Veep, Season 2, Episode 4: “The Vic Allen Dinner”
Written by Simon Blackwell and Armando Iannucci
Directed by Chris Addison
Airs Sundays at 10pm (ET) on HBO
Numerous politicians over the course of history have seen their credibility get lost in the blink of an eye, with a single off-handed statement, or an unfortunate picture, that overshadows the rest of the work they have done in their career. Dealing with the aftermath of such an issue can undoubtedly prove taxing, particularly when it’s unexpected, as damage control becomes another item on the to-do list of the politician’s staff. This week’s episode deals with Meyer ending up on the receiving end of an unflattering image, in the show’s funniest episode of the season.
Watching Selina deal with the dissatisfaction of her staff, particularly Sue, was particularly interesting in light of the audience having seen Meyer’s human side last week when reacting to the news of the soldier’s amputation during the mission she approved. A crucial aspect of a successful politician’s career is the ability to keep people around them happy, and Meyer’s ability to quickly defuse potentially bad situations is another glimpse into why she is as successful as she’s been. However, the missteps she makes this episode, both facilitated by her, as in the case of Gary and Dana, and done by others, as in the case of Jonah leaking her song parody, also serves to highlight how Meyer ended up in the Vice-President’s office, as her inability to take a firm stand on any given matter haunts her throughout.
Amy’s continued downward spiral is also fascinating to watch. It’s worth noting that, when listing all the issues that the Vice-Presidential Staff has, Amy left any concerns of her own out, a fact that seemingly escapes Meyer’s attention. With earlier episodes indicating that the pressures of Amy’s personal life were increasing, and this episode showing that she can’t get sympathy for her professional troubles at home or in the workplace, how Amy deals with adversity this season could be a compelling storyline. As the Chief of Staff, Amy is the one closest to the Veep, and thus the one whose loss would affect the office the most, and how she struggles with that fact while the issues pile on is worth keeping an eye on.
Overall, this was another great episode. The serialised nature of this season, compared to the show’s first season, is opening up some interesting avenues for the show to go down. It was also good to see Selina Meyer’s rival Danny Chung make a return appearance. The parody song’s largely positive reaction was an unexpected turn for the show, but was nicely balanced by Kent’s displeasure. Kent and Mike finding common ground over sailing fit in well with Mike’s concerns over the cost of his boat, and serves as nice undercutting of Dan’s ambitions to get in Kent’s good books. Meyer finally snapping on Jonah was a highlight, and how the leak of her parody song affects her trip, as well as how Amy copes with Sue’s statements, are both worth tuning in for next week
– Deepayan Sengupta