Veep: “Some New Beginnings”

(Episode 3.01)

TV Reviews Veep
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Veep: “Some New Beginnings”

Perhaps lost in the sea of acclaim Veep has earned for its political satire is the dirty little secret that it’s not just skewering the snakes in Washington. The show functions just as well as a broader social commentary on the often-unhealthy role technology plays in our lives. (See last season’s “The Vic Allen Dinner,” which brilliantly captured the power of memes.)

E.g., if forced to surrender our phones at a wedding, many of us would react like Amy and Dan—with white knuckles and dark thoughts. (“It’s like losing a limb,” Amy says. “I can hear a phantom phone ringing.”) Many of us compulsively refresh “gossiptainment” blogs like the one Jonah (aka West Wingman) has started, to our professional detriment. Many of us do our reading on tablets, though we might not go so far as to ask an author to autograph the back of our iPad, as one Iowan does in Veep’s promising third season premiere, “Some New Beginnings.”

The author in question is, who else, Veep Selina Meyer, on tour ostensibly promoting her new book, Some New Beginnings: Our Next American Journey, but in reality wooing caucus voters for a not-yet-announced presidential run. For much of the premiere, Selina is not so much aided as haunted by Veep newcomer Richard, played by a scene-stealing Sam Richardson. Richard is the Anti-Gary: While Gary is a ball of nerves who’s awesome at his job, Richard is coolly inept, concocting phantom phone calls from the Prime Minister of Scotland and saying things like, “Butter doesn’t need to be refrigerated.” He’s good in high-pressure situations, apparently.

The premiere also introduces recurring guest star Kathy Najimy—of King of the Hill and (forever, for some of us) Sister Act fame—playing a reporter named Wendy who marries Mike (!) in the premiere. Mike’s wedding isolates Selina from her Veeple, but at the expense of few if any laughs. The highlight of the episode for me was watching best man Gary try and plow through the “Love is…” portion of the ceremony while his phone buzzed with a call from his love, Selina. Afterwards, Mike vows to his wife, “I am but a satellite caught in the gravity of your planet.”

Like the wedding, Selina’s book title proves a reliable source of laughs. A man asks if it’s a Star Wars reference; then, hearing a no, if it’s too late to change it. Selina explains that it’s Some New Beginnings “because it’s plural.” Discarded titles included Red, White, and You and Hands of Our Children. The latter “is like a massacre or something,” Selina says. “Fucking sick,” Ben replies.

What are these new beginnings? Besides Mike and Wendy’s marriage (which will foster all sorts of personal and professional tension), there’s the battle Amy and Dan are waging to be Selina’s campaign manager—not realizing that the frontrunner is a legendary strategist named Ericson. On the horizon, there’s the Democratic primary race between Selina and Secretary of Defense Maddox. And for Jonah, his new beginning is more of an ending.

After blogging a photo that essentially (and unintentionally) breaks the news that the President isn’t running for reelection, Jonah is fired, to the delight of the District. Watching the video Dan shot of Jonah’s humiliating ejection from the West Wing, Mike says of his wedding day, “This is the best day of my life.” (It would have been easier to sympathize with J-Diddy had he not told a couple women at Mike’s reception, “You guys are just like two little pretty Easter eggs: I’d love to crack you open.”)

Hearing the Jonah news after “blowing the fucking roof off” a church at a peer’s funeral, Selina practically sighs, “All my orgasms have come at once.” Whoever her campaign manager will be, the Veep is—for now, at least—primed for a strong run, and Veep for a strong third season.

—“I’m brain-dead just watching you.” – Richard at Selina’s book signing
—“Do you have a preference on water? ’Cause I’m all about Fiji.” – Richard
—“My pheromones make bitches moan. I’m gonna leave a trail right back to my apartment.” – Jonah, aka “Hepatitis J” (per Dan), aka “the seven-foot mouth” (per Wendy)
—“Jonah, what’s the point? You don’t even show up in photographs.” – Amy
—“You’re so fulla shit there’s a colon right smack dab in the middle.” – Ben on Some New Beginnings: Our Next American Journey

Evan Allgood is deputy editor of Trop. He lives in Brooklyn. Follow and maybe later unfollow him on “Twitter”:https://twitter.com/evoooooooooooo.