Veep Recap: A Teetotalitarian State

Photo: HBO
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Editor’s Rating

Brace yourselves, everybody, because this week’s episode brings us some particularly shocking news: Selina’s Middle East Peace Tour is a success! Ben was belly dancing until dawn! Mike is getting a two-day weekend! (My God, these jobs are awful.) It’s going so well that she’s delaying her trip to Tehran so she can get in some more face time in Israel. And it’s totally fine that she’s doing this, like it’s no big deal at all, even though a journalist is being detained in Tehran and has been held there for two weeks, and Selina bumps back his release by a day so she can get a photo op with the guy.

Tough break, Leon West. As Mike put it, “Imagine being detained for two weeks just because you're a journalist, and a shithead.”

Back on the home front, Dan is surrounded by the paraphernalia of unemployment — takeout containers, crumpled napkins, tangible sadness — and is having a great conversation with his mom: “You don’t get a ‘get well’ card when you have plastic surgery.” He is devastated, but it's only been, like, six weeks and three days, so he’s not sweating it. And on the ground in Tehran, the press, forced into sobriety for the duration of their trip to Iran, “a teetotalitarian state,” is getting angrier and rowdier by the dry minute.

But none of that is holding back Selina, who is so jumpy she thinks she has to pee about a thousand times and says she “could bang a nail into that wall with my gaze,” and also that she wants to redo her kitchen. (Kitchen redos are INTENSE; honestly, that might be even harder than this peace tour.)

Leon gets freed from his captivity, which it turns out was in a hotel room, probably because depicting any real horror show would kill any comedic vibe. (“I’ll have something to say about it on Trip Advisor.”) He’s getting flown home on Air Force One, something he admits he is shallow enough to find exciting. But Selina, so eager to share the news of how she’s been Reaganing for the entire tour, accidentally shows Leon press clippings that reveal why his release was delayed a day.

Selina does damage control — basically, holding Leon hostage again — Mike and Gary miss Air Force One taking off and are now stuck in Iran. Their plan: to bribe their way on to the press plane with a ton of mini bottles of alcohol. Will it work? “We have booze, Gary, and they have a crippling dependency!” But the booze spills all over the airport, leaving them trapped in Iran, eating crap out of a vending machine. So much for that two-day weekend, Mike!

Dan lands a job interview with a bro-y consultant type who makes him engage in a very uncomfortable back-and-forth about whether or not Dan is allowed to “have” Erica, an outrageously beautiful blonde woman who works at the office. Dan goes on CNN alongside Amy, manages to get his product placement in, and then tries to sweet-talk Amy into giving him White House access again. Amy, of course, thinks Dan is hitting on her. Rough day for Amy; she also has to deal with Selina’s hiring of Karen Collins as a new senior adviser, a hypercomptent lady who won’t stop saying that her specialty is common sense. No wonder Amy says what might be the sharpest line of the episode: “I feel like I’m on a life support machine and they keep pulling the plug to charge their phones.” (And later: “If anybody asks for me, I’ve gone outside to scream into the night.”)

Oh, and poor Jonah thinks he is being asked one question when he’s really been asked another and accidentally describes, in excruciating and clinical detail, how Teddy has been touching him. I will spare you the transcript. The verb cupped was used.

And a few other things:

  • The vice-president, reading Selina’s speech on gay rights: “When I was a … a boy, it was my gay friends who taught me how to be tolerant, and how to dance to Madonna.”
  • Of course Gary is the only person in the POTUS crew who knows the Q in LGBTQ stands for questioning. And of course Jonah has a trick for remembering LGBT, which is already an acronym, that goes like: “Ladies who play tennis, g is for guys who like guys, b is bisexual, I couldn't think of anything for that one.”
  • VP Doyle: “As my grandfather never said, let's go be inclusive.”
  • Jonah: “I fucking hate Kent. I want to wipe that neutral expression off his face.”
  • Sue, hero to us all: “Man up, Gary. Or at least lady down.”
  • Kent: “Of my various walking paces, I selected moderate to fast.”
  • Selina’s response to Catherine’s engagement: “No, you’re not. I’m 48.”
  • Jonah to Selina: “We have Leon’s mom and she’s terrible.”
  • Clearly there is a lot we don’t know about Ben: “I’m going to treat [Leon] like my own brother, who I had murdered.”

Compliment of the episode
Amy to Dan: “Sorry you got fired. You were almost good at your job.”

Insult of the episode
Mike regarding Leon: “He is an asshole of an asshole’s asshole.”

Jonah shall henceforth be known as …

Did Jonah get any weird nicknames this week? Let me know what you heard and liked in the comments.