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WashingTelevision: “Veep” Recap, Season Two, Episode Seven, “Shutdown”

The government is taking a break (from paying for things), and it’s making things messy for Selina and her team.

The cast of Veep. Photograph by Lacey Terrell for HBO.

Life seems to be mirroring art on this season of Veep, so let’s hope somehow we manage to avert the government shutdown that’s currently plaguing Selina and her staff. The trash is piling up outside the Naval Observatory, Sue and Dan have been furloughed, and bears are literally eating people in Michigan because there are no rangers to keep Midwesterners from poking them with sticks (at least, that’s a generous interpretation of what happened).

In other news, Mike is still wrestling with debt, and it seems to be dampening his spirit. Dan is doing his best to break away from the Veep to get into a high-paying, crushing-little-people job. Gary’s entirely out of his depth trying to emulate Sue’s frosty attitude. And Jonah’s fake British accent makes Dick van Dyke look like Daniel Day Lewis. The recap!


London humor: It was hard not to appreciate how much the (almost entirely English) Veep creative team had fun with the fact that Jonah was heading to London. “It is a city where women are literally drunk all day, and I am going to mind their gap, my friend,” said Jonah, whose desperation to get his passport renewed in the midst of the shutdown meant he even sat next to a carful of rotting trash.

Lobbyists: Don’t they always win? Between Remy in House of Cards and Dan’s incredibly douchey K Street contact, TV lobbyists fall somewhere between loan sharks and Bashar Al-Assad on the general ethics spectrum. And Dan’s willingness to sell out every one of his coworkers for the prospect of a new gig in Nebraska was so low it disgusted even this lobster-munching, Champagne-swilling, overgrown frat boy. For shame, Dan.

Gary: It wasn’t a great week for him what with entirely failing in his role as the new Sue, infuriating Selina, and having to spend more hours at a trash site than anyone should without a metal detector/snorkel mask/getting to ride on the back of the truck. And the Secret Service is now calling him “girly Shirley Temple.” Still, the New York Times ran a big piece this weekend about Capitol Hill purses of power and even mentioned the Leviathan, so at least he’s trending.

David Rasche: He wasn’t quite as permatanned as his real-life counterpart, House speaker John Boehner, but the In the Loop alum did wonders with his riffing on the “discomfort” of the olden days. “[People] were laced into their clothes, freezing cold, hot as hell, and they all stank!” And that’s just the ’70s. Plus, he failed to react to Selina’s threats about a eulogy full of subtext, because as he rightly pointed out, he’ll be dead.

Roger Furlong: “You can start calling me the hurty dirty man.” Um, okay.


Selina: She was filmed discussing trash while Governor Chung dribbled platitudes at a crying woman with an accent even Sarah Palin would wince at. That’s publicity you can’t pay for. Plus Politico (which is practically getting more mentions than the President this season) is blaming her and her alone for failing to avert the shutdown, even though she missed her daughter’s 21st birthday party to try to strike a grand bargain. And she’s seeing Andrew again. #Losing.

Bears: They didn’t get a whole lot of good press this week, although it was fun to see DC actress Heather Haney in her role as a grieving Midwestern widow.

NASA: They don’t even walk on the moon anymore. They’re just a bunch of nerds who work in a hangar.

Delaney Williams: I can’t be the only one who wants more from The Wire’s Sergeant Landsman than a few idle threats about trash compactors. This is a man who can look graceful eating sushi with a fork.

Best lines

“Network the bejesus out of me. I want people to be sick of the sight of my face.” (Dan)

“Are you threatening me, Pez-head? Cause we got a compactor that takes shit and turns it into cubes.” (Trash plant boss)

“Bears don’t like to dance. There’s not a happy bear in showbusiness.” (Mike)

“Implicit like a ‘Kick Me” sticker on my keister would be implicit?” (Selina, with extra props for using a word we had to look up on Urban Dictionary)

“Now I’m to blame because some goober got all eaten up by a bear?” (Selina)

“Grab a bag. We’re gonna be the shitty Sopranos.” (Jonah)

“You think this is bad? Wait till you get to London. Everything smells of urine, even the food.” (Gary)

“Ma’am, did you just furlough Mike and Gary while I was in the bathroom?” (Amy)