the middle of the night (must be their military training) and Selina’s booked on Good Morning America at 7 a.m. In classic Selina fashion, she retreats from any real, potentially controversial opinion and ends up doing the one thing she swore she wouldn’t do: “I believe that life is precious, and so are the hard-won freedoms that women through America enjoy today. As a woman myself, I know that freedom means the freedom …” And scene.

Now, a minute for Jonah. I’m just going to let Sasquatch speak for himself: “This is Jonah Ryan, and you are witnessing the birth of RYANTOLOGY. Old media like the Washington Toast better run to the bathroom and hide like the Poo York Times because we are cutting in. I’m gonna be updating more than I’m actually dating, which is a shitload.” Right before Jonah goes on MSNBC, though, Dan shows up, shoves a burrito in his face, and threatens to break Jonah’s legs “so you’re normal height” if he says anything about the VP’s position. Jonah bombs the interview. A small victory, though: Dan does follow Jonah on Twitter. Plus, Jonah loves burritos, so, joke’s on you!

One last thing: Jonah thinks that he’s “made it” when he gets a car to pick him up and a free bottle of water. By this metric, everyone who has ever taken an Uber has “made it.” High-fives all around, everyone! We are the real stars.

Compliment of the episode
Selina to Gary: “You are my angel of baked goods.”

Insult of the episode
Mike, predicting insults if Selina picks the same number-of-weeks cutoff as Chung: “Copycat Selina, that’s what they’ll say. Me Too Meyer. Shit for brains.”

Jonah shall henceforth be known as
“That unstable piece of human scaffolding,” h/t Selina.

Photo: HBO