WashingTelevision: Veep Recap, Episode Seven, “Full Disclosure”

One of Selina’s problems conveniently goes away, but she’s still under fire thanks to her incompetent staff.

By: Sophie Gilbert

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep. Photograph by Bill Gray for HBO.

If you’re a regular viewer of Veep, you might be forgiven for thinking that the show’s writers spend a good deal more time coming up with creative ways to incorporate the F-word than they do thinking about the intricacies of storylines and plot structure. Last week’s episode, “Baseball,” offered a notable exception to this rule when Selina found out she was pregnant—the type of emotional, predictably angst-ridden development you’d expect to see on, say, Girls.

But guess what? We did see a pregnancy storyline on Girls, and it ended it the same way Selina’s baby scare did: with the kind of convenient miscarriage TV writers love because it allows them to keep their characters static while injecting some drama into a situation that lasts one episode, tops. In last night’s episode of Veep, “Full Disclosure,” we were barely two minutes in when Gary revealed to the rest of Selina’s team that her pregnancy was no more. Their typically self-serving reactions (“This is good for us!” said Dan), combined with Selina’s own flippancy about the whole thing (“It was like a heavy period. Don’t worry about it”) made the whole episode seem like a lazy way for the Veep team to remind us about Selina’s ovaries without actually having to delve into the idea of having an unmarried, pregnant, female Vice President in any kind of inconvenient detail.

And it’s annoying, because otherwise the writers did a pretty good job of illustrating the complexities of Selina’s character this week. Maybe it was the hormones, or maybe it was because she’s finally cottoning on to the fact that her team are beyond cretinous, but it was a joy to see the Veep’s ruthless and manipulative side emerge. One minute she’s forcing the ever-loyal and competent Gary to break up with Ted for her (in the neutral anonymity of his sweetly decorated rowhouse, no less), and the next she’s icily conning Amy into taking the pregnancy fall for her in order to keep her job. The breeziness with which Selina dismisses Amy while summoning Dan into a meeting (“Should I stay?” “Did I ASK you to stay?”) was the Veep finally showing the kind of cojones she needs to be a successful politician.

And I’m sorry, Mike fans, but McClintock needs to go. He is without a shadow of the doubt the biggest liability on Selina’s staff, and it’s slightly depressing to think that someone so impossibly lazy and clueless would have ascended to the role of press secretary for the Vice President. Mike’s one responsibility this week was going to the home of the ousted Secret Service agent and attempting to persuade him to back off. Instead, he was his usual awful self. “I’m looking after my uncle who has dementia,” says Collins. “He ever say anything funny?” is Mike’s response, shortly before likening Collins to an ape. Selina may have enough smarts to see how invaluable Gary is to her, but it’s entirely improbable she’d ever think of canning Amy (who is, after all, hard-working and fairly competent) over Mike.

This episode had some moments of genius—Jonah’s grimy rowhouse with beige leather couches and a gazillion other roommates, all on laptops; Gary’s Fig Newton; Selina’s “backne”—but the general plot, or lack of it, is starting to wear thin. Yes, her team is brilliant at crafting dick jokes and leaking them to the media, but when it comes to running the office of the second most powerful person in the country, they’re about as useful as penis cake, and it’s hard to see how this puerile kind of incompetence can be spun into a second season.

Best lines from last night’s episode:

“He’s supposed to be Secret Service. Secret, as in, shut the fuck up, and Service, as in, you work for me, so shut the fuck up.” (Selina)

“It’s partial-disclosure-light.” (Mike)

“Suckup isn’t going to fix a fuckup, Dan.” (Selina)

“Three is better than two.” (Mike) “Not with testicles.” (Amy)

What did you think of last night’s episode of Veep? Let us know in the comments.