Veep: “Thanksgiving” Season 5 Episode 5 Review

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Coming off of last week’s stellar episode, Veep gives everyone something to do during a busy holiday-themed entry.

Last week’s “Mother” was easily the best episode of season 5 so far, so I knew that the following episode would have big shoes to fill. Sure, “Thanksgiving” wasn’t as monumental of an entry, but the writers chose the smart route of keeping everyone busy. The usual frenetic buzz of the hardworking Meyer staff is there, making for another wholly enjoyable outing.

As one could glean from the title, this episode centers around the Thanksgiving holiday and all the work that comes with it for Team Meyer. The President doesn’t really get the day off, but that’s just how she likes it. A brief opening scene with Catherine calls back to last week’s events, with Selina choosing to plow full steam ahead instead of dwell in everything that’s happened.

Of course, since the White House is quieter than usual, Selina also chooses this time to get an eye de-bagging surgery, making for the great visual sight-gag of her hiding out with two huge bruises under her eyes. Her scenes interacting with her staff and VP Doyle—and their subsequent reactions to her face—are funny enough, but the real meat of this plotline comes from her alone time with Gary, and her refusal to participate in any of the usual Thanksgiving traditions. Tony Hale and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have always been great together, and that’s particularly evident here.

Still, Selina’s eye surgery is only one small part of “Thanksgiving.” While she’s recovering, Ben, Mike, and Kent scuffle around trying to deal with the PR damage of a major salmonella outbreak from a batch of diseased turkeys, especially since the President is in no condition to make a public statement about it. The most interesting part of this plotline actually comes from Tom and Dan, who are teamed up to go on various news programs to calm everyone’s nerves about the outbreak. The fact that Dan essentially becomes Tom’s Gary—and then fully realizes it when he sees Gary holding a tray of coffee next to him—is fantastic, as is Dan’s sneaking suspicion that Tom is somehow in cahoots with lobbyist Sydney Purcell.

This last development brings Amy in, for a terrific scene during her family’s Thanksgiving dinner. They’ve hidden Amy’s phone and, of course, she’s miserable. Dan makes a house call to loop Amy in on his theory, and is hilariously interrupted by Amy’s father (a scene-stealing Jim O’Heir) who’s angry about Dan having slept with both of his daughters. Basically, if you’ve ever wanted to see Jerry from Parks and Rec get mad, this scene is a true delight.

The final plot point of the episode revolves around Jonah being told by his political strategist uncle (Ally McBeal‘s PeterMacNicol) that he is to run for congress in the wake of a congressman dying from the salmonella outbreak. The only issue is that Jonah is really being used as a patsy, since the congressman’s grieving widow will also be running. Jonah gets some great scenes at his home when he discovers the news, particularly in his interplay with Richard, but the best part of this story is Selina’s discovery of the news when she finally decides to make a public appearance aboard a naval ship carrier (with some large aviator sunglasses, of course). Her cheery disposition serving the troops a Thanksgiving dinner quickly sours into disgust. Team Meyer clearly doesn’t know how to celebrate this holiday, but their hectic work traditions are a joy in an of themselves. Grade: B+

 

Some Other Notes:

  • The one person who does celebrate Thanksgiving properly is Sue, who apparently is married and invited no one from work to the wedding. I love how casually she drops this information.
  • Mike and Wendy having a quickie in the hotel room of the infected turkeys was very amusing, as was his questions to the Surgeon General about whether or not he’ll get infected as a result.
  • I absolutely love the mini rivalry between Gary and Selina’s doctor.
  • Louis-Dreyfus’ delivery of “oh, domestic abuse jokes, they just tickle me!” before dropping her smile was perfect.
  • I am DYING to see the young Jonah photos that Richard gushes over.

 

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