Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Veep 6x01 Recap: "Omaha" (How The Mighty Have Fallen) [Contributor: Erin Allen]

Original Airdate: April 16, 2017

The season six premiere of Veep was as sharp as ever. A year has passed since Selina Meyer lost the presidency in the historic House vote, and this episode catches us up on what the gang has been doing. While it is all very expositional, the fast-paced witticism makes it feel like anything but. All the characters we love and love to hate are back in all their vulgar glory. Except Sue. Man, do I miss Sue.

Selina makes her first public appearance since she handed the reigns over to Laura Montez. I wonder if the whole country is pronouncing it L-OW-RAH. Dan — or Danny, as he is unfortunately referred — is lucky enough to interview her for CBS This Morning. She fakes nice and happy as Gary scoffs behind the camera, still bitter about her fall from grace. “Look, I don’t have grace. I don’t want grace. I don’t even say grace.” There’s a little Elaine nugget for you Seinfeld fans.

Being an ex-President is a busy job apparently, or that’s what the Meyer camp would like people to think. She is writing her memoir which she feels is “a debt a president owes to history,” and she has set up The Meyer Fund that raises money for adult literacy. And AIDS. And possibly another fun cause, like stuttering, in the future. Selina is grasping at straws, trying to stay relevant.

Amy is far removed from Washington, running a gubernatorial campaign for Buddy Calhoun in Nevada (NE-VAH-DA?). Calhoun is also her fiance, which is just disappointing and repulsive. I want so much more for Amy. She still has her acerbic attitude and biting remarks which is shaking up the country bumpkins that make up his team, calling one lady who is dressed in purple, “purple mountain’s majesty,” and starting a smear campaign against the opponent’s wife. “We are going to drag this state into the twentieth century. That’s right, I said twentieth.”

Ben has taken a stint at Uber, and looks so tragically out of place. His politically incorrect humor doesn’t go over well, and he doesn’t speak with the aid of technology or what he calls “a slideshow thingy.”

We first see Jonah giving an impassioned speech to Congress against a healthy lunch act. “When I was a kid I ate sloppy joes. Pizza on a bagel. The only green bean I ate was a green jelly bean, and I grew up so tall that my stupid mom had to get a different car.” They cut to show that he is speaking to an almost empty room and the C-SPAN camera cuts off most of his head. “I will fight against green beans the same way I fought against this deadly disease called cancer. For the children.” Last season Jonah was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and we see that he is completely bald now as a result of treatment.

With his attack on green beans, Jonah has made an enemy in Congressman Furlong whose district’s chief agricultural product is the green bean. Furlong slings the raunchiest insults on the series, and it seems Jonah will frequently be on the receiving end of those this season. However, Jonah has Kent Davison on his team, and we find out that Ben will join them when things predictably don’t work out at Uber. This should make for some hilarious sparring in the episodes to come.

Mike is overwhelmed at home with three kids, but too stupid to realize or care that he is overwhelmed. He has been providing information that he has in his press secretary diary to Selina for her book. His wife forces him to demand that that “help” turn into a job, and he finds himself back with Selina in a similar capacity as before, but without any pay. “You get paid when the book is finished.” What’s the timeline for that?” “I don’t know.” Yeah, good luck with that, Mike.

Richard has remained by Selina’s side since her presidency ended. In the last season finale, the two shared her final night in the White House together. I’m really glad he is her right-hand man. I miss Amy in that role, but Richard is a great replacement.

Unfortunately, her ex-husband, Andrew, is on her team, too. And they are dating? Gary’s face is my reaction to this: disappointment and disgust. Andrew is the worst. He is doing something for The Meyer Fund, but I don’t think anyone really knows what that is. He also gets a finder’s fee for Selina’s speaking engagements. “What do you find?” Selina asks him. “Besides the most beautiful woman in the world?” Flattery gets you everywhere with Selina (unless you are Gary), and Andrew knows this.

The Meyer Fund gets its operating money from Catherine and her inheritance. Catherine’s partner and Selina’s former secret service guard, Marjorie, runs the charitable foundation. Marjorie is just as humorless as ever and it is still just as funny. “I didn’t know you were going to give me AIDS.” Selina and Gary laugh as if she made a joke, but she looks at them deadpan. When Catherine comes in, Marjorie tells her “I have AIDS now.” Catherine laughs and Selina and Gary are so confused. “It’s her delivery or something.” Clea DuVall’s delivery of straitlaced Marjorie killed me last season, and it looks like that hasn’t changed.

Finding worthy speaking engagements is proving harder than Selina expected, running into sexism along the way. The National Auto Dealers offered her half what they had for Hughes. “I will not work for less than 87 cents on the dollar. And tell them I’ll stand in front of a glass podium and wear a short skirt.”

The season picks up after a long year for Selina which included a break at a “spa.” Catherine mentions that it was good to see her making public appearances instead of sitting in her bathrobe with Gary. Gary continues to be her faithful, put-upon bag man. He is in heaven, or was in heaven — their bonding time is coming to an end as she reenters the political spotlight. She tells him a secret. He loves that he gets to hear a secret, but he does not love the content of this secret. Selina wants to run for president again. “I think you’re definitely ready for this. Are you sure you’re ready for this?” he says in the same breath.

Nobody reacts to this news very well. Catherine breaks down in ugly sobs. Ben says what I think we are all thinking: “I can’t watch you lose again.” It really was one nightmare after another with nothing ever working out for the Meyer team. But, it also was such a glorious spectacle, a hot mess that you couldn’t look away from. Whatever we are going to watch Selina and crew attempt this season will be great.

Stray Observations:
  • Selina refers to her time in the White House as the Meyer years, and Dan corrects her by saying “year.” I love how this throws her and she is on live television so she can’t get mad at him.
  • Mike is totally into Bubble Guppies. 
  • Furlong calls Jonah "Congressman Powder."
  • The Meyer Fund offices are in the South Bronx and it is not up to Selina’s high standards. Obviously, Gary agrees and commiserates with her. “We should be in the meatpacking district. So chic.”
  • Richard takes everything Selina says seriously and puts 110% into even the smallest of tasks. It doesn’t matter if Selina is being sarcastic, Richard will find out if she can host Showtime at the Apollo. (It’s a soft pass, by the way.) 


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