Veep Season 7 premiere recap: Mindfulness and meditations

Julia Colleen Hayes/HBO. Acquired via HBO Media Relations site.
Julia Colleen Hayes/HBO. Acquired via HBO Media Relations site. /

Abortion! Incest! Mass shootings! Oh my! As Selina traverses the muddy waters of a fourth presidential campaign, Veep is back and sharper than ever.

It’s been nearly two years since we last checked in with Selina Meyer and her bumbling band of fools. And oh how I’ve missed them.

Over the past six seasons, Veep has provided a necessary hall of funhouse mirrors, reflecting a vision of the debauched state of American politics back to us in scenes that vacillate from wildly hilarious to downright horrifying. Our system is broken. Politicians are often corrupt and power hungry monsters, putting on public faces and telling constituents whatever it takes to get elected, and then doing whatever they damn well please when they get voted into office.

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The pause in production occurred after comedy legend and national treasure Julia Louis-Dreyfus was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2017, just months after Season 6 of Veep had finished airing on HBO. The production was renewed for another season, but the show obviously couldn’t go on without the star. Dreyfus underwent treatment, often getting lovely, encouraging videos from her cast mates as she completed rounds of chemo.

While the production waited for Dreyfus to make a full recovery, politics in the United States took some crazy turns. With a narcissistic millionaire at the helm, the daily news out of Washington D.C. was often far more insane than the most bonkers plot twists on Veep. Oddly enough, life began to imitate art as our new commander in chief began to pull outrageous stunts that even Selina wouldn’t dream of attempting.

The beauty of Veep is that it has never come down on any specific side of the aisle. It doesn’t preach about any specific political hot button issues, mostly because it can’t. The centerpiece of this whole endeavor, professional narcissist Selina Meyer, has always been completely disinterested in what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ for the country, and she’s only concerned with one thing: how to get and stay in power.

Veep Season 7
Gary Cole, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Kevin Dunn, Sam Richardson, Anna Colleen Hayes/HBO. Acquired via HBO Media Relations site. /

So, it’s fitting that for Veep Season 7, Selina’s team is swinging for the fences yet again. As the curtain opens on the final (!) season of the series, the old gang gets back together in an attempt to make her the first female president elected to office. Tech-obsessed Kent (Gary Cole) is having a love affair with S.H.E.I.L.A., aka: Strategic Hypermetric Electoral Interactive Logistical Algorithm, while the hangdog Ben (Kevin Dunn) has upgraded the contents of his coffee mug from caffeinated to high-test boozy. Amy (Anna Chlumsky) is stoically doing her job while internally freaking out about her and Dan’s oops baby, but Dan (Reid Scott) is more concerned with bedding hot members of the press. Former press secretary Mike (Matt Walsh) has been swapped out for the more competent Leon West (Brian Huskey), and poor Gary (Tony Hale) is still Gary. Oh, and Richard (Sam Richardson) is hedging his bets by working for both Selina’s campaign and Jonah’s (Timothy Simons).

For all their ineptitude and failures, this group of idiots has gotten pretty far in the political landscape. But it’s becoming more and more apparent that the problem isn’t Selina’s staff; it’s Selina herself. She’s the one who tells the pilot to head to Cedar Falls instead of Cedar Rapids. She’s the one who feeds an adorable Golden Retriever a piece of chocolate. Like our current president, she’s the one who neglects to pay her bills. She’s the one who consistently bullies and berates her staff. And this group is tied to her, for better and for worse.

Can the team finally win an election? Is Amy going to have that baby? Will Gary finally snap? Will we find out what happened on Labor Day? We’ve got ten short episodes left to find out.

“Jesus. I thought you sent that thing to the 7-11 dumpster in the sky already.” – Dan to Amy

One of the biggest secrets of the season so far is Amy’s pregnancy. Gary is somewhat on the case as he’s seen the looks that Amy’s been shooting at Dan, but he hasn’t quite gotten the full picture yet. Selina, with her tendency to fat-shame, does notice that Amy has been getting fat “in front” but doesn’t connect the weight gain to anything other than a love of cheesecake.

Amy, on the other hand, is gearing up to keep the baby. She’s clearly in love with Dan, but due to her general inability to express her emotions, coupled with a fear of rejection, she doesn’t say anything about it. Not like Dan would reciprocate her feelings anyhow. He’s a horn dog more set on collecting notches on his bedpost than any meaningful relationships or interactions.

Veep Season 7
Reid Scott, Anna Colleen Hayes/HBO. Acquired via HBO Media Relations site. /

There’s a potential silver lining to this secret though. A child of two emotionless and power-obsessed individuals might make for a great president, right? Amy and Dan’s baby, 2054!

“If you’re going to criticize us, you’d better be prepared to criticize Woody Allen and the little Chinese girl.” – Jonah

In other relationship news, Jonah got married! Um, okay. Weird. Even weirder is that his wife is super hot, super sweet, and provides a dose of honey to Jonah’s drippy pool of vinegar. Maybe she should run for president?

Fittingly, sexual predator Teddy (Patton Oswalt) and ex-felon Bill Ericsson (Diedrich Bader) round out Jonah’s team. And, when they find out that Jonah’s new wife is his ex-stepsister (makes sense), they freak out and attempt some PR control by hiring Dan’s old co-host Jane McCabe to interview his family. But Jonah somehow turns that into a sideshow of horrors as well by screaming like a child at his ex-stepdad and claiming that his mother’s hands are only for making Hot Pockets. It’s an oedipal nightmare.

Oddly enough, the sh*tshow gives a boost to Jonah’s favorability numbers with white males. Ok. If Trump can win, I guess anything is possible. And if Jonah is Selina’s stiffest competition, she’s probably in good shape for the upcoming primaries.

“Muslim or white guy? Which is better for me?” – Selina

However, Selina still has yet to announce her candidacy. As her team scrambles to find the ideal place for the announcement, their days are dogged by mass shootings. What follows is a vicious takedown of the mass shooting culture in our country.

Of course Selina can’t make any sort of declarations condemning this epidemic of violence because she might need that sweet NRA money down the line. In fact, back in Season 5, the NRA saved Jonah’s campaign for Congress – on Christmas, no less – much to Amy and Dan’s delight. No one here cares about the grief, hopelessness, and persistent buzz of fear that these shootings perpetuate in the news. Nah. Even as the death tolls climb, the team is solely focused on whether or not Selina can use the deaths for her own political gain. The situation would be hilarious if it weren’t so painfully true.

“I should be president because it is my goddamn turn! I took a dump on the glass ceiling, and I shaved my muff in the sink of the old boys club.” – Selina

Selina has no definitive opinions on anything, and somehow that includes her own bid for the presidency.

Throughout the episode, new speechwriter Leon West attempts to get Selina to tell him why she wants to be president. Seems like a simple enough task, but after a lifetime of hiding her true political objectives from the American people and avoiding declarative sentences, she doesn’t know what she wants. Ultimately, when she finally gets into a room and starts venting to Gary, her closest confidant, it’s revealed that she feels that the presidency is owed to her. Like a little kid demanding her turn on a swing set, Selina is stomping her Louboutin-clad foot and demanding the highest office in the land.

But America can’t know that.

Veep Season 7
Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Reid Scott, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Gary Colleen Hayes/HBO. Acquired via HBO Media Relations site. /

So the Meyer brigade soldiers on, seeking a place for her fourth (and final?) presidential candidacy announcement. Mike gets waved out of the office after suggesting the Statue of Liberty, and then Amy recommends the Susan B. Anthony birthplace. Selina loves it. Yet, once they arrive, the stage hasn’t been set up yet. Apparently she hadn’t paid her bill the last time they traveled there, and Mr. Spooner, the owner of the company, is fed up with these elites coming in and walking all over the working man. Oops.

Another mass shooting saves Selina from her faux pas, as she can’t possibly hold the event after such a horrific tragedy. Yet, as she bumbles her way through a stock thoughts and prayers speech, she cribs Mr. Spooner’s complaint – much like she stole Gary’s childhood memory back in Season 6 – and the crowd starts to cheer. High on the adoration of her fans, Selina gets impatient and just bursts with the news. Yes! She’s running!

Yet, her high is short-lived as another candidate is hot on her heels. In a well-staged event at the Statue of Liberty – great idea, Mike! – Tom James (Hugh Laurie) kicks off his campaign for the presidency. I’d vote for Tom James in an instant, so I’d say that Selina is in a whole heap of trouble.

Until next week, Veeple…

dark. Next. Veep Season 6 Finale Recap: Selina For You

Random Thoughts Before I Go:

  • Since Selina couldn’t care less about Catherine, I’ve often relegated her to the footnotes. Long suffering Catherine has a loving partner in Marjorie now, but her mother is more interested in using her child as a political prop than addressing her postpartum depression.
  • Mike’s young boss tells him he needs to be posting 10 pieces a day to the new news site he works for. That sounds insane, but it’s definitely a completely irrational bar that some news sites ask their writers to attain. And that’s why we can’t have nice grammar and spelling anymore.
  • The Kevin Quinn issue is shades of the Leslie Kerr vs. Leslie Carr debacle from early on in Selina’s presidency. Selina clearly doesn’t give af about learning names. Wonder what the real guy’s name is? And will we get to see more of him as Tom James’s campaign manager as things get closer to the election?

Veep airs Sunday nights at 10:30/9:30c on HBO.