Veep Recap: Can’t Win for Losing


Season 4 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating 5 stars


Season 4 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Photo: HBO

We all know those work friends who are only your work friends: the people who, once you leave your job, exit promptly from your life forever, never to be heard from again. Two such ex-colleagues are Amy and Gary, or at least, they should never see each other again, but they are working together again, sort of. A little secret meeting among Amy, Dan, and Gary takes place at one of these Color Me Mine–type paint-your-own-pottery joints where Gary is hanging with his nephew, Jackson (Amy: “Cute, I imagine”) about the Families First Bill.

This bill is Selina’s baby! You know, in addition to her actual baby, Catherine, who only matters to her sometimes. But Selina is going to have to kill the deeply unpopular bill so she can win the election. Girl’s playing that long game.

She needs Amy and Dan to get their lobbying on to convince a handful of congressmen to vote against her, and naturally she can’t let anyone know that she is the one who sent them. Wouldn’t look very good for POTUS to be rooting against her own legislation, now would it?

Dan, on his way out: “You know at least three of these kids are probably mine.”

With ten hours until the vote, Selina is down for the count with a horrendous case of the flu. Gary is tending to her as best he can — “Let me get that, you sweet little invalid” — but he cannot retroactively get this flu instead of her, much as both he and Selina wish.

Selina is working from home, marshaling the troops, hoping to secure a loss. “It’s really close,” Erickson tells her. “But we’re doing our best to lose it.” And by “doing their best,” he means sending in their worst: Jonah and Richard, Dream Team of Incompetence, are out there trying to win over yes votes because Ben and Kent know they’ll do a terrible job, thus getting the no votes Selina actually needs.

I could have watched an entire episode that was just Jonah and Richard talking to Congressman Moyes. “Sir, we have a folder full of numbers here, and I think you’ll find the numbers to be great, great numbers,” might be the most Jonah-y thing Jonah has ever said. I am honored to document this historic quote here in this recap. But just as things are going Selina’s way, Dan and Amy show up and hand over the exact same numbers that Jonah had. Looks like Ben and Kent didn’t coordinate quite as well as they thought they did! (For the record, Kent’s list was not a sub-list but a sur-list, “which means over yours. Your earwax could take down a presidency!”)

Dan is freaking out. Amy is cool as ever, of course. So what if Moyes said he’d get them in trouble? “He’s a congressman! Congressmen never do anything they say they’re going to do.” Dan used to hate when Amy was a bitch, but now he’s not so sure. Amy’s excellent reply: “You shouldn’t call people bitches. Unless it’s like, biiiiitch, or something like that.”

Meanwhile, Selina is staying in touch with her staffers while bedridden using a voice memo system that is just perfection. “EVERY MEMO I SEND IS IMPORTANT SEND MEMO” is my new email sign-off.  And Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s performance of sickness is spot-on. As Mike says, “She sounds like an underwater Bob Dylan.”

Congressman Pierce, visiting his not-actually-that-sick mother at GW Hospital, is Selina’s last hope. Jonah and Richard, miraculously, get the yes they were aiming for, and Dan and Amy have to intervene at the last second with a “the president would like to see you at the White House” trump card. Wonder where he’ll really get to be an ambassador.

Oh, and the bill got killed! “I won by not winning,” said Selina. Sometimes Veep is too real.

And a few other things:

  • “Want to blow our cover? Nobody shakes hands in a craft shop.” I am going to need to find an excuse to say that to someone.
  • Selina, trying to figure out how she got sick: “Meeting people, I guess.” What are other humans if not walking germ factories who could infect you at any moment?
  • Tom James, regarding Selina: “It’s like she wants to run the whole damn country.”
  • “I think I just sneezed up part of my pancreas.”
  • How slick is Tom James with the cover story? “Huge, huge fight! Nothing like a Boston wedding.”
  • “Join the circle, grab a dick.” Anyone want to print that on T-shirts for us all?
  • “I took a precision driving class.” Jonah being Jonah. 

Compliment of the episode:
Mike: “For a moment, Gary was the most powerful person in the world.”

Insult of the episode:
Tom James’s rapid-fire destruction of all of Selina’s best men: “An infestation of mediocrity. I don’t care if you’re a 1950s radio broadcaster, or fuzzy bear ripped up and used to smuggle heroin, or a Nazi doctor. I don’t even KNOW what the fuck you are.”

Jonah shall henceforth be known as:
A colossal fucking fanny pack. (Thank you, Dan.)

Veep Recap: Can’t Win for Losing