This Veep review contains spoilers.
Veep Season 6 Episode 7
Maybe one of the reasons ex-President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is having such a hard time getting her presidential library going is because she doesn’t read books before she writes endorsements for them, or tasks Mike McClintock (Matt Walsh) to ghost one for her. Veep season 6, episode 7, “Blurb,” won’t bring literacy to schools, but it might bring depth to history lessons.
The ex-vice president turned ex-president swept away every shard of the glass ceiling in America’s government. Although she only spent just under one year in office, it was quite a story. Three volumes of story, now that she’s uncovered all the past trauma and lies that made up for most of her memories. This isn’t what her publisher signed on for. But Selina does things randomly. She’s very in the moment and really doesn’t think much about the moments to come unless they come with some kind of promise. Like the book advance her publishing house threatens to pull if she pulls a stunt like getting three books out of one deal.
There was an advance to the book, Mike asks, and illuminates why he is always a day late and a dollar short. People on Selina’s staff appear to fall into two categories: clueless or conniving. Amy (Anna Chlumsky) is the only conniving one left on staff, and she’s eyeing professional abuse in Senator Furlong’s office, which leaves Selina with Gary, Mike and Richard. All three consistently misinterpret every sign coming from the ex-POTUS. They either catch on too late or miss the point entirely of almost every important event or comment.
While Mike has embraced his own mediocrity, admitting freely that his writing could use more than a little improvement, and admitting a real press guy would renew his prescription to Vanity Fair, Gary embraces minimalism. Tony Hale no longer needs dialog to slow the wheels of progress. Gary barks through most of the episode. His passive aggressive whining has been pared down to grunts, sniffles and snorts and still has time to waiver indecisively until he knows where Selina stands, though he still consistently guesses wrong, even after he eavesdrops on conversations.
Richard (Sam Richardson) is blissfully ignorant. It takes him more than a moment too long to realize that his boss’s sex life is being discussed on the CBS morning show. Raised in a strict farming family, he’s still learning about Beltway life and every new kernel of knowledge feels like it comes out of a box of chocolates. He only recently discovered masturbation, which he did for a good cause, providing a boy or girl for the president’s daughter Catherine, and will soon be at his first human birth.
Fount of useless knowledge Kent Davidson (Gary Cole) knows Catherine’s baby is a boy. He could probably gauge it by how her stomach hangs. However he does it, I hope he’s wrong.
There is no real category for Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons), who inspires women to check on each other when they talk to him for more than a minute. Jonah is on something of a spiritual quest. The junior congressman from the state of New Hampshire was recently informed by his girlfriend Shawnie Tanz that he is getting married. The ring was waiting at Tiffany’s, paid for, on the last episode. The daughter of one of the worst lobbyists in Washington immediately took charge, pushing Kent and Ben’s more sage wisdom aside. Since then Jonah has been stumbling towards something akin to notoriety. His every wrong move and stupid misinterpretation mirrors a constituency just waiting for blessed misdirection.
When he is burying a report that includes a government worker’s cocaine use, his first reaction is that the guy knew how to party. When Ben and Kent ask him what he gets out of their briefing, he stresses the importance of cocaine, voting, aliens, whatever, as long as he could get a seat at the official unveiling of President Meyer’s portrait. He rides the slight brings to the pinnacle of power on Capitol Hill, shutting down the government. No longer will kids be denied a cool trip to Disneyworld because their parents feel they have to go to a national park. He even gets a fitting rallying cry: “lights out,” because his dimmers have been on since his unassisted birth.
Jonah also trounces workplace decency with reckless disregard. Neither Ben nor Kent will add him as their plus one for the unveiling, so he takes that as a sign to hire some women and make them date him. We learn the depth of Jonah’s shallowness when he goes to lessons so he can convert to the Jewish faith. The faith of his intended financier. He gets everything wrong in ways that plow deep wells beneath lowest common denominator. When he learns that the Jewish people have no heaven, he asks if there is a Jew place for dogs. He wants to know if he can still say Jesus Christ in vain.
Sex sells on the Beltway and below. While Selina doesn’t think Catherine’s affair with a creepy secret service agent will sell books, her own sexual revelations could cause a literary revolution. Meyer’s sex life would be a great book, a best-seller like the legendary “Nancy Reagan’s Guide to Cocksucking.” People would pay the price of a book for a book like that.
There is an assumption that Selina slept with Kent Davidson, she corrects them by saying she’s not a data port. No, the big reveal is that she did it with her running mate on a couch in a green room. Tom James (Hugh Laurie) is married now, and cleaning up his image. He’s got his own book coming out, a science fiction trope called Investing with a Conscience, a new wife and a new life.
Of course, none of this stops him from breaking the news on CBS This Morning, but they know how to sell sex as well as anyone. The scene where Meyer confronts James is filled with a violent and palpable heat that Selina is maneuvering. But the morning show is in a post shakeup shakedown. Dan Egan (Reid Scott) and his new co-anchor take production notes. It seems audiences liked the idea that Dan was fucking his former co-anchor, even though they weren’t, but this new pairing has no heat, even though they really are. So the notes get very personal. Maybe they should be doing it differently, which is where Dan draws the line, but his co-anchor is already changing her suit.
Selina has more issues than National Geographic. She is systematically being sidelined from a footnote to a toe hold on history. She’d piss in the punch bowl if the government shut down hadn’t furloughed the grapes. Meyer is sinking back into her deep funk. She had a few minibreakdowns after her heart attack and Louis-Dreyfus is plunging into darker waters more deeply each episode. Her asides are filled with self-doubt and ultimate need.
The most casual cynicism of the evening is the comparison to Black History Month, it never ends. The most self-referential and revealing line of the night comes from Mike, who complains about how hard it is to find different ways to curse. Veep has a ball with bad language. Senator Furlong consistently proves you don’t need specific swears to make language ugly. As a matter of fact, his more descriptive terms that leave out the bad words are far more disgusting than any specific swear. That is part of the brilliance of Veep. They take the time to find the most disturbing twist on any public discourse, regardless of civic responsibility. “Blurb” is a great and revealing episode.
“Blurb” was written by Ian Maxtone-Graham, and directed by Morgan Sackett.