This Veep review contains spoilers.
Veep Season 6 Episode 10
Veep season 6, episode 10, “Groundbreaking,” tours the most monumental achievements and deepest crevices of former senator Selina Meyer’s (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) road to becoming the first woman president. As the bulldozers idle before breaking ground on the presidential library, a little reflection is in order. And nobody likes their reflection more than the former President of the United States.
Gary sees it, and is happy to be the mirror on the wall surgaring the compliment hungry fairest damsel in the land. To Gary, she’s a porn star, a perfectly valid, on-the-spot, discernment from the President Whisperer. A flashback to an earlier appearance Selina made shows that it was love at first sight for Gary, who had hair. Tony Hale’s wig isn’t as startling as Mike McClintock’s pony tail, but the gaga in Gary’s eyes borders on the disturbing. His every obsessive stare and glare feeds Selina’s inner-child need for flattery.
Amy’s (Anna Chlumsky) inert charm is undeniable, yet it’s been denied since at least the middle of her career as political support worker. While then-Senator Selina Meyer is making the Ohio concession speech in a flashback to her first presidential run, Amy says she’s going to deal with it by getting drunk and slop-fucking an intern. Standing directly behind her is an intern, who quickly but firmly slips away unnoticed.
The spa in Arizona doesn’t go unnoticed. It becomes a pink elephant in a room filled with multicolored elephants. Louis-Dreyfus even gets to slip the tongue on some physical comedy while confined to a wheel chair. It came out earlier in the season, by Selina’s self-proclaimed closest friend, that the spa was a nut house and the only chemical treatments the ex-president was getting came in pill form. This makes her open to suggestion, from not minding people thinking she’s going to marry Gary to praising her ex-first man, daughter and future daughter in law.
Selina even takes something Marjorie (Clea DuVall) says seriously on the season closer. It’s a subject she is intimately familiar with. The former secret service agent is the first to say out loud that there’s something more feminine about the library than smashing through a glass ceiling while going up the escalator. The design makes it look like a clitoris,. But this isn’t the most frustrating disappointment about Yale’s presidential Vagibrary. The ground it is being built on used to where Yale housed their slaves. Something the staid institution would prefer to keep underground, like Selina will be, as most presidents are buried under their legacy libraries.
It looks like Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons) cannot fall any farther. He lost the support of the House, his financier, his fiancé, and his very family which closed the distance of New Hampshire voters. Jonah is a loser with a trump hand full of jokers who know he’s the biggest joke in the deck. Simons plays it with a sad arrogance that borders on hysteria. He is clueless, to the point of getting excited over a misheard electoral recount play from Richard (Sam Richardson). Just when you think Jonah can’t sink any further into the swamp, there is poor, former poster-boy for testicular cancer, standing next to the man who sexually traumatized him, announces his run for presidency.
A flashback to the White House gives us a glimpse of an almost young Ben Cafferty (Kenneth Dunn). He doesn’t need a broad physique to be imposing, as a matter of fact he swears he’s cutting down on exercise. He gives Jonah the intern’s first political advice. Two rules to live by: 1. Get the fuck away from me, and 2. Stay the fuck away from me.
Veep is so consistently cynical and the scorn passes through the characters lips so flippantly it would seem they’ve been doing this all their lives. Every single actor is that good at it, even the one playing non-Beltway boobs. The putridity of Washington infects these Hollywood actors so deeply, they could probably get elected in real life in major landslides. That’s improv. One of the first things Matt Walsh probably learned when he first hit the stage at Uptight Citizens Brigade.
Mike and Richard are so different from the other players because they are truly out of their depth. Richard miraculously and unequivocally falls into every good grace the former president drops like it’s a rabbit hole. Screw the yearly vaccination to prevent exo-mitosis. It shouldn’t be surprising. He is one-sixteenth French Huguenot and that is rare in Washington. What is surprising is that he never loses his innocence.
But the cynicism gets only deeper in “Groundbreaking” when Selina snatches the newborn baby, who she names Little Richard on the fly, to deflect the slave-quarters controversy, which she blames it on Amy. Another flashback shows that Selina gets the idea to run for Congress when she was trying to drown out the crying of her newborn baby, Catherine, in the maternity ward. Her entire life is politically focused. Her personal life doesn’t make a blip. She doesn’t even have a need for Jaffar in the Post-Tibet phase of her career in public service.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been consistently amazing this season, as in all seasons. Her deliveries are always spot on, especially when they’re thrown away, and she’s pushed boundaries in physical humor. Last season we heard that horrible raspy, phlegmy sick whooping cough voice she did when she was bedridden. This season almost opened, it was the second episode, with Selina doing a near 360 degree flip out of a presidential museum exhibit. But, the darker moments are even brighter and the south Bronx smells good.
Selina had a full blown breakdown in the middle of the season. She had a few leading up to it, and then she let loose on her childhood safe place when her childhood fell apart all over ghostwriter Mike. That was a cathartic moment. Here we get a truly vulnerable moment. Selina cries over breaking it off with Jaffar.
Amy has some news for Dan Eagan (Reid Scott), whose lazy sperm was rejected by Catherine’s incompetent vagina. Just as they are about to put Team Meyer back together, except for Mike, who has become the Pete Best of the band to Leon’s Ringo, for an end run on Pennsylvania Avenue, she lets loose the biggest reveal of the night. It’s enough to tide us over until next season.
“Groundbreaking” doesn’t break any new ground on television, but it does turn over the soil on a well-sculpted grave. I can’t wait to see what they dig up next season. It looks like it might be a runoff between Selina and Jonah.
“Groundbreaking” was written and directed by David Mandel.