HBO had a helluva night, with the season premieres of three of its scripted shows: Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, and Veep.
Conversely to the show’s name, the Julia Louis-Dreyfus led Veep entered Sunday’s fourth season premiere with the titular character – Selina Meyer – looking worse for wear due to her responsibilities as the United States’ first woman president.
It all comes to a head as she takes the podium during what was meant to be a term-defining speech, only to find that all of the text has been erased from the teleprompter.
Cut to a time jump, 24 hours before the ill-fated speech, to when her staffers – including Mike (Matt Walsh) and Dan (Reid Scott) were first working on it.
Meanwhile, Selina’s right-hand man, Gary (Tony Hale), is flustered by new presidential restrictions, none more upsetting than when someone takes away his all-important bag.
While the rest of the gang has moved up to the Oval Office, toughing it out for their beloved – yet flustered – POTUS, Jonah (Timothy Simons) is stuck back with the new Veep, Andrew Doyle, who has seemingly been shut out of all important matters by his new fearless leader.
He calls upon Jonah to then be his “West Wing wiretap,” spying on Selina so he can try to happen upon the happenings, seeing as the Commander in Chief apparently didn’t have any sympathy for him, following her (very recent) struggles in his exact position.
Patton Oswalt joined the cast as Teddy, Doyle’s Chief of Staff, and he did not take kindly to Jonah paying the VP visits without his knowledge.
And the newcomer certainly made his concerns known, as he groped the gangly goof ball as he exited the office, holding his valuables in what appeared to be a death grip as he noted – in an eerily friendly tone – “This game takes balls. Jonah, you got ‘em, buddy.”
Selina’s big secret from the VP this episode was her attempt at “cock thumb-ing” the Joint Chiefs in an effort to find funding for her Families First bill. Her staff informed her of the delightful term, which meant to lead with an unpleasant, excessively high number, hoping the Joint Chiefs would respond with a more reasonable, yet still respectable sum.
Selina’s confident she can cut the program and yet still spend money on Families First, noting you can totally do two contradictory things at once. She hilariously reasons, for example: “I love my mother, but I had to put her in a home, and it’s actually better for her if I don’t visit.”
At first that works out even better than planned, when it is revealed that an outdated military program can be nixed, making $50 billion available – “That’s 5 – 0?!” But of course, when something seems too good to be true…
Poor Amy (Anna Chlumsky) has it a bit rough this episode, as at first she’s sequestered away at a campaign center with her forgetful assistant Richard (Sam Richardson), while everything is happening back in D.C.
Later she discovers that Bill Ericsson (Diedrich Bader), who Richard describes as the “best campaign manager in the world,” is quitting his current job – leaving opponent Thornhill at risk (and if he’s out, all of his votes go to Selina’s competitor). Not only that, but he not-so-subtly insinuates that he’s interested in Amy’s job.
Gary is seriously losing it as Selina seemingly no longer needs him, and tortures him by noting that the Navy chiefs’ coffee tastes like “Colombian tongue sex,” while he stands outside of the meetings, bagless.
Dan reveals that he can effectively spy on her meetings from “the FLOTUS window,” which he obviously rushes to do. It’s there that he runs into Jonah, who tries to unload about his awkward encounter with Teddy. However, he doesn’t get very far, as once he realizes that Selina is in a meeting with the Joint Chiefs he rushes to inform the VP, thus fulfilling his spy duties.
Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t quite get there fast enough. Fortunately for viewers, they weren’t quick to find that out, so Doyle, Teddy, and Jonah go on a mad dash through the West Wing to make it to the meeting in time, only to encounter an empty office and POTUS’ somewhat smug grin.
However, while the Veep is furious at another missed opportunity, Selina is thrilled at finding out she’s just been gifted $50 billion for her program. Her term-defining speech is rewritten, and she and her staff are giddy about presenting it… That is, until the surly Roger Furlong (Dan Bakkedahl) bursts in, revealing he’s heard of the plan and if she pulls the plug on the program – cutting thousands of jobs – everyone will shut down her Families First bill.
Now it’s quickly back to the drawing board on her speech – which is literally minutes away – as the team rushes to edit out the cuts before her whole term starts on a bad note. Problem is, Mike doesn’t exactly know how technology works (or how to effectively name documents – Mike11A1 and Mike11A11?) so the group is stalled as they try to find the newest version to upload to the prompter.
To put them on an even bigger time crunch as they’re searching, Selina is live… at the podium… vamping. The stunned president, never short on the laughs, notes: “There are literally no words.” … And there aren’t.
It seems that they’ve finally saved the day when text pops up, but it’s an old edit, as after a few moments of speaking she gets to a part that was only supposed to be a place holder, which reads: “FUTURE WHATEVER.”
At first the staffers thought she might be okay, banking on her reading from her hard copy. However, Gary had taken her glasses out of her dress because they “made it look like she had a penis.” POTUS was on her own… with no words.
She tries to vamp to fill the time, saying the word future an uncomfortable number of times, before the teleprompter finally seemed useful again. Only, this time they had uploaded an even older document, one the previous president was set to read, which not only didn’t cut the submarine program, but gave it an extra $10 billion.
Needless to say, POTUS was NOT happy about the mix-up, throwing all of her staff out of her office in a fit of rage, only to then be repeatedly bothered by every member in a matter of 30 seconds.
“Mike trying to be healthy, it’s like a potato trying to whistle.” – Dan, on Mike’s new juicing habit
“The only unthinkable thing is that anything is unthinkable.” – Kent (Gary Cole), followed immediately by Ben (Kevin Dunn) noting: “Kent majored in fortune cookies.”
“We may as well have an anti-unicorn strategy.” – Amy reinforcing how unnecessary an old military program is.
“No one hates me more than I hate myself.” – Gary after everyone realizes he has Selina’s glasses.
“My entire career just flashed before my eyes. It’s incredibly impressive.” – Dan, during the teleprompter mishap.
“Whole cities of children were going to be saved from poverty. Instead now, that money is going to fund obsolete, metal, giant dildos.” – Selina, on $10 billion being added to the submarine program
What did you think – did you watch?
Until next time,