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Veep Recap: The Chosen Ones

It’s pep talk time at Meyer for President headquarters. Everyone brings a unique brand of pep to the table. Kent tells his underlings, “You are going to change America in a way that usually only war and fluoride can.” Gary warns that Selina does not even know her own taste in tea — she says chamomile, but she wants peppermint — while Mike gives a tour of the kitchen. “Some people say three microwaves is overkill. My response is: tapas!” Dan and Amy are campaigning for the campaign manager position, neither seemingly aware that Selina has her eye on external candidate Bill. Dan is being unnervingly friendly; Amy is awkward as ever. Sue, as always, is the most direct, impressive, and terrifying: “And never, ever, ever fuck up. End of induction. Thank you.” Selina rallies her troops from her perch atop a footstool to begin her journey with a literal first step. 

On Veep, we’re still in the early stages of the election, what I like to call the “Seriously, that guy?” phase. That’s when all the weirdos, wackos, and who-the-fucks fight their way out of the vast, strange woodwork that is our great nation and decide: Hey, why shouldn’t I run for President? This is where you typically find your “Okay … Libya?” types, your frothy mixtures, your birthers who just won’t quit. The parade of potential POTUSes would all be hilarious and entertaining if there weren’t the possibility, though that chance may be slimmer than an Olsen’s arm, that one of these numb-nuts who is barely qualified to teach U.S. history to tenth graders might be setting up shop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Selina’s latest opponent is “one-dick pony” Joe Thornhill, an ex-MLB coach who is going to take those unbearable sports analogies all the way to the White House. She’s seeking out Bill to run her campaign, even though Bill is a “stupid fucking interrupt-y guy” who tells her she’s going to need to fire her whole staff. Bill winds up managing Joe Thornhill’s campaign. Not even Danny Chung, “that desperate dick covered in medals that he got on eBay, by the way.” Nope, Joe is going to bat for baseball Bill. Hope those two crazy kids are very happy together.

I love hearing Selina fantasize about what it would be like if she said what she really thought on this campaign trail: “Can you imagine if I did that? Mississippi is chock-full of assholes. I don’t trust the Chinese. I’m not going to be able to pass a single piece of legislation that’s really going to make any fuck of a difference in your life.”

She heads to Virginia — “I love the country: peeing in a bush, being talked to on a porch. It’s kind of like being a dog.” — with Dan and Gary in tow to spend some time with Maddox, who has hired Jonah and calls him Jake for reasons unclear. It’s a recon and courtship mission disguised as a fishing trip. Selina’s already at a disadvantage; she’s not on her own turf. Instead she is surrounded by “guns on the wall next to animal heads. It’s like a flowchart for people who don’t know what firearms do.” 

The mystery of Jonah’s sudden, undeserved re-employment is quickly solved: his uncle is Jeff Cain, who apparently controls the senior citizen vote in New Hampshire. Kind of hard to believe that no one would have known about this already but, sure.

Dan is sent to woo him back to Team Meyer, insisting that a burrito-in-the-face doesn’t have to mean the end of a beautiful colleagueship: “There’s a fine line between hate and non-hate!” But he fails, as does Selina. In a great, just-so-uncomfortable set piece, both Selina and Maddox are running for office and invite each other to be VP. The back-and-forth about how much authority is really vested in this supposed-second-highest office in the land is so passive-aggressive and brilliant. In case Maddox had any delusions about tapping Selina for his running mate, she makes it extremely clear that such a setup is not an option. “I’d rather be shot in the fucking face than serve as vice-president again.”

The big twist of the episode comes at the very end, after Selina un-offers the campaign manager job to Bill (who has already rejected this offer) and turns around to give the job to Dan. This leads to some drunk, vaguely flirtatious tension between the two that night in Selina’s office, where they have some pointed talk about the sexual appeal of “older women” and bond like sixth graders at a slumber party: by telling each other the worst thing they’ve ever done. Dan killed a stray dog (how Underwoodian of him) and Selina torched her husband’s car. It’s a match made in the Eisenhower Building!

Our view of the show is usually Selina’s, so she is the center of everything and we rarely find out about the personal lives of her staffers. But this week we spend a little more time getting to know the gang, possibly too well (ahem, Mike). Poor Gary is slathering on the icy-hot so hard that when Selina stands by him and inhales, her “nostrils are like Vietnam.” We go inside Amy’s apartment and find out that she and her boyfriend have been together for quite a long time. (“Please do not tell me you’re one of those fucking weirdos who celebrates three monthiversaries.” “Amy, it’s been a year.” “A year in which you did not tell me about Jeff Cain.”) As if we couldn’t already tell that Amy’s job leaves her with little to no time to develop her own life and healthy habits, we learn that she has “eaten hummus with a pen cap.”

So, yeah, Mike. Let’s just get in and out on this one: Mike and Wendy are trying IVF. Mike is on a very tight schedule to, you know, fill up some specimen cups. This earns him the nickname “Jizzy Mike” and is as good an excuse as we’re likely to get to hear Selina instruct someone to “remove your jizz box from our executive branch of government.”

Also: WHAT DID KENT TEXT SUE?!? My money is on dick pic, but I’ll take other guesses. Sue says there’s no response to a “text like that.” They are very cozy, as cozy as Sue ever gets, that is.

One more question: Is Gary’s shoulder ever going to recover? I worry about him sometimes.

Compliment of the episode:

“You guys are the chosen ones. Not in a Jewish way, either.” —Dan, to young campaign staffers

Insults of the episode:

“I’d rather cede control of the CIA to Pakistan than see Dan lead a campaign.” —Selina (Um. Well. About that ... )

“You exercise this power very discreetly, I must say.” —Maddox, in response to Selina’s claim that she has a lot of authority in her role as VP

Jonah shall henceforth be known as: 

“The bag of bones guy.” —Selina 

Photo: LACEY TERRELL/HBO