Veep recap: “East Wing”

Another half hour with the nation’s fearless leader, and this week she has quickly abandoned her flustered, new kid jitters, in favor of her usual spunk and sassy confidence, taking every opportunity to remind her thankless staffers that she’s busy “saving the world.”

Speaking of said staffers, the emphasis of “East Wing” seems to be on their struggles and incompetence, as it all begins with the reveal of Mike’s embarrassing, newly dyed mustache… which he likes to call “tangerine dream.”

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via HBO

His co-workers, however, liken it more so to a couple of Cheetos, as they all tease him relentlessly behind his back – and, let’s be real, to his face.

But Gary certainly wins the prize for causing the most damage this week, as he continues to struggle with his new position in Selina’s crew, following her newfound and elevated standing.

When she mentions that a painting looks like something from “Picasso’s heavy period,” Gary takes it upon himself to remove it, obviously in an attempt to regain her favor… not realizing it also happened to be the only work the White House had from a Native American artist.

And Amy’s worst fears are coming true, as she misses an important campaign meeting because her well-meaning – yet completely incompetent – assistant gets her stuck in traffic, leaving her to hear over video chat that Selina has decided to hire her nemesis, Bill Ericsson.

Then Kent drops the bomb on the President that her daughter, Catherine (Sarah Sutherland), is slightly less than popular with the American people… okay, they actually kind of hate her. But, luckily for Dan and Ben, being the man he is, Kent volunteers to deliver the harsh news himself.

Then, in another effort to win back Selina’s favor, Gary organizes balloons and a large cake in honor of Harrison Day – celebrating that Selina had outlived President William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia in 1841, after being in office for only 31 days.

Unfortunately for him, she was less than thrilled, cutting him off at the knees by noting: “I outlived some dead idiot president, wow,” before he could even present the cake. He quickly pretends the interruption was because of Ben’s birthday and ducks out before he could suffer any more embarrassment.

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via HBO

Meanwhile, while everyone else is suffering, Jonah gets some good news, as Teddy informs him that he has arranged for him to be a part of the Families First Talks with Dan. Of course, the J-man’s celebrations are stilted as Teddy shows his excitement by once again groping the uncomfortable aide.

Gary continues his downward spiral, and manifests his paranoia about the President in planning the state dinner, and going way over budget in doing so.

Dan is clearly upset at Jonah joining him for the Families First meetings, as he begins promising unreasonable offers to the politicians, such as bowling nights with the President and invites to private screenings of Martin Scorsese films not yet released… or even created.

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via HBO

He tries to confront him on the impossible promises, but Jonah – high on the absolute minimum amount of power he’s been given – then claims he deserves a staff, and threatens to reveal that Dan had spread the Danny Chung (Randall Park) torture rumors if his demands weren’t met.

Kent has his meeting with Catherine, brutally sharing: “Catherine, America doesn’t like you… It’s not that you are unlikeable, it’s that there is a perception that you are unlikable.”

Seeing as she refuses to join the military or have a child, she is left with the unfortunate task of having to appear at more public functions, showing off her less-than-convincing happy face.

As the season progresses, everyone continues to be dumbfounded as to the identity of one of the white house aides, while Selina works on her peace deal with the Israelis ahead of what turned out to be an insanely opulent state dinner – a point not missed by her guests of honor.

And seeing as her noble peace accomplishments were being overshadowed by gigantic floral arrangements, Selina sent out to put her ‘bagman’ in his place.

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“You are unimportant!’ she yells at her her No. 1 fan, leaving even viewers at home feeling the sting quite like a slap across the face. She continued the harsh tirade, questioning: “Who do you think you are, Gary Antoinette? Did somebody make you first lady? ‘Cause I don’t remember marrying you, Gary. I don’t remember fucking you in Niagara Falls. I think I’d remember that.”

However, Selina wasn’t getting her attention and she was not letting that slide. She was ruthless, as she continued to eviscerate her most loyal supporter: “You have suckered onto me like some sort of a car window garfield.”

But this time, Gary didn’t back down. His ‘inner child grew an outer man,’ so to speak. He stood his ground, firing back: “You’re wrong. I’m your calendar. I’m your google. I’m your wilson the volleyball!” 

And as POTUS warned him to stop, insisting he was out of line, he continued: “Most of the time you don’t even know that I exist, but I am fucking everything to you.”

The throw down culminated with the cryptic mention of something Gary did for Selina on Labor Day, that he said he would “never mention, ever.” And following that quick reminder, she immediately softened, with the two sharing apologies, before Selina noticed Gary’s rejected Happy Harrison Day! cake in the corner.

He cuts her a piece – it’s a light sponge – and things seem to be good again as they walk back out into the hall side by side… (but what happened on Labor Day?!)

The episode ends with a telling look into the cause of Catherine’s low numbers, as she awkwardly fumbles through an award ceremony, telling one little girl not to be afraid because she “wouldn’t bite”… but not before noting that the secret service agent behind her “does have a gun.”

Sound bites: 

“He looks like Yosemite Sam.” – VP, immediately followed by: “Yeah, without the credibility.” – Teddy

“Amy, it’s filtering out like, every other word… usually I just do that myself.” – Dan, when Amy tries to video chat from the car, while she’s stuck in traffic.

“That’s fantastic news, sir. You simultaneously made my day and ruined his.“ – Jonah, after Teddy shares he’s gotten him in on the Families First talks with Dan.

“If anyone doesn’t know the difference between a valence and a jabot, I need you to leave.” – Gary, planning the over-the-top state dinner.

“I don’t know. He’s gotta have a new one dropping, right? He’s really prolific.” – Jonah, on Martin Scorsese, after promising an invite to a private screening that isn’t even happening.

“That looks happy, even if you’re not happy – that’s the trick!” – Selina, trying to teach Katherine how to smile for photographs.

“He’s eager and hardworking and never complains, and every night I dream of drowning him.” – Amy, on her terrible assistant.

“That her bagman spends like a Babylonian king? Yes, I think so.” – Bill, when Sue asked if the president really needs to know about how much Gary spent on the state dinner.

“Well, imagine Elton John on a day he feels fat.” – Ben, when asked how much Gary spent on the state dinner.

Until next time,

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