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.
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.

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