Rule of thumb: make sure you don’t have a porn parody site if you decide to run for President of the United States.
This week’s episode of Veep takes Selina and some of her crew to Silicon Valley to get cozy with the rich and powerful internet tycoons. It wouldn’t be Veep without a few verbal hiccups along the way, and there are some but, in my opinion, the main storyline takes a backseat to the story’s secondary plot.
The episode begins in Palo Alto, California where Selina has just finished giving a speech in Silicon Valley. While meeting and greeting locals, Selina has a run in with one stand-out woman named Cassie Langley, played by Lindsey Kraft. Meyer doesn’t immediately remember Langley despite the fact that she worked on her campaign.
Whoops. But luckily, Cassie isn’t there to reminisce about their first meeting. No, she takes issue with Selina’s current stance on environmental issues, given how she campaigned as being very pro-environment. The others take no time at all in getting Selina out of there before the fracking flip-flop flashback can go back even further.
Word spreads quickly, though. Back in D.C., Dan watches Danny Chung speak about Selina’s flip-flop. Worse than that, Jonah posted a story about it on his blog and he’s racking up hits as the story quickly goes viral.
With the day not going his way, Dan complains to Ben that night at a bar. He still believes he’ll make a great campaign manager if Selina picked him, but Ben tells him that such aspirations would mean getting down and dirty with anything he can get his hands on. For example: there’s word that, while in Iraq, Danny Chung and his unit got into some questionable behavior.
Though Dan has no way of proving it, that doesn’t mean he can’t casually let it drop in conversation during a poker game with Jonah and a few others.
The next day in California, the group is about to leave, but Gary is the last one ready after a man leaves his hotel room. All right, then.
They meet Clovis Chief Financial Officer Melissa Conners, played by Mary Grill, who lets them know that Craig would like to meet them.
We’re then introduced to Craig Jergensen, played by Tim Baltz, who gives Selina a smart watch. A smarch, if you will. It’s supposed to swap Clovis profiles, but when Craig and Selina shake hands, it doesn’t work. Selina takes it for a test run and tries to look up her campaign site, MeetMeyer.com, and she gets taken to Sea World’s home page. Meh. Close enough.
Jonah, meanwhile, is on the fence about going with the Danny Chung torture story since there’s no verification and no leads. However, he decides to go ahead and just put it out there in the hopes that it will catch fire. After all, that’s Journalism 101. I think I missed that class.
More testing with the smarch. Kent tries to look up MeetMeyer.com, but gets directed to MeatMeyer.com, a parody site. The group tries again, only this time they get MeatingMeyer.com, a porn site depicting Selina getting porked. Surprisingly, there’s no page that asks to verify your age before entering. What an open and welcome porn site.
When it’s time to talk business, Craig admits that he doesn’t follow politics all that much, until he brings up the repatriation tax. Clovis is very post tax. And he at least likes Selina’s initiative to put tablets in the classroom.
All of a sudden, Jonah’s blog post pops up and when Gary slips how Jonah is well known in D.C., Craig decides he wants to buy Ryantology. Way to go, Gary!
And when Jonah gets the news, he’s ecstatic, more so since, you know, just lost his job at the White House.
Melissa pulls Amy aside and tells her how much she admires her potential. She cuts to the chase and offers Amy a job at Clovis. The pay is no tiny sum, either, but Amy turns it down, saying that the life of a Clovis employee just isn’t for her. Kent doesn’t take the offer either, lucrative as it is.
Oh, and because this had a point, Gary addresses that he’s had great shoulder pain for the last few days, so he had a masseur come and give him a rubdown. That makes more sense.
When Selina finally gives her speech at Clovis, she does so in front of a word cloud containing many, well, words. Among them are “Danny Chung” and “torture.” When asked about the torture story, Selina, while refuting the claims, continues to use the words “Danny Chung” and “torture” over and over again.
As a result, as Dan lets her know, the media and everyone else believe the two are synonymous. Whoops.
Never mind, though, as Danny Chung speaks at a press conference and lets everyone know that documents reveal that the torture claims are bogus. Too bad, Jonah.
Appealing to high tech billionaires has proven to be a must for politicians. The most recent real life example that comes to mind is Rand Paul’s visit to Mark Zuckerburg and him signing the Facebook wall.
Again, I like when Veep can pull from real life examples and make comedic moments out of them, as with Selina almost signing her name under the likes of Lance Armstrong or Ron Jeremy’s. How do you get Ron Jeremy mixed up with Jeremy Irons, by the way?
But, as this is Veep, things can and will go awry for Selina. Whether its Gary drawing attention to Jonah or Amy constantly texting, the crew gets lost in their worlds. This is what makes Veep work: separately, the characters can probably perform very well, but combined, they’re a guaranteed wreck.
That said, I enjoyed the visit to Clovis and it’s Google-like appearance down to the website’s logo looking very similar to the current one used for Google Chrome. Also, while I’ve never experimented with them, the Smarch watch gave me a Google Glasses vibe.
This A storyline was funny, but it wasn’t as interesting to watch as the other plot. More on that in a second, as I wanted to touch upon Melissa courting Amy and Kent. She sees that the two have potential. Obviously they turned down the offers, but I think the episode could have gone further with this. Dan and Amy are so set on becoming Selina’s campaign manager that being courted by others may not have entered their minds.
Such was the case here, but the problem I had was that the courting came so late in the episode that it didn’t really have any impact. I’d have much preferred if Melissa noticed Amy and Kent earlier and tried to court them, but obviously the focus was Selina’s visit to Clovis. I just feel this could have been developed more. Yes, Melissa does say early on that she knows all about Amy, but that’s really it. It’s delivered almost as a throwaway line.
The same goes with the mother calling out Selina’s flip-flop. As a politician, and especially as the Vice President, every single word that comes out of Selina’s mouth will be scrutinized, analyzed and criticized. We live in an age where comments caught on mic have the potential to go viral if they aren’t remarks a politician wants the general public to hear.
I hope I’m not the only person thinking of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark or Barack Obama telling Medvedev that he would have more flexibility after his last election. Now that she’s running for President, she can expect a microscope to examine every single word she says.
Again, this wasn’t the crux of the episode, but given how it’s a flip-flop, I think it could have a larger impact than it did. As is, it feels like by the end of the episode, the flip-flop is all but forgotten.
But as I said, I much preferred the storyline in D.C. where we see the impact of Selina’s flip-flop. Much of this had to do with the slower moments, such as Dan’s conversation with Ben about getting down and dirty as a campaign manager. Ben strikes me as the politician that has seen it all, which is why he has no qualms with Dan sacrificing his dignity for a cushy job.
As we saw during “The Choice,” there’s very little he cares about, so whether Dan lands on his feet or his face doesn’t matter. He put in Dan’s head the idea that Chung may have been involved with torture, so his job is done.
And as usual, Timothy Simons turns in a great performance as Jonah because we see not just his desperation to get the jump on a potentially big story, but we see his desperation and anger at those who thought he would never make something of himself. Going viral with the fracking story was the first step and even though the universe would be misaligned if Jonah were to become rich, I’m positive he will bounce back from this.
He always does. Though I have to wonder where he went to journalism school if he thought it was all right to just publish a story without all of the facts. I mean, sitting back and hitting “Publish” so you can wait for the post to snowball? Shoddy journalism, Jonah.
Overall, this was a good episode. Not bad, but not great. Just good, and that’s just fine for Veep. There’s nothing wrong with the episode, per se, and, as usual, there was plenty of humor to be found, but I just felt that the main storyline had a lot of threads that could have gone somewhere, but didn’t.
The Selina at Clovis plot didn’t feel as engaging as the events going on in D.C. with Dan or Jonah. I’d like the flip-flop reveal to come up again later since, well, it’s a flip-flop and Selina would have to own up to that without ducking behind secret service and her team. Will it? Probably not, but now we know that there’s one mother probably reconsidering her vote for Selina Meyer.
Oh, and Selina? Pay Gary a little more attention. He’s more than earned it and that would probably ward off any suspicion about why a random man walked out of his hotel room.