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Veep – It’s all about the crying game

Veep asks the question: Can a female politician express true emotion? The answer: I dunno?

- Season 1, Episode 8 - "Tears"

We’ve finally come to the end of what was a pretty funny season of television, occasionally insightful, often eye rolling, but in general a good portrayal of the nonsense in Washington.

The primary plot running through this episode was the planned endorsement for Congressman Furlong by VP Selina. With new poll numbers for the Veep in “the crapper” (direct quote), around 33% (which is terrible for any politician), Furlong no longer wanted the now toxic endorsement. It’s not helped by Furlong’s slightly amusing offensive and rude words and behavior. Confronting Selina leads to the Veep rambling incoherently before bursting unexpectedly into what seems like real tears. At first I thought it was all an act, but I was quite wrong.

It’s a bit odd and out of character for Selina to be so emotional not just once, but THREE times in one day, even with the difficulties she’s been experiencing. Over the course of an episode, we saw tears portrayed alternatively as humanizing, infantilizing, feminizing, eroticizing, and simultaneously portrayed as “crazy” or “passionate.” This is the dangerous paradox of the emotional politician — can there be success and also be “real?” The answer is no, but this episode only slightly addressed that false dichotomy.

There was some fascinating manipulation, even if it was a bit unbelievable, when Mike and Amy got a reporter interviewing Selina to get her to cry on camera, partially by bringing up Selina’s potential VP replacement. A bit odd that the reporter would agree, but even ODDER that she later outed the scheme on Twitter. And NOT anonymously (I might believe that one). Good luck getting any interviews in DC again.

There were a couple of quite funny moments. Like how a platinum donor at a fundraiser in Ohio couldn’t stop talking nonsense about his tax reform ideas with the word “grabber” repeated over and over. And, the way Furlong kept going back and forth on his endorsement request as Selina got emotional on stage or started killing it with the audience. In the meantime, Dan consulted with a lawyer about a congressional hearing about that problematic bill. More on that boring bill. Not the most interesting part of the show, just like in real life. The season ended reflecting on the interminable potential length of Selina’s career and how it won’t get any easier.

The show has a lot of room to get better. It’s been picked up for a second season, so I hope to see something a bit more than silliness next time around.

Some amusing out of context quotes:

  • “The thing about Ohio is that the weather’s schizophrenic — you’re either freezing like a popsicle or sweating like a hog. Or ballerina or modern dancer.” — Gary
  • “Collins is back. He’s been un-reassigned. It’s not great, admittedly.” — Mike
    “Not great, admittedly. That should the title of my f***ing memoir.” — Selina
  • “You know, golf. Men walking around with sticks talking about their careers.” — Selina
  • I’m sorry about your tears. They suck.” — Mike
  • “You know those dreams where your football coach is screaming at you, and you look down and you’re dressed like Shirley Temple and your teeth fall out? That’s like a Disney version of a Congressional Committee.” — Somewhat Helpful Lawyer


Photo Credit: HBO

Categories: | Episode Reviews | Features | General | News | TV Shows | Veep |

One Response to “Veep – It’s all about the crying game”

June 11, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I caught this last night for the first time. (it followed True Blood) I liked it and I think I will catch up on the previous shows. I do love Julia Louis Dreyfus but just didn’t make the effort earlier in the season. Sunday nights are crowded even with a DVR!

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