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WashingTelevision: Veep, Episode Two, “Frozen Yoghurt”

Selina is just a heartbeat away from the presidency, and a button away from a wardrobe malfunction.

Selina looks crestfallen when her West Wing moment of glory ends. Photography by Bill Gray for HBO.

Has any politician in any era ever showed cleavage as much as Selina Meyer? We’re not judging—merely curious. It’s hard not to think of Hillary and her armor-like pantsuits when Selina’s sporting low-cut dresses and showing off better guns than the Secret Service. Granted, the entire point of this show is that we don’t take Selina seriously, so God forbid she’d behave or dress appropriately (we’d call sexism if it weren’t for the fact that absolutely everybody on this show is a total buffoon). But when the writers go to such pains to get other things right, it seems odd they’d have the veep dress vaguely sluttily without wanting us to deduce some meaning from it.

That said, no one could accuse a women who tells her fan-brandishing aide, “I could move more air by farting” of trying to use her sexuality to get ahead. “I won’t be photographed eating a hot dog, or any other phallic food,” Selina stated in last night’s episode, in which she also described a senator as “a big hog fucker.” The Veep and her staff are stuck in Washington suffering through a heatwave while the President yuks it up in South Africa, prompting the staff to decide that she should go “normalize” with the masses (the kind of strategy babble that’s too good not to be true).

The writers play on Washington’s cupcake obsession by having Selina go to a frozen yogurt store on U Street that’s apparently run by three generations of African-Americans. To which we say, baloney: Everyone knows frozen yogurt didn’t take off until the ’90s, and the idea that a family-owned store on U Street would be hawking overpriced frozen dairy products through the DC riots, rather than, say, chili dogs, is absurd, even if the owner does proudly state that he spells it with an “H, right there in the middle.” And just to be nitpicky, the street the producers subbed in for U Street looked more like SoHo than anything else.

Quibbles aside, an oh-so-accurate moment in this episode is when Selina’s staff tries to decide which frozen yogurt flavor would be the best for her to order, message-wise. Dan draws up a chart, with Jamaican rum on one side and vanilla on the other. Later, when Selina goes rogue in a meeting and promises something to Senator Doyle that she can’t deliver, the chart becomes a thinly veiled metaphor for all her staff’s failures. “I want fucking blueberry with fucking sprinkles on it,” she tells them, with White House spy Jonah listening in. “But that’s not a fucking option for me.” It’s hard not to imagine the strategy meetings at play when President Obama takes Medvedev to Ray’s Hell Burger. What kind of burger best says, “You’re a powerless Putin puppet and I’m the leader of the free world, so suck it”?

Last night’s highlight, however, was when Jonah informs Selina that the President is experiencing chest pains and she needs to get to the West Wing as soon as possible. Her face a picture of barely suppressed glee, she remarks, “I’m … so . . . sorry,” while fireworks go off inside her head. After sprinting toward a White House meeting room, Selina calls for quiet. “We come here in togetherness, and in hope,” she says, adding as an afterthought, “Hope for the swift recovery of the President.” In other words, as an aide spells out, “Selina is currently the most powerful woman in the world,” and boy does she know it.

Unfortunately for Selina, the President’s chest pains turn out to be heartburn, so she goes from West Wing glory to a humdrum press appearance at a family-owned yogurt store, the unfortunately named Super Scooper, where all the good flavors have long since melted and she’s left with plain ol’ vanilla, an audience of bloggers (“they’re much more relevant,” Mike tells her), and an unfortunate spontaneous episode of gastric flu that leaves her unable to uncross her legs, and being bodyslammed into her limo. “No one’s judging,” Amy says, clambering in after her. But after the thrill of the most powerful office in the land, one imagines going all Bridesmaids in public is something of a letdown.

Best line: A tossup between Mike saying, “Okay, I’ll get a stepladder,” after Jonah encourages him to blow him, and Senator Doyle telling Selina it’d be quite something if she could pass a Senate reform bill through the very body it’s supposed to reform, “like a man fisting himself.”

Most DC moment: “You are distantly orbiting her,” Gary tells Dan about the Veep. “I’m her moon.”

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

  • Leona Davis

    I always love the character of Selena. :)

  • Lucy_hill

    Just love the way you nailed it! LOL. You know it's always been great to just leave Selena as like that.. :)

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