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WashingTelevision: “Veep” Recap, Episode Six, “Baseball”

Selina gets some very bad news while trapped among salad wraps and falafel at Camden Yards.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale in Veep. Photograph by Bill Gray.
Last night’s episode of Veep ended with Selina receiving some not-altogether-wonderful news while sitting in a classroom, and for viewers, watching JLD struggle to keep her composure while a room full of kids sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands” was pretty priceless. It was also pretty familiar. Remember this video of George W. Bush finding out about the second World Trade Center tower while reading My Pet Goat at Booker Elementary School? His face, like Selina’s, was a jumble of mixed emotions: thinly veiled confusion, horror, fake smiles, and a complete lack of awareness about what in God’s name he was supposed to do now.

Except Selina, as befits a woman as totally and unreservedly self-absorbed as she is, isn’t hearing about a terrorist attack. She’s getting confirmation from Gary that she’s “very, very pregnant,” which makes her not only the first female Vice President, but the first unmarried female Vice President to get accidentally knocked up while in office. Career-wise, as Dan says, “it’s like joining Scientology or getting a neck tattoo.” Which means Selina has to call her boyfriend, Ted, and yell at him that they’re getting married, and he has to go buy a ring, a big one, right away. As romantic proposals go, it’s safe to say Isaac Lamb doesn’t have any real competition yet.

This episode had some gems, particularly for Gary fans, who got to find out a lot more about the obsequious staffer’s unhappy family life, as well as his ninja-like skills when it comes to pulling eye drops and wet wipes out of his man bag. But the pregnancy storyline reveals how hard it is to pull off a show about nothing, even if Seinfeld managed it for nine seasons. Veep has pithy one-liners and ever-inventive uses of the f-bomb in spades, but as far as plot goes, it’s fairly weak. This crisis of epic proportions (“The best thing for her,” Dan says, “is if she’s assassinated before she starts showing”) feels like an attempt to inject some drama into the mix, not totally unsuccessfully. It’s also a nice way to unite Selina’s ever-dysfunctional team around a common goal.

So much from Veep seems to be drawn from real life, like the Troopergate Selina faces after firing the smirking Secret Service man, and the “Get Moving” initiative she’s unwillingly fronting in the face of abject disdain from doughy food-industry lobbyists. In many ways, Selina’s pregnancy is more acceptable than say, Bristol Palin’s: She’s in her forties, she’s already had a child, and she’s a woman with the means to take care of a baby. But she’s also a ditz who had a night of unprotected sex after drinking too much wine and listening to Springsteen, and who’s now “an unwed mother an aneurysm away from the presidency.” She’ll have to keep it, says Amy, to which Selina replies, “Unless we go on some kind of special vacation to Mexico.”

This episode seemed to be themed around poor parenting, what with Dan’s unusual childhood and Gary’s vain attempts to win his father’s approval by Photoshopping his face onto a picture of Selina and the Baltimore Orioles (on a side note, we know you filmed in Baltimore, Veep, but could you not have even pretended to come to Nationals Park?). We also have to give a shoutout to Ken the creepy photographer, a.k.a. Patrick Fischler from Mad Men, Lost, Dinner for Schmucks, etc. etc. Watching Selina reward him for his clammy, grabby style by drying her pee-soaked hands on his shirt was one of the best moments the Veep’s had all season.

Best lines (a Dan special this week):

“A Lion King DVD and two shots of Ritalin … it’s how I was raised.” (Dan)

“Is Jonah the dad? That’ll be a long labor. They’ll be pulling that kid out of you in shifts.” (Dan)

“Amy, my guitar is for seduction, not crowd control. Granted, on any given night, it’s one and the same.” (Dan)

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

  • BobSmith111

    Selina is not a one dimensional character, she is a complicated, flawed, evolving character. She feels so real because she’s fantastically inconsistent. Personally I enjoy this kind of humor and I just finished this episode using HBO GO through Dish Online, and can’t wait to see the next one. Dish Online is a place where Dish customers and employees (like me) can watch a whole lot of movies and shows. Love to finally see a show I can get into.

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