Veep Recap: Selina Meyer vs. Allison Janney
After seven seasons of seeing her fend of White House reporters on The West Wing, this week’s episode of Veep gave the great Allison Janney a chance to play one herself for once. It was suggested on last week’s episode that this particular reporter, Janet Ryland, was a pushover and could grant Selina the puff piece kind of interview needed to get her image back on track, but little did Selina’s staff know that Janet would be out for blood!
Filmed entirely in Selina’s Vice Presidential mansion, the interview is intended to make Selina look like a loving mother who has a healthy, stable relationship with her ex-husband while helping to manage our nation’s needs as the second in command. Catherine is on hand wearing the world’s frumpiest dress and ex-husband Andrew is waiting in the wings for his time in the familial spotlight as well, but Janet isn’t there to just make Selina look good. Just prior to filming, Janet’s producer fills her in on an email that leaked from Andrew to a lobbyist promising access to Selina in exchange for favors and she fully intends to bring it up in the interview.
The interview begins innocently enough with Janet asking Selina to tell her about some of the home’s decor, but then slides in tough questions about spies and the hostage crisis while Selina awkwardly tries to describe the history of her furniture. This is then followed by a hilarious shot of them filming some b-roll where Selina tries to gently tell Janet to lay off the tough questions and then describes a painting as “This is some old shit by somebody I don’t know…I hate this house. Its like living in a doll’s jail.”
When they get to the formal sit-down portion of the interview, Janet tries to dig into Selina’s relationship with Andrew regarding rumors that they were at each others’ throats during the campaign. Selina refutes this by stating that she and Andrew are very close, which is when Janet drops the bomb about Andrew’s lobbyist email. As usual Selina is caught off guard and furious about it.
Things only get worse when Jonah storms into the house to announce that the President has made a budget deal to end the government shutdown. Janet senses Selina had no idea that such a deal was imminent and hounds her with questions about the process. If you missed this particular episode or scene just imagine Sarah Palin with Katie Couric and make it twice as embarrassing. If you can.
Things don’t get better from there though. Janet then wants to film a sequence where Selina, Andrew, and Catherine all cook a meal together prior to eating it. During this process it becomes clear that Selina has never used this kitchen before in her life and both she and Andrew forget that Catherine is a vegetarian by making a roasted chicken that she refuses to eat.
Behind the scenes Dan is freaking out about Selina’s horribly bad performance and continues to mull getting a new job while Amy does battle with the producer over the content of the interview. Their disagreements turn into a shouting match that prompts Mike to insert himself with the following ridiculous warning to calm the fighters: “Antique windows! Bring it down. Bring it down.”
Dan ultimately suggests to Selina that she do something bold to salvage the interview and in the final segment when Catherine is essentially forced to dump her Iranian boyfriend and a thinly veiled fight breaks out between Andrew and Selina, she acts. In a rare moment of almost eloquence Selina comes out and apologizes for the spy being involved in the hostage crises and that she had full knowledge of the entire event. Her words are far from poetry but they seem to save the day, but I fully expect some blowback to come down next week.
And with the interview behind them and her relationship with Andrew once again on the rocks, what does Selina do next? She has sex with Andrew of course! You really gotta love this woman.
Favorite (not-so) Vulgar Line of the Week: Selina to Andrew after the lobbyist email reveal: “You have totally lived down to my expectations.”
Veep, Season 2, Episode 8: “First Response” (originally aired June 9, 2013)
Catch Veep Sundays at 10/9 Central on HBO.
Image courtesy of HBO