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Veep's premiere gives the fans exactly what they want: New. Selina Now

Photo: Colleen Hayes (HBO)
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Veep has been off
the air for the better part of two years. When we left Selina (Julia
Louis-Dreyfus) and company, she was planning her re-entry into the political
sphere, having decided to run for president again. It was disappointing, if not
unexpected, at the time. What a candidate could overcome the criminal charges and
Scandals Selina had faced in her recent history? Sure it'd be entertaining, but
It stretched credulity, even more than Jonah's (Timothy Simons) hopefully
doomed run Oh, what a difference two years make. Now, Selina is running again
feels natural and appropriate, her scandals are easily overwhelming or distracted
from The only question is how much comedy showrunner David Mandel and the rest
of the Veep team can wring out this
familiar ground.

The answer, at least in the premiere, is plenty. From the
very first scene, the cast is in fine form, dialogue zipping back and forth, a
reminder of how great the whole ensemble is, as well as the writers,
editors, and director Mandel. It's comfortable and terrible and hilarious, and
It feels like absolutely no time has passed. Selina's campaign is off to a
rocky start, or it would be, if she could manage to announce her candidacy. Compared
to Jonah, though, she's sitting pretty. While Selina is stumbling out of the
gate in Iowa, Jonah is in New Hampshire, embroiled in an incest scandal. Jonah
has reunited with and married his ex-step-sister-a fact none of his team
managed to catch, for understandable reasons, and their previous connection has leaked
to the press. The premiere is hops back and forth between both campaigns as Selina
tries to decide why she wants to be president, Jonah refuses to deal with his
animosity towards his seemingly kindly ex-step-father (John Carroll Lynch), and
Both teams struggle to wrangle their hard and demanding candidates.

While Ben (Kevin Dunn), Kent (Gary Cole), Bill (Diedrich
Bader), and Teddy (Patton Oswalt) withstand verbal abuse and extreme
frustration trying to manage Selina and Jonah, Amy (Anna Chlumsky) is
deciding whether to have Dan's (Reid Scott) baby or get an abortion. She claims
she's ready to single parent, but her actions say otherwise. She'd like to dan it
step up, but he's not interested in being a parent and his request that she "hit
[him] up is Venmo "for his part of the cost of the abortion is indicative enough
That she should be running far, far away instead of desperately hoping he'll
come around Chlumsky is always terrific on Veep ,
but this storyline gives her even more to play with than usual and watching her
pivot amy back and forth between clever and cool in her work life and

Photo: Colleen Hayes (HBO)

"Iowa" is well-balanced, finding time for each of the large
The ensemble to shine, but the very best moments are Selina's. Seemingly stumped is
the question of why she wants to be president, Selina is asked by Marjorie (Clea Duvall), Amy, and
Gary (Tony Hale) why they would want the job. She opens up her motivations later in
her hotel room, after Gary takes her laptop and starts transcribing for her as
she spitballs Louis-Dreyfus builds momentum through the scene as Selina stops mincing
her words, eventually letting loose a torrent of entitlement and spite. It's
her turn; America owes her, and this time, she wants a war. With only Gary in
the room, Selina knows she can be honest, and the words that tumble out are not
revelatory (other than the war, which seems to surprise even her). They're
heartfelt and delicious, and Louis-Dreyfus revels in each of them. And Selina
knows she can not say them publicly, so as soon as she's expelled them and purged
The frustration that's been building every time Leon (Brian Huskey) asks her why
she's running, she exhales, centers herself, and setttles for giving Americans a
better deal or some fucking crap like that ", a delightful bit of shade from the
Veep writers to the DNC. It's a great
The moment and the one that sets the tone for the whole season.

The political landscape has shifted dramatically since Veep began. Earlier seasons of
The show feels cutting and barbed, exaggerating the extremes of the political
world for satirical effect, but the real world of American politics has made itself
impossible to parody (Events that seemed comedically outlandish in the previous
seasons of veep have actually
happened.) The writers wisely do not even try, focusing instead on staying true
to the characters and the world they've built. The glimmers of humanity that
once softened by Selina's killer political instits have been all but snuffed out,
and that hardening, rather than the softening that usually accompanies a comedy
This late in its run speaks to a harsher, more divided political atmosphere. Selina's
back and she's as terrible as ever, and that's exactly why she's
still has a good shot of making it back to the White House. Everyone and
everything is broken. Take a swig of Ben's go juice, sit back, and enjoy the

Photo: Colleen Hayes (HBO)

Stray observations

  • Welcome back to The
    A.V. Club
    's coverage of Veep ! It's
    been too long.
  • The premiere only gets better with multiple viewsings and a
    big reason why is because each cast member is on their A-game, constantly
    reacting to all the action within a given scene, not just the character
    furthering the plot. Tony Hale's look at Brian Huskey in the first scene when
    Leon calls Selina "Mommy" is amazing, for one, and I love that Ben really wants a copy of Amy's analysis of the previous campaign.
  • Another reason to rewatch is the premiere's running dialogue
    gags The writers fit in "New. Selina Now "in various entertaining ways, the
    best being Selina's angry storm back to her plane, and Richard's (Sam
    Richardson) The delight at the number 1
    1 only gets funnier with each mention.
  • Making Mike (Matt Walsh) part of the press corps following
    Selina is a great move. He's from Leon, but based on his track record, he'll
    Stumble upon something big before too long.
  • I was a leery of the writers bringing back Teddy, after the
    resolution of Jonah's sexual assault storyline, but the premiere won me over by
    drawing attention to, rather than ignoring, Jonah and Teddy's history.
  • Oh dear. Not unlike Selina, I seem to have forgotten about
    Catherine (Sarah Sutherland), Marjorie, and Little Richard. I did
    Not expect Clea Duvall to have such a significant presence, which was welcome
    surprise She continues to crush Marjorie's deadpan delivery, and Sarah
    Sutherland continues to commit fully to Catherine's emotional struggles and ugly
  • Veep has built up
    a ridiculous guest cast over its run. If
    The premiere is any indication, we can expect to see many familiar faces as
    it heads towards its series finale. This episode, which includes Margaret Colin,
    Paul Scheer, and of course, Hugh Laurie.
  • Veep
    Interstitial scoring is great, as usual, and I also want to single out the
    costuming Everyone looks fabulous (or appropriately not-fabulous), and putting
    Louis-Dreyfus in that striking red dress for the first half of the episode,
    while everyone else is in blues and grays, works really well. It not only keeps
    The viewers' eyes are Selina, it feels like a character point. Amy does not know that
    wear red, because that's Selina's color.

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