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Veep – First Response Review: An Interview Spotlight’s Selina’s Personal Life and a Rise in Drama

The latest episode of Veep focuses completely on an interview being conducted at the Vice President’s house in order to put a spotlight on her and her family. Janet Ryland, a broadcast journalist who is there to do a feature story on the Vice President and how she lives, interviews her. Amy, Dan and Mike are all there to prep her before the interview as they assure her that it should be easy and not to worry too much about it. What ends up unfolding throughout the episode is horribly embarrassing for everyone, including several awkward moments between Selina and Andrew, who is there along with Catherine in order to keep up a positive appearance as a happy family. 


The staff is determined to make the interview seem like just a simple talk between friends, and what was originally intended to appear as a piece of lighthearted journalism takes a turn in the wrong direction after an unexpected move from Andrew. First, Selina takes Janet on a tour of their house and shows her all of the objects, explaining the history of the building for the camera. Janet continues to pressure her with questions about Andrew, making Selina uncomfortable, and the rest of her staff is worried that something bad could happen. Her staff then discovers that Andrew has told a lobbyist that he can get access to her office and is willing to share information; all of this information is leaked in an email during the interview. Somehow Janet gets news of this information and proceeds to question Selina about it, but since she does not know about the leak yet, she isn’t unsure about what to do. The tension that is created between the two is great and audiences even get a guest appearance from Allison Janney, who plays the part of the interviewer well. 

In the next scene, we see Andrew come into the interview, which makes things awkward, and it becomes and even more so when Catherine is thrown in between the two of them. Selina simply wants to make a good impression with the American people not to appear to be completely dysfunctional while on camera, although the difficult questions that are asked of her make this goal difficult. Jonah, who was not originally part of the interview and had to no reason to be, comes in unannounced with news about the government shutdown. While certainly not the most convenient way for Selina and her staff to hear of such news with a camera crew around, it is good news nevertheless, and Janet’s camera crew is all over the story. Selina introduces Jonah to Janet and explains that he is their White House liaison, while proceeding to let everyone know that the President is getting ready to announce the end of the government shutdown. 


After this, the interview continues when we see Selina, Andrew and Catherine attempting to act as a family while they are on camera, rather than simply sitting down to talk. Janet tells them not think about it and continues to interview them while they prepare a meal and then eat it while still talking to her. It is understandable that she would want to see how they act and expose the American public to that, too, but I just can’t help feeling bad for their whole family throughout the episode for having to endure such attention. It is also revealed that Catherine is a vegetarian; while they are preparing a chicken to eat. Catherine says that she told her mom about the change three months ago, but it seems with the business of her schedule, Selina has no clue about her daughter’s diet.

Veep

It is sad to see that someone can have a job that is so time-consuming that they don’t know the basics of their daughter’s life. This news ends up coming up during the interview when Janet asks Catherine what her favorite foods are. After the meal, Janet sits back down in a room with all three of them to talk, which turns into a disaster. Andrew’s is brilliant as the sleazy ex who clearly only cares about himself and does not care about how much he embarrasses Selina on national television. They argue on camera, and after the CIA operative is brought up, Selina even takes credit for knowing about the spy during the hostage situation. In a huge surprise to her staff as well as the audience, she takes credit for knowing something that the President had actually kept secret from her. It seems at this point that she is simply trying to take control of the conversation and make a good impression on people. Of course, it would be wrong of her to know about the spy and not tell anyone, but she seems to come up with a pretty good reason why it would need to be kept secret. The ever-confident Selina Meyer steers her way through this interview in the best way she can, but it just does not seem to go well for her. 


Through the form of the interview, this episode is able to weave together several story lines that have existed throughout the season. In what could seem almost like a season finale, we get spot on performances from each of the actors, who are all in their element and putting on excellent acting performances. There does seem to be less comedy than in recent episodes, but it is hardly noticeable with all the drama going down at the Vice President’s house. We see a particularly good performance from Anna Chlumsky in her role of Amy when she freaks out on the Producer of the interview crew after he insults her. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ acting is brilliant as usual but her supporting cast is also terrific. It is nice to see the return of Andrew and Catherine to illustrate more of Selina’s personal life. With only two episodes to go until the season finale, audiences will certainly want to tune in for the coming weeks in order to see what will happen. 

Thoughts and Quotes

— In a hilarious early line from Dan: “If it’s DC, you can find someone willing to open their a** on a Sunday.” Interesting…

— Selina: “Now I really consider myself married to the Presidential office.” She refers to her old relationship with Andrew and how she is in a new type of marriage now. It does make sense to refer to her job this way since often people will remark that they feel they are married to their job, too. 

— Catherine: “I’m not going to sacrifice my morals for her career anymore.” She refuses to eat the chicken that her parents have just prepared when talking to Amy and feels that she should be able to make her own choices. It is very brave for her stand up to her parents like this, especially with her mother having so much power and attention on her. 

— Dan: “All of your worst fears about how this day could have possibly gone have come true.” It becomes evident to Selina just how badly the interview is going after a brief conference with Dan. While they all expected it to be an easy PR move, it turned out to be a disaster.

— Andrew: “Perhaps it’s possible that I have overplayed my hand.” Yes, claiming that you have complete access to the Vice President’s office would be overplaying your hand, Andrew. Good call!

— In a very real and aggressive moment, we see Amy yelling at the producer, “You do not know anything about me. You think this is easy? What I do? Having 1000 interests screaming in your f’ing face the way I am screaming in your f’ing face right now all day every day. I am f’ing good at this.” You go, Amy! Great to see her sticking up for herself.

— Mike: “Antique windows, bring it down.” After Amy’s wild outburst, Mike comments on the fragile windows joking about how she could shatter the windows with the volume of her screaming.

Rating
9.0

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