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Veep – Helsinki Review: Awkward Moments and Uncomfortable Quotes

In the fifth episode of Veep, we see the staff headed to Finland for trade negotiations, hoping to avoid the drama that was recently caused by the song that Selina sang at the Vic Allen dinner. As a reminder, Selina sang a modified version of "50 Ways to Leave Your Leave Your Lover," in which she poked fun at much of Europe. Dan and Amy take turns talking about the reception that it has been getting, and they are fearful for the consequences that might come from Selina's presence in Europe.

Selina meets the with Prime Minister of Finland, and much of the episode focuses on the two of them getting to know one another and Selina doing her duty as VP by meeting with other foreign leaders. Much to the surprise of Selina and her staff, the Prime Minister takes offense at the fact that they personally apologized to Finland for the song, assuring them that Finnish people are famous for their sense of humor. This is a relief for them and for audiences, but Dan subsequently has to apologize for his apology, and finds himself mocked for the way that he does it. Dan seems to be apologizing throughout the episode and in such a way that causes great annoyance to him and to viewers like myself. In a very telling statement, Selina tells him (out of anger) that he has nothing to worry about and that she is the one in trouble. In a weird press conference type encounter with a lot of press present, the Vice President and Prime Minister each present gifts to one another, things that are supposedly representative of their respective countries. Selina presents the Prime Minister a gift about fishing, telling her that she can go fishing when she comes to America, and in exchange, the Prime Minister gives her a clock with the logo of the "Angry Birds" game on it. "Angry Birds" is the game popularized on cell phones that was apparently invented in Finland and the Prime Minister seems quite proud of this fact, saying that the game is an important Finnish export. This seems like a very odd gift, and Selina decides to play it off wonderfully by addressing the use of violence in the game and saying how violence in videogames can be a problem, but with this one it is okay.


More humor and awkwardness ensues when Selina is introduced to the Prime Minister's husband, played by Dave Foley, complete with a weird and out of place Finnish accent. He seems to flirt with Selina a little and steps outside with her to smoke a cigarette, a habit that she has picked up while in Europe (a habit of which Gary does not approve, since Finnish people are very anti-smoking. What happens from there becomes a scandal; Selina immediately tells Gary about the scandal, but doesn't want anyone else to know about it. It seems that the Prime Minister's husband grabbed Selina's breast in a very awkward fashion, and not accidentally. Selina immediately goes inside and proceeds to tell Gary: "he just squeezed my tit like a balloon." In a nice pop culture reference (those are so much fun to see on the show), Gary compares him to a Disney villain, disgusted at what he has just done to Selina. Julia Louis Dreyfus continues to illustrate her usual type of humor with lines like this. There were plenty of quotes throughout this episode that were sarcastic and inappropriate, yet funny at the same time.

Meanwhile, back home in Washington DC, we find out that one of the hostages that were rescued in the earlier episode, Hostages, actually was a spy. This is news that the President kept from Congress and from the Vice President, but Selina must still take the fall for the situation, even though she's in Finland. Mike informs Amy of this situation and she has to relay the message to Selina, while playing the eye of Sauron (according to Kent) in an attempt to direct the attention towards Selina and away from the President. While this episode certainly features many dramatic events happening to the Vice President on her trip, there are also much more sarcastic quotes and insults than normal. I like the humor on this show a lot, but it does get a bit over the top with some of the things Selina and company say, including a moment when Mike went to call Jonah for advice, and we see that he has his number voice activated by "Call dick," showing the dislike that he has for Jonah and also his immaturity, especially when he is need of Jonah's help.

Everyone in this episode seems to be out of their element, performing roles that are unfamiliar to them. Mike has mistakenly been assigned to Ken's voting analysis project, a role that he struggles with greatly, and he even has to ask Jonah for help. When we first see Jonah, he is simply on his couch in sweatpants, obviously not the same person that he was after being thrown off of Air Force Two in the previous episode. Dan is also temporarily filling in as Communications Director, while Mike is back at the White House, where his aggressive personality seems to be a bad fit for the position, causing frustration. While working with and advising Mike, Jonah accidentally sends out an important document that indicates certain statements by the President regarding the hostages could end up coming back to haunt the Administration. It seems that drama just surrounds the characters on this show and they are not able to escape it.

We have now hit the halfway point in the second season of Veep, and with several story-lines brewing utilizing multiple members of the cast, it will be interesting to see where the rest of the season takes us. Julia Louis Dreyfus plays the part well as usual, and in a very raw moment at the end as she sits in a provocative position, she tells Amy about how she doesn't want Kent to find out about what happened "because he is a man and this is a man's world we're living in." Selina obviously has problems with the men on her staff and shows her disgust with the President in certain moments in this episode as well. I find it interesting how Selina and the rest of the characters never refer to the President by name, either out of disrespect to him or simply to keep the attention on her, ensuring that she is the most important character on the show.

Thoughts and Quotes

-- Jonah: "Holy S**t Grandpa. You probably still get your porn from magazines." A great way to insult Mike and his incompetency when it comes to technical things in the office.

-- Selina: "Don't make any jokes, okay Dan? Because with your face, when you attempt to be charming, it really does come off as...evil." Awkward...

-- Jonah: "Why do you hate numbers so much? You weren't raped by your math teacher were you?" Oh, Jonah...

-- Mike: "Christ, I hate knowledge."

-- Selina: "Europe used to be my favorite continent. Now it's not even in my top five." Really, Selina? Your favorite? You mean North America, home of the country you are helping to govern, isn't even your favorite continent? This quote really baffles me, but then again people on this show just say some crazy things sometimes.

-- Selina: “What are you bitching about? Get it together, lady!” She yells this at Dan for complaining about having to apologize too much, making it clear that she is the one with the problems.

-- Amy: “Your tit being fondled by a Finn? It would be all you’re remembered for.” Amy expresses her concern and their need to keep this event a secret in a less than sympathetic way.

-- Gary: "He looks like a Disney villain." I love this quote. The subtle jokes like this one from Gary are part of what make his character so loveable and a treat to watch. Everyone who knows him from Arrested Development clearly knows what I am talking about, too.

-- Dan: "You're a long way from home, mate. Sure that's the line of questioning you want to take?" Dan's aggressive personality got the best of him with a reporter following an interview.



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