Review: Selina prepares for the death of her mother in a wonderful ‘Veep’

alan-sepinwall
Senior Television Writer
05.15.16 23 Comments

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A quick review of tonight's Veep coming up just as soon as I play that Tim McGraw song you like…

Though the characters on Veep are usually vapid, soulless, and smart only in the creativity of their insults(*), the show occasionally allows them moments of real depth and humanity. Those scenes – say, Gary reminding Selina of how much he actually does for her – can't come too often, or they'd lose their value, but they're often my favorite parts of any given episode or season, and “Mother” was no exception. 

(*) Amy apologizes to a stranger for her cursing by explaining, “That's the way we talk in the White House. I don't even notice anymore.”

This was another Julia Louis-Dreyfus tour de force, and what made the episode so interesting was that it never really softened Selina as she was dealing with her mother's impending death. By explaining how difficult their relationship was, it not only gave us a better sense of why she's always been so awful to Catherine, but gave her license to be relative unmoved by her mom's condition. This was simultaneously Selina at her least and most human, caring – and eventually crying – much more about the recount results than having to pull the plug on her mother, but also wrestling with how terribly her mom had treated her over the years, and how distant she felt from her.

The whole thing was uncomfortable, difficult, and very very funny.

What did everybody else think?

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Alan Sepinwall has been writing about television since the mid-'90s. He's the author of "The Revolution Was Televised," about the rise of TV's new golden age, and co-author of "TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time."

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