Continuing the discussion of Veep from my last post, I started thinking about this show’s best moments. Even though one of the show’s selling points is its satire, it is most certainly isn’t its strength. While it can be amusing at times, it’s rarely ever nuanced or insightful, however, the show’s greatest strength is in its cast of characters. While its ensemble can feel overstuffed, the show’s core cast (and even some of its reoccurring players) are why this has become the hit it is on HBO. There are moments from the show when a character, even one that should be a minor player, surprises you in a way that makes you laugh or, surprisingly enough, feel. Here is a list of moments in Veep that I found to have been the most hilarious, heartfelt, or both.
VEEP SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!
1. Selina Gets Groped
When Selina gets groped by the husband of the Swedish Prime Minister, it’s treated like it is: A creepy and chillingly frustrating moment for the Veep. You can have all the power in the world, but if you’re a woman things like that can still happen to you. I’m sure the above is what the show meant to say about the situation, but Julia Louis Dreyfus’ acting here, her reaction to the groping and what she had to say about it later, was just a joy to watch. So much so that the message the show was sending may have been overshadowed by how hard I was laughing at this, although I think that may have been their plan all along.
2. Ed’s Got Jokes
Based on his initial scenes (and any prior knowledge of a role Zach Woods was in), you’d assume Ed Webster would stick around as only Amy’s milquetoast whiny boyfriend. He proves the audience very wrong in that regard when he completely dismantles Jonah’s character in an insult that culminates in Jonah being dubbed a Frankenstein made of dead dicks. More impressively, he even manages to put down the icy Sue with the only insult in the series that leaves her speechless (“You’re the secretary to the vice president, that’s like being Garfunkel’s roadie”).
3. Selina Tells Gary The News
When Selina finds out that she’s finally going to be the president of the United States of America, she tells her bagman Gary and they share the most nakedly joyful moment in the series. Just the two of them sitting in a bathroom, laughing it up because of how weird their journey has been. This scene plays like a much needed exhalation from the show’s two strongest characters.
4. Dan Kills The Mood
When Dan is made campaign manager to Selina, they sit down and have a drink to celebrate. What follows is one of the strangest conversations on the show, beginning with the two of them semi-flirting and ending with Dan making a very disturbing confession. He tells her that as a child he was dared by a group of older boys to kill a dog and… he did it. That’s it. You can tell that he imagined this confession to play out as sort of a youthful example of foolishness they could both laugh at, but it comes off more like a prologue to a horror movie. Awkward laughs all around.
5. Selina Finally Lets Kent Have It
Talked about this previously in my Kent article, but this moment was the scene that sold Kent’s character and his place to me on the show. Selina blowing up on him for how badly his campaign strategy effected her personally was a moment where the audience truly got to see the human side of her. It’s nakedly emotional, but unfortunately it isn’t sign of things to come for these two characters. Still though, it was a damn good scene.
6. Jonah Ryan Gets Fired
Jonah getting fired was a long time coming. He was annoying, incompetent, smug, and had no concept of what it meant to work at the White House despite talking about it all the time. This happening to him one day was expected, but still damn hilarious. His desperation in the face of his own screw-up was priceless, and some of his lines to defend himself will resonate with me forever (“THIS IS A TEACHABLE MOMENT SIR!”). Seriously, this is as perfect as a “jack ass gets fired” scene can come.
7. America Doesn’t Like You Catherine
Oh Catherine. Despite being mostly an innocent victim of your mother’s ambition, you have a particular combination of snark found only in privileged white girls and a total lack of charisma that makes your misery so hilarious. When Catherine finds out from a dispassionate Kent that America basically hates her, she falls apart before his eyes. Watching Kent try to make her feel better is funny on its own, but seeing Catherine still manage to be her WASP-y self through all of this is oddly inspiring.
8. Mike Wants Cake
The moment where Catherine realizes how deeply screwed up her life is after a disastrous birthday should have been a dramatic moment. When she just sits back looking utterly defeated with tears streaming down her face, we should have been feeling sad. But somehow, it’s just damn funny, and when Mike (completely off-screen) asks for her unfinished birthday cake, the humour turns up a few degrees and makes this moment the strongest ending to any episode in the series.
9. Amy Loses It
Throughout the 4th season, we have watched Amy get ignored, taken advantage of, and go unappreciated by Selina for far too long. The last straw for her is when Selina brings in her useless friend who has no thoughts on anything and makes her a campaign adviser. The moment I’m referencing here is when Amy has finally had enough and completely tears into both Selina and her idiot friend Karen. Dismissing Karen as a “Blah blah blah blah bitch!” and Selina as the worst thing to happen to America since food in buckets and maybe slavery, you almost can’t believe any of this is happening as it all plays out. What should come off as a humourous scene, seems more like a breakdown from a deeply emotional pace. In that sense it’s almost like the opposite of Catherine’s despair.
10. Gary Stands His Ground
My absolute favourite scene in the series. Throughout the series we have watched Gary go through so much pain and humiliation, sometimes just to make Selina’s day slightly more pleasant, and then go unnoticed for it. He’s always there for her, even when everyone isn’t, so when she starts tearing into him for being “unimportant” the audience feels it too. In a complete surprise however, Gary actually stands up for himself for the first time ever and forces Selina to see things from his perspective. Sure, he may have screwed up, but that doesn’t erase what he is and always will be to her. Just like Tony Hale himself, Gary is irreplaceable.
Quote of the Day:
– Jonah Ryan, Veep.