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VEEP-Cap: Episode 30 ‘East Wing’

After last week‘s tumultuous turn of events surrounding her first speech to a joint session of Congress, Selina Meyer is making some serious strides so soon into her presidency. She might still have an uphill climb for that “Families First” bill which was omitted by accident from her speech, but while her domestic troubles are many, international relations seem to be right up her alley. This episode sees Selina & Co. hosting the Israeli Prime Minister and his wife at a White House summit and dinner, along with a small delegation of his own.

President Meyer has also officially outlasted the shortest serving president (William Henry Harrison) so that gives us, as viewers, a reference point for the timeframe of her own tenure. He lasted 32 days, so Meyer at 33 days has officially surpassed his very short record, and the in-show timeline is now just past a month from last season’s finale. That particular milestone also displays another glaring crack in the relationship between Selina and her Bag Man Gary (Tony Hale.) All of the preemptive moves he made for her while she was VP don’t seem to impress her in the least now that she’s reveling in political power.

Big Trouble In Little Garytown

Selina might not have been pleased in the end, but Gary’s unsanctioned string-pulling surrounding the State Dinner for Israel’s Prime Minister give us some wonderful scenes with guest star Michaela Watkins. She’s appearing this week as White House social secretary Patty, and as always, she’s a delight. If you’re not familiar with Michaela by name, you might recognize her runs on Saturday Night Live (“Biiiiiiiiitch, pleeze”), Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ The New Adventures of Old Christine, HBO‘s Enlightened, or her behind-the-scenes work on USA’s Benched, which she co-created and executive produced.

As Gary grows bolder to try and find something that will impress Selina and get him back in her good graces, he delivers news to Patty that a particular painting needs to be removed and the State Dinner table centerpieces need to “pop.” (“Pop?” “Pop.”) Turns out, the geometrically abstract painting that he had removed from the White House was the only piece of art by a Native American artist in the entire building. This, of course sets off a media firestorm for perceived insensitivity to the First Nations people. And who has to deal with all of those media questions? None other than the fire-mustachioed Mike McLintock. (His Just For Men dye shade is apparently “Dorito.”) While the media are digging into the painting story, they naturally catch wind of the excessive spending taking place for the State Dinner. Oh, Gary. You poor, poor chap.

Amy & Dan’s No Good, Horrible, Very Bad Day

Last week, when Bill Ericson (Diedrich Bader) showed up, he seemed to have Amy’s job in his sights. After all, he’s the most successful campaign manager in the country, and nobody needs to win the upcoming election more than President Meyer. When her (utterly inept) assistant Richard fails to get her to the White House in time for a campaign meeting, she arrives late and just in time to run into Bill in the White House. Turns out he’s taking on the role of Communications Director in the Meyer administration. Whether or not he can turn Mike into an effective Press Secretary remains to be seen. Hell, if he can make Mike even halfway decent at his job, I’d say that’s grounds for a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dan, meanwhile, has been trying to salvage support for the Families First bill and Vice President Doyle (vís-a-vís Patton Oswalt‘s Teddy) has insisted that Jonah join him in the meetings with the House Rules Committee members. This finagling also gives Teddy room to take his awkward crotch-tapping to hilariously skeezy new levels with Jonah. Dan and Jonah don’t end up achieving much of anything with the meetings, but he does at least get to troll Jonah with a brand new assistant. Since the woefully awful campaign assistant Richard has joined Amy, Dan suggests that he join the White House team as Jonah’s assistant.

The Fight

After the State Dinner, during which Selina learned just how far Gary had gone with his spender-bender and the press shitstorm that the painting caused, Selina finally confronts him, and things really blow up. To be honest, I thought we were going to see this play out for a few more episodes, but kudos to both Julia & Tony during the penultimate scene. Dreyfus brings all of Selina’s intense vanity to the forefront when she’s berating the flustered Gary. We’ve seen flashes of how little investment Selina has in those closest to her, including her daughter, and while it makes for hilarious dialogue, it’s a reminder that Meyer is an example of how not to respect the people around you. After a barrage of words are unleashed from both sides, peace resumes between them (though, with less grace than the peace talks she negotiated with the Prime Minister) and they bond over a light sponge cake emblazoned with none other than William Henry Harrison’s face on it.

Join us here next week and every week during the Veep season for another recap.

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