Matt Smith reviews episode five of Veep season 3…
In the world of politics, things happen very fast. This is what Veep has been saying since day one, with its fast paced line delivery and constantly shifting situations building a perfect example of farce. This week is another week where Meyer tries her best to build herself up and, ultimately because of herself, is pulled back down to be ‘only’ Vice-President.
Episode five begins where the previous left off, with Meyer prepping her team for her push for Presidency. She has a room full of busy bees, meetings with other candidates and secret meetings with people telling her she should fire her entire staff.
Meanwhile, Dan and Amy constantly try and one-up each other in their bids for campaign manager, Mike is working his work schedule around attempts to have a baby through IVF and Gary is still struggling with a combination of bad shoulder and heavy bag.
This week once again carries on where previous left off with some more good repartee between characters vying for each other’s throats and support at the same time. Jonah is rehired to seemingly be the butt of jokes once again. Unfortunately it’s a situation that seems forced, a way to keep a great character in the show when the writers have put him into a place where he’s unemployable except for this one little Deus ex Machina in the form of powerful family.
There’s also a very awkward, inexplicable scene between Selina and Dan at the end of the episode that could lead to somewhere. But this somewhere could be one farcical step too far, a way to create another situation that seems too out there to actually be funny no matter how well it’s acted out.
No matter the negatives, the positives also stand out. The discovery of what Mike uses his bag for, at first creeping out as one person discovers then Mike shooting himself in the foot and revealing to everyone, is very amusing and casts Mike yet again as the hapless, sad dog Matt Walsh seems perfect to play. And the reintroduction of Jonah Ryan shows that, even if the reintroduction is a little shaky, the producers know Jonah is one of the main reasons people tune in to watch the show.
In the world of Veep, where everyone would happily sell their mother, stab their friend in the back and ignore all principles to get a promotion, it’s almost a nice feeling to get a ‘nice but dim’ perspective of Selina Meyer’s team. Like Jonah’s hiring, but to a lesser extent, this feeling does seem a little more than coincidental, as everyone is due for firing. After all the selfish moments we’ve had with all the characters (Amy and Dan trying to screw each other over and Mike pretending he owns a dog to get out of work comes to mind), now we see Mike trying to have a baby, Dan having a near-breakdown in his attempt to be nice, Amy left to drift at sea and Gary putting his health at risk, all under the oppression of Selina Meyer.
Seemingly more focused on situation comedy than political satire at times, Veep verges on the clichéd but with great writing of dialogue as everything that could go wrong does go wrong. It’s fantastic to watch at times, but feels a bit emptier than it could be. True connection with the characters could be reached if the show made better headway when it comes to true character depth. But I suppose that’s the point.
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