WashingTelevision: “Veep” Recap, Season Two, Episode Eight, “First Response”

Selina’s TV interview isn’t quite the PR-friendly puff piece she hoped for.

By: Sophie Gilbert

After last night’s episode of Veep, I’m going to hypothesize that Cody Marshall, the bile-spewing, women-loathing, improbably angry producer of First Response, might be the funniest/most offensive villain ever to grace premium cable. Whether describing Selina’s dress as looking like she “vomited flowers all over herself” or yelling the kind of misogynist claptrap at Amy that the likes of Todd Akin could only dream of, he’s the classic Veep antagonist: hideous, profane, and self-serving to the nth degree.

Neither IMDB nor HBO’s website will deign to tell me who played Cody, but First Response was also notable for Allison Janney’s guest appearance as Janet Ryland, a waning Katie Couric-like figure intent on turning Selina’s intended puff piece into “rough puff.” The result of all this needling was Selina lying and telling everyone she knew about the spy among the hostages all along as her team freaked out behind the camera. Will Selina’s momentary ego boost get her into even more trouble next week? Almost certainly. Will Catherine ever come home again? Not without earplugs and a prescription for Klonopin.

Winners

First Response: You know between Andrew’s wriggling, Selina’s inaccurate statements about her expanded role with national security, and all the inept handling of naval artifacts that this show is going to be YouTubed and gif-ed into perpetuity.

Allison Janney: So tall, so elegant, so inscrutable. She doesn’t even get flustered when Selina rings a bell in her face, paired with the completely unnecessary statement, “This is a bell.”

Andrew: When you start comparing your parenting skills to those of Michael Jackson, something is clearly awry. And yet Andrew’s the perpetual winner on this show, for reasons that are inexplicable to anyone lacking Selina’s attraction to him. The news that he’d promised a lobbyist favorable access to his ex-wife in return for favors (how Fergie and Prince Andrew) should have banished him from the Naval Observatory forever, even before he landed Selina in it by accusing her of being less “in the loop” than she let on, and yet there he is at the end of the episode, boinking the veep and mortifying his child once again.

Ears: “In politics, your backbone and your heart are only as good as your ears, and my ears are my livelihood.”

POTUS: Doesn’t he always win? The announcement that the government shutdown was finally over, timed perfectly to highlight Selina’s apparent lack of information on the subject in every way, was excruciating.

Losers

Catherine: She got hugged by Jonah in a way I can only describe as skin-crawling, she was encouraged to become temporarily bulimic by Amy, and was coerced into breaking up with Rahim on national television. Then she had to basically witness her parents go at it, again. There’s just no break for this poor girl.

Dixie: Mike whistled it, or sang it, really, during an uncomfortable interlude when Amy had to be restrained from punching Cody Marshall in the face. “Oh, I wish I were in the land of cotton . . .” Don’t we all, Mike.

Chicken: Not since frozen yogurt has a foodstuff had such negative press on this show.

Amy: Dan sets up the giant sh*tshow that is this interview, and yet Amy’s the one who comes out swinging.

America: “Today, America is a guest in your home,” is how Dan described the catastrophic interview. In which case, America now knows exactly what it’s like to be the neglected and manipulated child of a smoothly sociopathic networker (who uses emoticons, no less) and a completely incompetent career politician with boundary issues.

Best lines

“Nobody does rough puff like you.” (Cody)

“I hate this house, to tell you the truth. It’s like living in a doll’s jail.” (Selina)

“No, but I’m hoping to get the box set for Christmas.” (Amy, on being asked if she’s ever seen TV news before)

“I know that you wanna kill someone right now, but it can’t be anyone in the building.” (Amy)

“I give great talking head.” (Jonah)