Veep: “B/ill” Season 4 Episode 8 Review

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With only two episodes to go, Veep makes some leaps in plausibility, but the results appear to be worth it.

So it’s come to this. After spending most of the season dodging one scandal after the next, Selena and her team find themselves in the midst of a congressional hearing by the end of this week’s Veep. The majority of the hearing will take place during next week’s episode, but it’s nice to have a clear endgame in sight. That being said, in order to get to the hearing, the narrative takes some turns that seem a little unbelievable. Luckily, there’s more than enough fun to be had along the way.

With Selena’s Family First bill going to the floor for a vote, it’s all hands on deck for the team to make sure it doesn’t win. Yes, it seems after weeks of deliberation, Meyer & Co. have decided that the best option is to aim for defeat since the public backlash has been so negative. There’s a scene towards the end where Selena sits with Tom and laments having to shoot down her hard work. “I think this would actually make a difference,” she says. It’s a moment of real humanity for her, and it made me a little sad at the direction the show is taking. Still, such is the world of Veep. Dreams are crushed and souls are sold. Welcome to politics.

I should also probably mention that Selena is sick as a dog the entire episode. Julia Louis-Dreyfus—and the hair and makeup team that completed her look—sells it complete, and uses every opportunity she has to take advantage of physical comedy. Everything from Selena’s course yelling to her slips in an our of consciousness are absolutely hilarious and one of the highlights of the episode. Even at the end, when she’s given a B-12 shot so she can make a public announcement, she still uses an excellent nasally voice.

The main conflict that arises during the day of the vote is that Ben and Kent have each set in motion a plan to kill the bill. Kent has Jonah and Richard going to congress to tell them to vote for it, something he knows will go terribly. Ben, meanwhile, gets Gary to get Amy and Dan to lobby congress against it. When each team visits the same congressman, serious problems arise.

One of the best parts about this is Gary’s constant overreaction that he’s going to be implicated for setting up the meeting with Dan and Amy in the first place. Tony Hale has been doing fantastic work this season, and his frantic outbursts to Sue, Kent, and Ben were no exception.

Additionally, Jonah and Richard are, once again, one of the best pairings of the season, especially when they spar with Dan and Amy. Timothy Simons and Sam Richardson continue to have inimitable comedic chemistry, and their eagerness to be working for the President—even if they are just being used for their stupidity—is highly enjoyable.

The entire debacle ends up being a setup so that Congressman Pierce (the wonderful Paul Fitzgerald) can be persuaded to vote no on the bill. Because of this, there are unfortunately some moments that don’t seem to add up. Ana Chlumsky plays a more relaxed version of Amy excellently, but her lack of stress is puzzling considering the supposed stakes of the situation. In fact, her whole involvement in the situation doesn’t make sense. Why would Amy do anything for Selena after the way she left? For money? That doesn’t seem like a big enough draw.

Furthermore, the entire setup of the mistake—Ben thinking Kent’s “sur list” was actually a “sub list,”—seems way too easy. Characters on Veep have made some serious f*ckups before, but this just seems reckless and irresponsible. I do love watching Selena and her team scramble to pull everything together after screwing things up, but they’re not stupid. Only Jonah and Richard are.

Though this episode wasn’t on par with some of the better entries this season, it’s purpose is still vital. Next week will see the cast of Veep go in for a congressional hearing, the hilarity of which is unbelievably exciting to think about. Grade: B+

 

Some Other Notes:

– Selena’s voice memos—and how people use them for leverage—are hysterical.

– The running joke of Mike pretending not to hear what everyone else is talking about is great.

– Tom’s yell-speech to the rest of the staff is amazing, and I especially enjoyed when he called Ericsson a “1950s radio announcer.”

– Amy’s delivery of “unless it’s like biiiiiiitch” is fantastic, but is marred slightly when she later calls Selena a bitch with a straight face. Time has yet to heal this wound.

– Of all of Selena’s staff, Sue is the only one who is legally safe. She has been holding all the cards this whole time.

 

 

By Mike Papirmeister

 

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