Time for a field trip to Silicon Valley, where all the millionaires look like that guy you hated in college. Clovis is the perfect name for an obnoxious tech company. It sounds like an STI, or like a euphemistically named prescription drug to cure an STI. (“Talk to your partner about Clovis: It’s better to be sure than to be positive.”) Parks fans, who would win in a battle of the start-ups: Clovis or Gryzzl?
The day begins with the launch of Selina’s campaign website, MeetMeyer.gov. Unsurprisingly, the homepage already has a typo — Amy, doing damage control: “She might have a great sense of ‘density’ for this nation, but that’s not the line we want to push” — and not one but two spoof sites, but more on those later. Amy’s also trying to lure in potential funders, pretend-promising $20,000 for Selina to sit on someone’s lap. This girl. She does not take her campaign-manager duties lightly.
Selina’s efforts at normalizing start off innocently enough. “You wanna do a selfie? I call that an us-ie!” But then she runs into a mom who believes the reason her almost-nine-month-old daughter has been slow to develop is because of fracking in the area. While Selina cradles the possible fracking victim and attempts to smoothly transition in and out of baby talk, this mom, Cassie, calls her out on her flip-flopping. Cassie does have a point: I too am not sure Selina even knows what fracking is. (This season has shown us that Selina does, in fact, have convictions; does she have thorough knowledge on the issues she’s not as passionate about, though? Unclear.) Selina’s sort-of rescue of the situation is perfect graceless politicking: “Our children deserve an energy policy that protects the world. [Raising her voice] The world in which there is a country called the United States of America!”
There’s video, because of course there’s video, and the video winds up on Jonah’s site, because of course the video winds up on Jonah’s site. It’s Murphy’s Law of Virality: If you are an elected official caught, as Amy describes it, “like a beached whale with one flipper fucking around in the air,” someone will record this flipper-fucking, and someone will post it online.
Selina can’t afford to lose the lady vote; without them, “I’m left with gay Latinos and Jews at college, I guess,” she says. So damage control must be done, but that’s a project for another day, because now it’s time for a tour of Clovis! You know, as soon as Craig — ahem, that’s pronounced cray-yig — can make the time for the second-highest office-holder in the land.
I like Selina’s shoes and dress a lot! So glad she didn’t let Gary choose her outfit. We get more of Selina’s tone-deaf talk about personal finance, although I assume she has a point when she says, “You shouldn’t make your first million until you’re in your 30s. That’s what Andrew and I did, and it kept us completely grounded.” That’s definitely what’s stopping me, as you all must know. I just want to stay grounded. Otherwise, I’d be a recapping millionaire by now.
Selina’s tour guide through Clovis is resident granny Melissa Connors, the oldest person at Clovis by about five years. Selina’s reaction to all the dopey “we’re such a hip young start-up” trappings are hilarious, right from her first comment about the Legos: “Child care is a huge part of my campaign,” she says, but Melissa corrects her: “No, these are Legos.” For the creatives. Melissa leads them into a “Black Skies Idea Room. Google has blue skies but Craig doesn’t stop at the atmosphere.”
Selina’s office is a brutal place, all profanity-laced tirades and heartless nicknames, and sometimes it feels like no one likes anyone else, save for Gary and his undying devotion to Selina. So it’s a nice change of pace to see the team united against a common enemy. For once, (most) of their disdain, cruelty, and disgust isn’t aimed inward. My favorite moment of the episode is when Craig finally deigns to grace Selina with his presence, only to immediately insult her by not addressing her with the honorific and, right after promising her his “1,000 percent attention,” turning away from her to talk to Melissa. I’m all about this exchange:
Selina: Talk to me!
Amy: About what?
Selina: Anything. It doesn’t quite matter.
[They gather together in an important-looking manner.]
Mike: Congress, legislature, words like that?
Gary: So pretty. The museums are too big. Could be smaller.
Amy: Good point.
When Craig interrupts this conversation to talk to Selina again, her smile is made of victory. He wants to show her the Smarch, a “smart watch” that is barely operational. Also, you have to say Smarch like Zooey Deschanel in a Siri commercial, or it won’t work. Craig tries to save this failure — “If things work all the time, we can’t make them better” — and Melissa also speaks like some crazy cultist out of The Circle: “We have a saying here at Clovis: Dare to fail.” Selina has zero patience for this bullshit. “Well then, that’s a job well done!”
During a Smarch demonstration, we find out that there are two parody sites of Selina’s “MeetMeyer” website. One of these sites is “Meating Meyer,” a porn parody, because Rule 34. Craig tells Selina that having a porn parody “is a sure sign that you’ve officially made it” and you can just see everyone on Team Meyer get even more irritated and insulting by this kid. “Technically, becoming vice-president could be a sign that you’ve officially made it,” says Amy.
Craig even uses the “I don’t follow politics” line, which, thankfully, Selina calls him out on moments later, as soon as he tries to talk about taxes. (I hate people who claim not to “care about” politics when what they really mean is they just want the world to operate in a way that is pleasing to them so they never have to think about the machinery that makes that world keep turning, a.k.a., politics.) Temporarily chagrined, Melissa informs the group that “Craig is bookmarking this chat.” That’s so douchey, it wrecks me, although I do sometimes wish there were a way to “favorite” things people say in real life so you could politely accept a compliment and/or end a conversation without coming up with anything new to say.
What I really love about this Clovis detour is that we get this nightmare version of another office culture. Sure, Selina’s office can be a barely productive and personally vicious hellscape. But at least it doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not: It’s a workplace, staffed by people who, chronologically if not emotionally, are adults. No one wears hoodies. The rules are archaic and often infuriating, but there is a protocol, and by and large, people abide by it, even when it’s obvious they’d rather not. Clovis pretends to be everything anti-office, but all these workplaces dressed up to look like playgrounds are still workplaces; the only people they’re fooling are the people who work there too long and drink the Kool-Aid. Clovis especially is made to be just as hypocritical as the halls of the VP’s office.
So even though she has to flush Selina’s toilets, Amy is not abandoning ship for Melissa’s job offer to come to Clovis. “I’m a grown-up. I don’t think I’m the right fit here. I wasn’t even that into toys when I was a kid.” Melissa says she can get 1,000 Amys. Rude, Melissa! I laughed so hard at Amy’s reaction to the pay she could have earned: “Go fuck yourself! Sorry, that’s the opposite of what I meant to say.”
Back in the District, Danny Chung is still gunning hard for the Oval Office, and it’s Selina’s job to derail him. (Chung’s “As a military man” is like Selina’s “As a woman,” and I’m curious if he has the same qualms about using his “as” phrase that Selina does.) Over drinks, Ben reveals to Dan that he heard Chung’s military record is less than squeaky-clean in what might be the most awful and cynical way of describing torture that I’ve ever heard: “You know how Chung just bores the shit out of you? Seems his unit in Iraq did that to some poor schlub. With a drill.”
Ben says it’s unusable, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, so Dan hightails it to Jonah’s place to accidentally leak him the intel. Jonah wrestles with the ethics of running this story (without even trying to call Chung for comment) and decides to “put the story out there” because “something will arrive that backs it up. That’s Journalism 101.”
For a brief, glimmering moment, Jonah’s site gets an offer to be bought by Clovis for about $5 million. (Jonah: “I think I just had a moneygasm.”) Mike could have been a millionaire, if only he’d bought in! But as quickly as the offer is granted, its rescinded; Chung denies all the allegations made by Jonah and Ryantology gets shut down.
One last thing: Are we worried about Gary’s arm? Gary without a functioning arm is like Jaime Lannister without a hand!
Compliment of the episode
“His day-to-fuck-up ratio isn’t 1-1.” —Jonah, about Chung
Insult of the episode
Selina, when she thinks Ryantology is being bought by Clovis: “Jonah with money. God Almighty, it’s like if Hitler could fly.”
Jonah shall henceforth be known as
“Fucking pencil neck.” —Ben