HBO’s Veep episode, “Clovis” takes Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) to Silicon Valley, where nouveau riche pampered cyber-brats toil in Lego nap nookies over ping pong, waiting for the flash of brilliance that will move a billion units of Floppy Seagulls. All that can-do energy is exhausting and annoying, even by DC standards, which are pretty high. Veep consistently shows how tiring politics is. Selina’s senior staff is all walking wounded who use gallows’ humor as a pillow. But they can still scowl pencil neck bloggers into swallowing their own phones in fear.
Kent Davison (Gary Cole) just launched Selina’s web site, which is basically an ATM that coverts personal asset currency into virtual political currency. The wheels of politics are greased by the biggest givers and the Veep’s staff wants to get greasy. As long as the Parental Controls on the Smart Watch are turned on. Selina might sit in a big donor’s lap at a dinner, but she won’t get greased up for it. No one’s getting any Pacific trim on this stop.
The Veep team is in Silicon Valley because that’s where the money is. At least, that’s what it must have said on Craigslist. But what it didn’t say is that you pronounce the I in Craig. The $4 billion tech biggie the Veepers are trying to degrease, Clovis, is staffed by long-suffering insufferables, who wouldn’t know the meaning of suffer if they googled it, I mean yahooed it. They don’t follow politics, or anything larger than themselves, unless it affects them. The whole place is passively aggressive. The Clovis Campus motto is dare to fail and they do a good job.
Cra-eeg’s assumption that people, specifically content providers, want their work featured on Clovis more than they want to get paid, shows how similar the corporate model at Clovis is to the government. Or Huff Post. This whole thing is a touchy subject for TV comedy critics who like to get paid far more than they care about placement. Getting paid without providing content would be fine for most of us. Just saying.
The woman with the cute but damaged-by-fracking baby starts a tempest in the teapot. Selina can’t afford to lose single moms but can’t get the fracking woman to drink the toxic sludge Kool-Aid. Amy Brookheimer (Anna Chlumsky) tells a Secret Service guy that he “has to make her go away.” As he is pulling out his gun and Amy is telling him she didn’t mean to kill the fracking woman, Mike McLintock (Matt Walsh) tells the Secret Service guy to kill her. I always suspected this is how it’s done in Washington. That these little annoyances sometimes get out of hand with lethal goodwill.
Kevin Dunn’s Ben Cafferty drinks Dan Egan (Reid Scott) with a whiskey chaser after work. Dropping a Chung-Iraq bomb that is unusable until it gets dropped on Jonah (Timothy Simons), who is getting surprisingly popular, so popular that Clovis wants to buy up his pseudo-news site Ryantology. Watching Jonah crash and fizzle is very satisfying, especially after he belittles his partners and lets it slip that he’s going to grab the money and run with it. But we knew something was going to scuttle the deal. The universe is not cruel enough to let Jonah be rich. That would be like letting Hitler fly.
Cafferty is what I picture in my head when I think politician, old, worn out, his prick a distant memory lost in folds of flesh, ever ready to put the least happy spin on every compromise. Sadly he is still outranked by Davison, the other political reality. And Davison is on his way to fawning sphincter-licker at Clovis. Dan is on his way to Cafferty’s fate. His poker face is as inscrutable as his personal politics. There is nothing to give away. There is nothing there. Cafferty may have started with something. Dan starts with nothing. He has nothing to lose. He can get as dirty as he needs and will still come out smelling like the shit he is.
The Clovis team of internet startup brats also notices Amy. She’s a head above the rest of the Washington crowd. She’s open to dialogue and innovation. Amy’s just not open to the sheer optimism of Clovis. She’s much better served flushing the Vice President’s not so virtual turds. Sure, Melissa from Clovis can buy a thousand Amys, why just with the money they saved from dumping Jonah’s Ryantology stocks, but can she get the Smarch out of her ass?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus brings self-absorption to artistically high comic levels. She not only doesn’t notice Gary Walsh (Tony Hale) rapidly leaving his rotator cuff in his wake as he walks, she heaps on more stuff, heavier stuff, on his narrow shoulders. He knows suffering. He knows torture. Unlike Jonad Ryantology, who can’t tell when he’s being water-boarded. Selina might not notice Gary’s arm falling out of its socket, but she does notice the masseuse leaving his room and immediately jumps to conclusions.
I like how Rupert Grint from the Harry Potter movies, who’s not even at the Clovis Town Hall meeting, gets a much more thunderous applause than Selina does, and she’s standing right there. Every little slight plays off Dreyfus’ microscopic comic viewfinder with laser-like precision that comes off expertly sloppy. She wins every battle only to lose every war. Wonderful day, wonderful device. Wanna take one home? No.
On a scale of one to fucked, this episode is a half star short of totally Ron Jeremy reamed.
“Clovis” was written by Sean Gray & Ian Martin and directed by Christopher Morris.
Den of Geek Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Stars