Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 2, Episode 3 of HBO's "Veep," titled "Hostages."
The action of this evening's episode centered on a hostage situation (the who, what, where was unclear) that Selina adopts as her cause du jour. To bring the issue to the attention of the president, she takes the matter to Kent, an increasingly peculiar Type-A gnome rarely seen outside his windowless office. In order to advise Selina as to how she should address the hostage situation, he must first slap Jonah around, requesting his "cerise-colored" folder. Jonah fails, procuring instead his cherry red folder and prompting ridicule by all. Anyway, the whole exercise is moot because Kent will not allow action to be taken until a majority percentage of Americans approve of the mission even with casualties. To demonstrate, Kent explains pedantically, infuriatingly deliberately that, like his noodles that need to be heated at just the correct temperature for just the right amount of time, the hostage situation requires *ding* precision timing. And yes, he timed out that "whole shit analogy" for the little ding of his microwave oven.
The plot splits as we follow the veep to Quantico to visit with Marines with whom she engages in devastating small talk ("You have a nice face"), while Sue (Sue!) attends a Government Efficiency hearing for which her only instructions are to "keep it dull" so as not to detract attention from Selina's noble quest.
Tensions run high between Selina and Secretary of Defense George Maddox, who also visits the base. Thankfully, the Gods of Season 2 actually allow for some Veep Victories and she succeeds in winning the hearts of every post-traumatically stressed soldier and colonel (I'm not totally sure how the Marines works) when she fires a large gun and exclaims, "Jesus fucking Christ!" A sailor's vocab that woman in office has!
Anyhow, earlier in the episode we watch Amy, Mike and Dan trying to think of adjectives to describe the type of response the US will take in the crisis. "Calculated" was suggested, but it is way too "pussy ass" to actually say to a gathering of troops. The team settles on "robust." Sue hears this discussion and causes a Washington media field day (which is just a regular day for the rest of the world ... zing!) when she repeatedly uses the word in her testimony.
Obviously, Sue's co-opting of the R-word steals Selina's thunder when she finally gets to hurl them fightin' words at 100 camo-clad Americans, and Selina dedicates herself to taking back the news cycle. VP asks Mike: "Stick a thermometer up Washington's ass; see how much heat I created." The truth? Not so much, as demonstrated by Dan's silly little word cloud: "Robust" and "Sue" are big, but "Selina" is very, very small. And thus, cyber culture makes its first appearance in the White House since Alec Ross left -- hip and relevant!
Eventually, Kent gives the go ahead for the hostage rescue mission and it's up to Selina to choose a date. She calls Cliff, Sue's inept temporary replacement, to check her calendar for a potential strike date (January 6th). Cliff says it's clear save Sue's follow-up hearing. Selina is a cold-hearted witch, so she schedules the mission for that day to detract press attention. Obviously, Cliff's brain is full of Jell-O, and he forgets to tell Selina that she also has to swear in 33 senators on this same date.
Cut to: the 6th! The big day! Selina is obviously totally distracted and has unbearable small talk with a slew of senators and their grinning families. Meanwhile, Maddox sits in the Situation Room with the president and other VIPs, monitoring the mission. When the time comes for the raid, Selina runs to her private room (deemed, mildly aggressively, the Shituation Room) with a video link to the real Sit Room to watch. When the news comes in that the mission is successful, 100 percent honest, she seemed moved with patriotism, and so was I kinda. It was just so exciting! Beating evil! Selina emerging victorious! USA! USA!
But we cannot celebrate forever, for the wicked winds of fate unfailingly blow the scent of poo in Selina's direction. A Marine, set to honorably complete service just two days after the mission, loses a leg just above the knee in the mission. She is really sad about it. But Gary gets her a mocha and a large almond croissant to curl up into, and the credits drown out her frown-y face for one more week.
Overall: full of LOLs, and I applaud the show for imbuing Selina (we haven't quite gotten to the rest of the characters) with some pathos.Other takeaways:
- VP stands for "Very precious"
- Semper "fee"
- The White House would work so much better if there weren't a president. Politics!
- "This is like explaining gravity to a chicken."
- VEEPtionary addition: Procrasterbate, v. A funky portmanteau of procrastinate and masturbate.
Follow Joanna Rothkopf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joannarothkopf