season finales

Can Veep Still Be Veep If There’s No Veep?

This spoiler-heavy post covers all the events from last night’s final two Veep season-three episodes.

Is Veep still Veep if Selina’s not the, well, veep anymore? On “Crate,” the first of last night’s pair of episodes, POTUS resigned, though in typical Veep fashion, we didn’t see that happen; we simply heard the information as relayed by Kent. Then, in “New Hampshire,” Selina was sworn in twice, making her both the president and a presidential candidate still in the throes of a primary campaign. There was a tinge of seriousness at the closing moments of “Crate,” and “New Hampshire” saw a little bit of panic creeping in for Selina. It felt appropriate, given that the character is now the president and all, but it also was jarring, because this isn’t really what Veep is.

Selina et al. are like the teenagers of government: physically grown, but without any of the actual wisdom, power, or impulse control necessary for meaningful leadership. A lot of the series’ comic energy comes from the conflict between the perception of power and the experience of powerlessness, of being in a seemingly prestigious role but actually operating as a cog in someone else’s machine — always the bridesmaid, etc. But if Selina is the president, then that struggle ends. The chronic missteps and the mistake-spin-mistake cycle is one thing when everyone’s vying for the position of Best Understudy, but in the White House? Thanks perhaps in part to the Obama administration, joking about a loose-cannon, goofball vice-president feels comfortable, normal, even. (This was less humorous during the Bush/Cheney years.) And yet the idea of Selina and her minions really running the country teeters somewhere between terrifying and too terrifying to contemplate.

There are a few options on the table, story-wise, for what happens next, but no matter what, Selina’s current stint in the Oval Office can only last a year. Beyond that, she could win her party’s nomination and the ensuing presidential election, but if she becomes president through traditional electoral means, it’s going to be a lot harder to watch her not govern. (Just ask Scandal. At a certain point, we just want to see POTUS go full Bartlet and do something presidential.) She could also wind up, thanks to some cockamamie series of power-brokering high jinx, as the VP on someone else’s ticket — though that would feel like the show had stalled out somehow and reneged on its big move. A third option would be putting her in the private sector, which sounds like no fun. And a fourth option might be seeing Selina as a cabinet-member — perhaps viable politically, but for story purposes, it would mean a lot less of Selina interacting with the general populace.

This isn’t to say that I’m down on Veep. Quite the opposite! I’m intrigued: It’s a bold leap for the show, one that can have as much fun with intra-office minutiae as with global affairs. At the end of “Crate,” Jonah’s at his mom’s house, watching in disbelief as news reports announce that Selina has become president. “Buy yourself a gun, Mom, because America’s going to have to shoot its way out of this,” he says. From your lips to God’s ears, Jonad.

Can Veep Still Be Veep If There’s No Veep?