When Gary was in the hospital recovering from his heart attack, Selina grudgingly agrees to attend his 40th birthday party. Luckily, VEEP doesn’t make us wait long to see this come to fruition. Selina, Amy, Mike, Richard, and Gary head to White City, Alabama, where we meet Gary’s parents, Imogene (Jane Smart) and Judge (Stephen Root). If anyone ever wondered why Gary puts up with Selina’s abuse, his relationship with his father certainly explains why. Judge is a closeted gay man who lashes out at Gary’s more effeminate qualities, all while “mentoring” young male associates on weekend trips away.
This show has always been great at dark humor and there are some excellent examples of that this episode. Selina’s shown her room, which includes a crib–the crib of Gary’s stillborn twin Bruce. Selina’s two part response to this is great. First, she muses, “No wonder I couldn’t carry the South. None of the research mentioned anything about a dead-son ghost crib.” Then, in an aside when she’s leaving the room, she says, “If I had a crib for every baby who died inside me, I could open up a Pottery Barn Kids.” Another great throwaway line this episode: Imogene referring to Marjorie as “Mr. Marjorie.”
This episode is very funny, but feels a bit overstuffed at times. There’s also a subplot about Amy supervising Mike as he searches for his White House diary that he misplaced, only to find that he accidentally switched it with Leon West’s when he went to the Washington Post’s offices to pitch him a syndicated humor column called “McClintock’s Morsels”. This will obviously have bad consequences for Selina, as who knows what’s written in there, but Mike’s haplessness and lack of self-awareness is stretching the limits of believability. Jaffar also randomly shows up in Alabama, seemingly to try to win Selina back, as his father has died of colon cancer and they got a new, chill imam. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t get the impression that Jaffar was super into Selina. It seemed like he was using his father’s prejudice as an excuse to end a one-night fling, but here he is flying to a town where people like Judge refer to him as a “person of interest” to beg for her back.
Selina’s not ready to forgive him or discuss their relationship, especially in Gary’s family’s home, which she calls “a vortex of sexual confusion”. But she is interested in one thing he has to offer–he mentions he’s golfing with Quartie, the billionaire owner of Sturges Energy who donated millions to President Hughes’s library. Selina needs more money for her library, so Jaffar calls his deep-pocketed friend, only to learn that he thinks Selina is too stuck-up to support. He’s a “good ol boy” from the South and Selina is an uppity Yankee. Not true, according to her. She’s from Maryland, a state that had slaves, but didn’t secede!
She decides to invite Quartie to Gary’s birthday, which she takes over and changes from an elegant “New South” party with vintage Baccarat crystal to a down home BBQ that scares off Gary’s actual friends with its high amount of Confederate flags. She even steals a personal story Gary told her about hunting with his dad, repurposing it as her own to prove to Quartie that she’s just like him. It impresses Quartie, but breaks Gary. His face when he realizes that she has no qualms taking every last thing from him is heartbreaking. This could have prompted a real discussion between the two of them, as the boundaries in their professional relationship have grown increasingly blurred since she left the White House, but he forgives her at the end of the episode over a plate of ribs.
Meanwhile, Dan needs to get an interview with Jonah, whose government shutdown is in its fourth week. Montez offers him a generous compromise that would fulfill all of Tanz’s demands, but Jonah refuses to accept as she won’t abolish Daylight Saving Time. When Ben urges him to accept anyway, Jonah fires him. Dan gets his interview by agreeing to go out with Jonah, like they did when they were best friends according to Jonah’s warped memory, hitting the clubs in a ridiculous stretch Hummer limo. But both Dan and Jonah get screwed. Jonah agrees to go on CBS This Morning, but insists that Jane McCabe return to interview him–he used to fake being sick so he could stay home and jerk off to her, because of course he did–and during the interview, news breaks that the shutdown has ended as the rest of his caucus, now under new leadership and going by the name the Libertonians, agreed to Montez’s deal.
Knowing Jonah, he’ll find a way to once again fail upwards. And knowing how things work out for Selina, Quartie’s promised money won’t come through and the lost diary will cause problems. There’s only two episodes left in this season and still anything can happen.
Season 6, Episode 08 (S06E08)
Veep airs Sundays at 1030PM on HBO
Jennifer Trofa | Contributor