SPOILER ALERT: Do not read past this sentence until after you’ve seen the episode.
Veep begins as Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is about to be the first female president of the United States. At first you don’t believe it. It seems like a dream sequence. HBO is renowned for their dream sequences. They spent two episodes on a dream sequence to begin their final season of The Sopranos. James Gandolfini with his non-Tony Soprano Montclair, NJ, accent and ever-present briefcase stops short of walking in the door of the big house with the uncertain future.
So it seems in “New Hampshire,” Mike (Matt Walsh) is positively beside himself with joy on the podium in his first presidential press address. The headlines scream wonderful things about him. WP Politics raves “McLintock rocks. Veteran spokesman revels in Presidential spotlight. Beyoncé tweets Selina congrats. Duplicitous senators put their lips firmly on Selina’s sphincter. It has to be a dream sequence. If this were Tony Soprano’s halfway house instead of the White House, Selina would have to leave Gary, who would obviously be carrying her briefcase, behind. Oh wait, she already did that. Selina can walk straight through the gates of hell with her head held high because, as the first woman president of the United States, she can plumb a deeper darkness and wreak more chaos on the world than anything a Jersey mobster could.
Ben Cafferty (Kevin Dunn) even asks “am I dreaming? Are my pants on?” Of course it doesn’t take a snooze alarm to piss on Selina’s bliss, she can do that fine herself.
Selina picks Ben as her acting Chief of Staff, probably after his physical found that he is so Washington His blood type is DC. The scene is brilliant. Ben is bulldozed. He says that the job destroyed him, that he was “bulimic for a year and didn’t even lose any weight” and Selina plows through him. Dunn and Dreyfus are both great in this scene. You can see the pain on Ben’s face. Every ounce of his body was waiting to be poured off the Beltway and be refilled by a bottle, or an IV, either way, you see how much he was done with this. His tour of duty was being extended two cycles past his breaking point. No reprieve.
Selina isn’t fazed a bit. It would be exciting. It will be exciting. If it’s exciting for her it’s got to be exciting for him, her overworked obstetrician. Ultimately he is reported to be “incredibly excited to be carrying on in the same job.” And so it begins. Amid much trivial backbiting – Sue (Sufe Bradshaw) cannot pull Kent Davison (Gary Cole) out of her ass, Amy (Anna Chlumsky) gets boomeranged by campaign office promises – the first female president is sworn in. Or is she, can she? Chief Justice Fuckwad notices that Selina paused during her oath, because Mike bullishly knocked over the china.
Every character must assassinate the president in so many small ways. Gary (Tony Hale) channels Cathy Bates in Misery in his fawning sycophancy and the President squeaks to the nation. After the address, she dictates to her staff that now that she’s president every fuckup no matter how insignificant can be her legacy: No fuckups. And that goes for fuckup suckups, like Maddox, the one inch cock.
Selina can’t take any responsibility. She doesn’t see how she could possibly even be held accountable for whatever antics her roadshow becomes. When Kent tells her she uprooted the wrong ambassador and pissed off Iran she accuses “What have you done to me?” Selina is a trained politician. She passes on every buck. Unless it’s an endorsement check.
The best buck passer is Dan (Reid Scott). If Dan was a quarterback he’d never be sacked, that ball would be out of his hands so fast, the huddle might not even be broken. He may not always hit the numbers but Dan is dead on with Jonah. The bottom feeding self-foot-shooter even looks like a loach. When Timothy Simons, who plays Jonah, shows how adept he is at lying, you know he can push Jonah down the cesspool of dumping on the only person who comes close to possible sympathy: His reader.
The first place Dan goes after finding out he’s been fingered as the leak behind the Danny Chung torture story is Ben, who tells him “I told you when I was telling you that I wasn’t telling you what I told you.” Ben knows how to stop the fuck. However it also saddles the POTUS office with Jonah.
The New Hampshire primary begins the election season, except that one year that it started in Springfield and America almost elected The Simpsons’ Ralph Wiggum, and it’s done wonders for their already inflated sense of self-importance. Politicians cater their entire lives, lifestyle and diet to break ahead of the pack because New Hampshire voters always pick a winner. Selina Meyer ends the season on top with a long slide down in front of her. Victory is sweet and short. Much much too short. A snapshot. A half hour sitcom.
“New Hampshire” was written by Simon Blackwell & Tony Roche and directed by Chris Addison.
Den of Geek Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars