Veep, Season 5, Episode 6: “C**tgate”
Written by Georgia Pritchett & Will Smith
Directed by Chris Addison
Airs Sunday at 10:30pm on HBO
Jonah is running for congress now, something I never dared to hope for but which pleases me immensely. The stock market is also crashing and three large banks are in need of bailouts, only two of whom will actually get them. With these two crises on deck, Selina is back in her element, as is Veep.
The show has teased at this financial crisis in past episodes. Ben treated a flat market as if it had reached record highs in a previous episode. Now, Selina has to choose amongst three banks, one of whom is run by her boyfriend Charlie. Tom recommends bailing out his bank, as it’s the strongest of the three and most likely to survive. The downside is that her approval rating would be abysmal if she saved that bank.
Even more distressing to Selina, Politico has published a report that one of her aides was heard calling her a c**t. Selina appoints Amy as the inspector general in charge of finding the culprit. The problem is that Amy (and everyone else) has called Selina a c**t before. Mike even “shouted it into [his] phone on the Acela quiet car.” The only blameless person is Gary, who confesses to calling Selina the “C-word,” which he believes to be “crone.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus gives one of her best performances of the season when she calls Amy into the Oval Office at night while in her robe to complain about the sexism she faces. “Fundamentally, people hate women.” And she’s not wrong, even though Selina gives people plenty of legitimate reasons to hate her as well. Selina has faced opposition from plenty of older people in Washington, as well as regular ole American voters. Even daring to be divorced and then start dating is treated as a crime because she’s a woman. Tracking down the originator of C**tgate is part of her strategy to fight back against that sexism.
Meanwhile, in the Granite State, Jonah’s campaign is off to a poor start. He has a tendency to have angry outbursts at inopportune times, like when meeting with voters. Dan is doing his best to help the campaign, but there isn’t much hope for Jonah. He’s running against the dead incumbent’s wife, who is also his old second grade teacher and the clear favorite. But after Selina calls to chew out Jonah and Dan, Jonah decides to spend his stump speech bashing Selina, which plays surprisingly well with the crowd. Maybe there is a chance?
In Washington, Selina finally decides to go with the polls, not the experts. She won’t bail out Charlie’s bank, which he finds out while they’re out buying books for Christmas. Looks like the relationship is over. Catherine also manages to corner Selina, something she’s been trying to do the whole episode. The news: she’s dating someone. Who happens to be Selina’s security guard, Marjorie (the perfectly deadpan Clea DuVall). And Selina finally figures out the results of her investigation.
After a small dip in quality, C**tgate managed to be nearly perfect. The show went back to throwing crises at Selina, and was delightfully profane as well. It’s good to have the show back firing on all cylinders.
- Jonah’s campaign ad was excellent. The bad cuts were a little over the top, but I loved how the scene of him playing with a child just made him look like a predator chasing a little boy.
- Focus group members: “His head is too big for his body, but then sometimes his body’s too big for his head.” “He’s the wrong shape.”
- Jonah starts to get cease and desist letters for using campaign songs
- Richard: “Tom petty says we can’t use ‘Won’t Back Down’ anymore.” Jonah: “Okay, well f**k him if he thinks I’m gonna back down. That’s like the whole point of the song.” Richard: “We got the okay from Gary Glitter, but he’s in jail for child rape, so probably not the first choice.”
- Jonah, upon learning that Sting, Bruce Springsteen, and Enya sent preemptive C&D letters: “Enya? Send her a f**king cease and desist letter.”
- Gary crying when Charlie breaks up with Selina nearly broke my heart, like a child hearing his parents deciding to divorce.
- Lennon Parham was delightfully equivocal as always. Selina: “But I mean, if you had a gun to your head?” Karen: “Oh? Maybe the gun doesn’t have any bullets.”
- Selina, after hearing that Catherine is dating a woman: “I wish mother were alive. Cause this definitely would have killed her.”
- Selina: “So who called me a c**t? Was it everybody?” Amy: “Pretty much, yeah.” Selina: “You can go.”
- This will be my last Veep recap for PopOptiq. Thanks for reading!