Review: Selina heads to ‘Camp David’ on another riotous ‘Veep’

Senior Television Writer
06.12.16 18 Comments

A quick review of tonight's Veep coming up just as soon as you surround me with trees to make me look human-sized…

Veep is having one of its strongest seasons at an age when most sitcoms are just trying to find subtle variations on things they've done a half-dozen times before. Some of this is a credit to the decision to have Selina ascend to the presidency, as the new job (plus the campaign to be elected to the position) has shaken up a lot of the show's power and character dynamics. But it's also a credit to adding Kevin Dunn, Gary Cole, and Sam Richardson to the ensemble, and to the ever-expanding collection of brilliant recurring players, which means the show can keep rotating and rotating through different character combinations without ever feeling tired.

So a lot of what made “Camp David” fun was the return of Sally Phillips as Minna Häkkinen, whose dry delivery makes it impossible to tell in any given moment (say, when she asks Selina if she has a narrow vagina) whether she's insulting the title character or just being incredibly factual and logical to a Kent-like level. Phillips and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play off each other beautifully, particularly in the scene where Minna thinks they're discussing “Selina” (really, Marjorie in the regifted robe) making out with Catherine, while Selina thinks they're talking about Catherine informing the Chinese president of her raw veganism. (Selina: “How could I have stopped her? I had to let her finish. You're a mother. you've got a son. I'm sure you've done it before.”  Minna: “It happens occasionally in Iceland, but there it's just an accident.”) And when you throw Minna into a situation that also features Catherine, Marjorie, Andrew, and half of the regular cast, mostly confined to cramped living spaces, you have endless opportunity for new and unexpected jokes. (Mike's downward spiral with the nicotine gum nicely intertwined with his discovery that he's about to have three babies at once; he's going to need a lot of smoke breaks soon.)

For that matter, Jonah's inability to let go of his childhood resentment of Mrs. Sherman is the comic gift that keeps on giving, starting here with his meltdown when his “apple for the teacher” debate stunt didn't go as planned. (Selina: “He looked like Ike Turner handing Tina a snack!”) And Jonah's Uncle Jeff is such a loathsome character even by Veep standards that it's great fun to see someone like Dan realize the depths of the person in whom they've entrusted their faith: in the scene where Jeff asks if Amy chokes for Coke, Reid Scott's half-disgusted, half-amused delivery of “You should ask her” is maybe my favorite moment he's ever had on this show.

With Jonah winning the election (and immediately turning his acceptance speech into the start of a Jonah Ryan Revenge Tour) and Selina freeing Tibet (only not exactly), things seem to be lining up nicely for her to hold onto the presidency, though I'm sure there will be several more catastrophes along the way (possibly involving Ohio and/or North Carolina, which now won't get those Chinese plants), but with Tom James seemingly removed as a threat, the only two ways the show can go is to have Selina win, or to have the rest of the series deal with her life after politics. And the latter seems more like a one-season idea, at best.

What did everybody else think? And what are you hoping for out of the season's final two episodes?

Around The Web