Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Veep 6x05 Recap: "Chicklet" (Wax On, Wax Off) [Contributor: Erin Allen]


Original Airdate: May 14, 2017

I would bet money that Veep submits "Chicklet" for Emmy consideration for Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She just blows Selina’s psychotic breakdown out of the water. It is amazing to watch.

As we’ve seen is all too true in reality, mental lapses that political figures have don’t keep them from pushing their agendas. Selina begins the episode in an “everything sucks” depression. Along the way, she learns some information that would shake anyone — her father whom she put on a pedestal is not the man she thought, and the mother that she hated might’ve been a much better parent than she gave her credit for. By the end, she is back to being her self-serving self.

My favorite stage of this mental instability during this episode is the beginning depression. Louis-Dreyfus’ delivery of every word was brilliant. “Can nothing go right for me ever?” We all have had that thought when things are going badly. And things are really going badly for Selina. There’s no disputing that. Even her wax figure debut at Madame Tussauds is fraught with problems. “They have me next to Gerald Ford? Is this the Hall of Half-Term Wonders? Why do they even have a wax figure of Ford? The real one was made of wood.” Something pretty insignificant causes her to spiral out of control, and all Gary can do is make a strange whine/moan at her in response.

All this stress is aggravating her fragile heart condition, and everyone walks on eggshells around her while suggesting psychological help. Unaware of her current state of imbalance, Uncle George nonchalantly reveals the truth about some family secrets that are earth-shattering to Selina. She mixes alcohol with her craziness and destroys a barn, with the help of Mike who is trying to prolong their newfound friendship — which is as about as unstable as Selina’s sanity.

Mike and Selina bonding over her childhood memories — much to Gary’s dismay — was obviously going to be short-lived. I’m surprised it lasted the length of the 30 minute episode, to be honest.
Gary: Are you guys like besties now? 
Mike: She hasn’t yelled at me in, like, 24 hours. It’s weird. 
Gary: It is weird. 
It was as heartbreaking as it was hilarious when Selina recalled something her father said, and to think that she could apply it to her current life. “He said, ‘Squirrel, you’re an intense little girl, and now you finally have a friend.’” Her father was talking about Chicklet, the horse he bought her. I wonder if she had enough clarity to relate that to the “friends” she has now.

Speaking of her “friends,” their subplots were kind of all over the place. Although I adore the whole cast, I kind of just wanted more of insane Selina. Dan and Jonah’s stories are just more of the same of what we have seen all season. Dan is still having workplace woes and Jonah is still an idiot that Ben and Kent try to rein in. I did love the addition of Mary Holland as Shawnee, Sherman Tanz’s morally bankrupt daughter. Her reaction to Jonah is appropriate, even though she is a horrible person just like Jonah. “What are you? A monster? If you kill them they can’t get arrested again. That’s how we make our money.” Ben and Kent have their work cut out for them with Shawnee in Jonah’s head. “Well, the female form is a formidable adversary.”

Marjorie and Catherine have set their sights on Richard for their sperm donor since Dan was not a viable candidate. I love this idea and I hope it takes. Richard’s cluelessness about his part of the donation is so adorable and funny. His sweet, innocent questions had me cracking up. “Does it hurt? How will I know when I’m done?”  

Despite the episode starting out with everything going wrong for Selina, she ends up smelling like a rose. She has found the location of her library, poaching it from rightful inheritor, Catherine, and Tanz is in for the financing since he poached Selina’s letter of recommendation for his child’s school from Mike. Her wax doppelganger is now safe, encased in glass, so tourists are unable to act out obscene scenarios with it. She might even have an angle for her book: “The gifted girl who triumphed over her parent’s toxic marriage to become an American icon.”

Stray Observations: 
  • “American University sounds like a made up college in Egypt.”
  • “Get this t-shirt off of me. I look like a I’m trying out for The Price is Right.” She really does. LOL.
  • “I thought that was Craig T. Nelson.”
  • One of Richard’s hereditary issues involves butterscotch. No, he’s not allergic. “My father and I both hate eating butterscotch, but love to say it. Butterscotch.”
  • Kent’s look of disgust when Ben suggests he like Sudoku is great. “I don’t like that.” 
  • Marjorie in her “athleisure wear” is delightful. “That’s not a word, Marjorie.” Whenever some semblance of a personality comes out of her it’s jarring and unexpected, but always funny. 
  • “My grandma always said that self-pleasure was a sin, like microwaves and laughter.”  
  • Richard: Third vote. Selina: Nay. Richard: But it’s for discounted prescriptions for the elderly. Selina. Oh. Selina: Nay.  (Why do I think this is an accurate representation of how some members of Congress operate?)
  • “Catherine, is their any parade you don’t rain on?”


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