Even if you’re not President of the United States, you’d probably guess that there’s no quick fix solution to the economy. Worse still, there’s no easy solution. If you’re Selina Meyer, there’s no way to come out of this looking good, especially when it turns out that someone thinks that she’s a cunt. And yes, it’s a gate.
This is Cuntgate.
The episode begins with a press briefing as the Dow continues to drop. Mike tells the press that bailouts are not on the table, but infusions are possible. That’s a bailout, Mike.
Tom James leads the economic response team on which bank to bailout, with three in the running. However, the administration can only afford to bail out two. An Illinois bank is in play since that could help win the state, but another bank belongs to Charlie Barid. Ben tells Selina that she can’t bail out Charlie Baird’s bank because it will look like she’s playing favorites. But Tom feels that the bank is financially stronger.
Following this, we get the first Jonah Ryan for Congress ad. Catherine films a focus team’s response: the folks aren’t a fan of Jonah. His head, for example, is too big for his body. The only positive is that the kid is cute. Jonah bursts in to rant to the Pepperidge Farm ad motherfuckers, as he calls them, but Jeffrey and Richard escort him out.
Selina’s team watches this unfold. She’s surprised that Catherine hasn’t been around as of recent. She brings up a Politico article on Gary’s machine about a West Wing staffer that called the President a cunt. Kent wants to focus on relaunching Jonah’s campaign. Selina suggests getting Dan’s help, but he turned down the offer, so Ben is interviewing prospectives. Selina, meanwhile, has Amy find out who called her a cunt.
While Mike tries to get Dan to join in on a GroupOn, Amy asks why he isn’t jumping on board with Jonah’s campaign. After all, if Jonah loses, no one would blame Dan. But if Jonah wins, Dan will look like a political genius. Dan claims that he’s not worried, but soon speeds off to jump on the Jonah train.
Dan then interrupts Ben’s meeting with Candi Caruso. Seconds later, Candi’s position on Jonah’s campaign has been filled. Candi just can’t catch a break, can she?
Amy’s attempt at an investigation doesn’t solve the mystery of the one person who called Selina a cunt because it turns out that both she and Mike have said it on separate occasions.
Selina, meanwhile, decides to bail out Charlie’s bank, regardless of how it will be perceived by the public. In Selina’s mind, this is good for the country. That is her final solution. Phrasing, I know.
At the Ryan for Congress HQ in New Hampshire, Jonah speaks dramatically while Catherine records B-roll. As Director of Communications Richard receives copyright claims from bands featured in Jonah’s ads, Dan shows up enters and declares himself as Jonah’s campaign manager. He immediately takes charge and tells Jonah that he answers to him, now. Dan also takes Jonah’s office.
Selina dines with Charlie, who apologizes for their compromised relationship, but he also says that whatever move she makes won’t affect what they have. They then decide on a quickie.
Then, at 2 in the morning, Selina calls Amy into her office to ask about the investigation. Amy suggests pushing it back, but instead, Selina rattles off three employees to be fired because such an article should not have been published.
As Selina lights a cigarette, she tells Amy that people don’t want her to be President because she’s a woman, but she won’t back down. Amy is no stranger to being called a cunt. That much I could have guessed.
Catherine returns to Washington to talk with Selina about how she’s been since Grandma died. Also, she’s been thinking about her past relationships.
Before this turn into an actual mother-daughter talk, Ben and Kent enter to explain that approval ratings for bailing out Charlie’s bank are 4.3 percent, even if it’s the right decision. No one understands the economy. And a few states in Congress could be lost due to Selina’s decision. So she later decides to bail out a different bank.
Mike again tries to offer friends for his GroupOn, but no one is on board. Not even Sue or Marjorie.
Back in New Hampshire at a restaurant, Jeffrey and Dan dress Jonah up like Clark Kent for a meet and greet. Dan is joined by Bill Ericsson. His charge was thrown out on appeal. He’s working for the Sherman campaign. And yes, he’s still pissed at Selina. Go figure.
Selina’s very brief moment with Catherine is interrupted by Tom James, who, through some smooth talking, gets Selina to change her mind. She soon says that both Charlie’s bank and another will be bailed out. However, she then changes her mind again.
Leon runs into Amy at a store to talk about three firings due to Cuntgate. It’s a gate. Leon warns Amy that she won’t want to be the face of Cuntgate, even though she has the perfect face for it.
Selina again meets the economic team and, after meeting with Mike, decides to change her mind yet again. Ben confronts Mike about this decision. Turns out it was just about Wendy helping him with student loans, which Mike only has because he’s not good with money.
Code black. Selina is on an opinion shopping spree. Ben and Kent can’t meet with Selina because she’s too busy talking with, of all people, Karen. Fucking Karen! It’s as useless as you’d expect. Selina still needs more time, but Tom tells her that a decision is needed. So Selina will give them a choice tomorrow morning.
To help clear her head, Ben suggests tearing into Jonah and Dan. Selina does just that, but it ends up having the opposite effect. Both spurned by Selina, the two find common ground. Jonah even thanks Dan for helping with the campaign.
Jonah soon takes the stage and deals with Bill’s hecklers, but he then attacks Selina’s record. And that ends up winning over the crowd. I must admit, it’s a damn fine moment for both Jonah and Dan.
Mike again deals with economy questions from the press, but then Leon brings up Cuntgate- it’s still a gate. The other reporters, in turn, focus on the gate.
Mike and Amy then talk with Ben and admit that they both have called Selina a cunt, but so did Ben. And Kent. And Gary, but he called her a crone. Selina enters and decides to bail out Charlie. She has more time, but doesn’t need it. This is the best for the economy. She goes off to tell Tom.
Gary is happy for Selina’s decision, more so because of the happiness she gets from Charlie. Selina meets again with her economic team.
At a bookstore photo op, Selina tells the press of her planned Christmas shopping. Charlie doesn’t want a book for Christmas. He already has one. Tom James soon calls Charlie and is upset about the decision. Politico was apparently right about her.
Later, Selina learns of Jonah’s bump in the polls, which is apparently good news. And Catherine tells Selina that she’s met someone that works with the administration. It’s…goddamn Marjorie. How in the actual fuck? Marjorie will be resigning from Selina’s detail. Selina and Gary need a moment to process this. As do I. At the very least, Selina wishes her mother was alive because this news would have killed her.
As the episode comes to a close, Amy enters just as Selina guesses that everyone called her a cunt, Mike, while trying to reimburse his GroupOn, spots Tom James dining with Sidney Purcell, and Marjorie and Catherine are giddy. Someone has to be.
Trust the American press to take the focus off of President Meyer’s agenda and focus on something more personal. “Cuntblock,” like the previous “Thanksgiving,” has Selina focusing on an actual national matter. Here, she does managed to stay more focused on the economy, but her ego and desire to serve her own agenda get in the way.
Selina this week is just as incompetent, indecisive, and inept as ever- hell, she goes to Karen of all people- but there’s more focus on her reputation and how the public perceives her. She can’t be seen as weak on the economy because that would sink her reelection chances.
But if she’s strong on the economy and bails out Charlie’s bank, then she’s playing favorites. Furthermore, as Tom indicated earlier in the season, any problems with the economy fall on the face of the person in charge.
And it’s fun to watch Selina waver over and over. At times, like the Families First agenda, we’ve seen shades of a President Meyer that genuinely wants to help the American people. But then you get this version of Selina that just wants an easy solution where she doesn’t look like the villain. That’s hard to do because, as Ben said, no one understands the economy.
It wouldn’t matter if Selina made a good decision. The public would find a way to make her look bad, much as Jonah did during his speech.
But more than the economy, we get more focus on how she feels the public perceives her as a woman. And there’s some validity to that, but I find a lot of it to be baseless. Think about how anyone who attacks Hillary Clinton can be twisted into a sexist. Same with anyone who criticizes this all-female Ghostbusters film. Are there shades of sexism? Of course.
In Selina’s case, though, I think it’s less of people belittling her because she’s a woman. Rather, they belittle her because she’s a less than stellar politician and a horrible person. It’s all about her record, but as Selina tells Amy, the people can only want her out of office because of sexism, which is bullshit.
At the end of the day, though, I think Selina accepts that people are always going to dislike her, but she’s going to keep going forward regardless. Well, at least there’s some acceptance in that, especially since most of the team has called her a cunt.
What might not be accepted so easily is Catherine’s out-of-nowhere relationship with Marjorie. It’s a hilarious surprise that I’m curious where Veep will go with this. Marjorie hasn’t had much to do since her introduction, so this is a good way to keep her involved, even if she’s no longer part of Selina’s detail.
Whether this makes Catherine an outright lesbian, a bisexual, or she’s just experimenting, I don’t know. I’ve never really understood these people, but that’s beside the point. Why this is such an interesting twist is the fact that Catherine hasn’t had much time to bind with her mother this season. And one of the first things we learned about Marjorie was how eerily similar she looked to Selina.
Is Marjorie meant to be a surrogate for Selina? Can Catherine actually say she’s in love? Either way, I’m interested, if just for the dumbfounded looks on Gary and Selina’s faces.
Equally interesting of a pair was Dan and Jonah. These two have been at each other’s throats for most of the series, and I get Dan joining the campaign so he can jumpstart his political career. It makes sense that he’d use Jonah as much as Jeffrey is, but now the two realize they have a common foe in Selina. While Selina venting to the two helped her relax, it also served to make Jonah a credible threat and potential future Congressman.
More than this, Jonah acknowledging that Dan proved vital to his image and the two coming together felt earned. It would be easy for Veep to make this pair a gimmick, but because the two have enemies for so long, for them to join forces over their hatred towards Selina shows that even they can put squabbles aside for a moment to focus on a bigger threat. That said, I don’t expect this to make them best friends forever.
Either way, between this, the focus group, and the return of Bill Ericsson on the opposing team, I am very much invested in this storyline. Gosh, imagine the possibilities of Jonah going to Congress.
Instead of being the awkward fuck we know he is, he appeals to people’s distaste for Washington and makes some credible attacks on Selina’s record. Though it helps that Selina isn’t what you’d call a good President. I’ll be honest, as I was laughing at him going on the offensive, I got chills when he managed to not fuck up, but actually captivate the crowd.
But I’ve gotta say, this quick moment here of Jonah waving is interesting. It almost looks like a Nazi salute. I could be looking way too into that, but the fact that we got a shot of it makes me wonder if we’ll return to it at any point.
As far as Cuntgate is concerned, first off, it’s a great name. Second, it did draw attention to the extra scrutiny that women in power receive, but it also showed how little Selina’s team actually thinks of her once we learn that nearly everyone had called her a cunt. I imagine Dan has done it least once. Gary is far too innocent. That would just leave Sue, who I don’t think has the time to even think of an insult for Selina.
“Cuntgate” was a fun episode that had a great main storyline and equally engaging subplot with potential Congressman Jonah Ryan making his mark. Despite Selina’s desire to do the right thing on a topic as complex as the economy, she still faces scrutiny, but now she’s got to contend with the fact that people think she’s a cunt, she’s accused of playing favorites with Charlie Baird, and her daughter is dating her now former security lead.
Not a great time to be the President.
Oh, and now Mike has seen Tom James dining with Sidney Purcell, meaning he and Dan have an inkling that the two are in cahoots. Will word of this reach the others? Even better, will it matter or can this somehow blow up in Mike and Dan’s faces? Either way, I’m excited to watch it all unfold.