Veep: Crate review

Veep's Selina Meyer steps up off the crate to a bigger office

SPOILER ALERT: Don’t even think of reading this, not even the first sentence, until after you’ve seen the episode.

Veep’s penultimate episode of the season, “Crate” has the series greatest arc. Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) starts off trailing behind the exonerated war torturer Chung and the grunting football manager, Thornhill. “They’re not even sound bites, they’re just sounds,” notes Amy, pegging the competition in the locker room with a swat of a rolled up towel. It ends with Selina Mayer on the – I warned you about spoilers – brink of being the first woman president of America.

Because she’s up against a down to earth kind of loser political asshole, Selina has to appeal to the common folk. Run with the schlug. She starts doing the folksy thing with folks. You know folks, they work, they drink, they make things, the go to malls and community centers. They might run say, a drycleaner, they’re just regular Joes. As long as they’re regularly wealthy and can kick in more than four figures, these are regular guys and gals that Selina can relate to, or at, but usually towards.

To make the veep look more common, Kent Davison (Gary Cole)  comes up with the crate. The crate is designed to look rustic. It just screams common man because, as we all know, what’s a common man without a crate? But it does play in places like New Hampshire, where crates are like old friends. Not like in cities where they shoot straight from the sidewalk to the cellar. That rustic, wooden weathered crate that Davison ordered is lined with titanium, heavy as fuck and cost $1,200. Not that Selina should be standing on top of a $35 crate. Looking down at everyone from high atop her perch on the little people, like the voters whose lives she wants to legislate.

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Basically, the losers. The ones who only kick in about two grand, that brands them as GUMMIs: Give us more money, idiots. Politicians are all whores and old whores don’t fuck for fun. They do it for the cash. 

The other great arc dynamic in this episode is how Selina’s casual disregard for her staff turns into full disregard. Every single bad turn on this campaign trail has come from Selina’s staff, even if it came out of Selina’s mouth, the staff member should question a misstep. Unless, of course, they do question it and are brushed aside, like every member of the Veep’s staff, but in particular right now I’m looking at Gary (Tony Hale) and Kent.

Selina is callous, cutthroat and careless. She carries so much disappointment and she metes out her resentment on every member of the staff. Selina harasses, harangues and hassles every one individually and as a group. There is no love in the campaign offices, there is no respect or reward. The job becomes everyone’s lives and those lives revolve around the vice president. 

Sue (Sufe Bradshaw) is always all business. She can’t be bothered with the good and the bad and is probably the least useless member of Selina’s staff. Mike (Matt Walsh) sees a way out and is pulled further in. Selina is quicksand and he is too tired to grab onto a vine, even if the vine leads to a house with ducks. Mike is constantly crushed, repeatedly. Dan (Reid Scott) seems to get as much of a kick getting kicked as he does doing the kicking. Amy (Anna Chlumsky) does a better Dan than Dan.

Louis-Dreyfus is great at playing the ultimate narcissism it takes to be that kind of politician. Which is every kind of politician, ultimately. She sees nothing past herself. She’s like the “New Yorker view of America” poster, where Manhattan is huge, you can see Jersey, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles and who the fuck cares what else? Selina’s first question after she finds out that the president is resigning is where is POTUS going to live. Selena’s already picking out the furniture.

“This must be how it feels to be happy,” says Ben Cafferty (Kevin Dunn) on leaving New Hampshire behind. Gary’s nosebleed is inspired. The news must affect him physically. And it can’t be pretty. And, of course, Selina can’t be in the least bit concerned. He is a very funny guy in a very funny situation.

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Jonah (Timothy Simons) gets egg all over his face in this episode. He is fully demeaned. He puts all his cards on the table, elder voters he can swing, traits and skills that no one can list on a resume, news that Maddox’s campaign is hemorrhaging like a burst dog. Jonah lost it all. He is vindictive and goes cursing to his mother for a job. His mother (Debra Jo Rupp) is just as inept. Getting into a fight with the very man who found a position for Jonah within the same conversation he found it. Jonah’s uncle, the man Jonah owes his Washington career, can you call it a career? That must be what DC considers a career.

The Endorser’s questions are a downfall just as bad as the “head so far up his ass he could wave out his mouth” leak. Because Veep is what it is, the ascension ends on assuredly slippery ground.

“Crate” was written by Simon Blackwell & Georgia Pritchett  and directed by Chris Addison. 

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5 out of 5