So, I’m watching the second season of Veep. From what I hear, it’s better than the first season; it also has ten episodes, instead of eight, so it had better be better. This episode takes place the night of the midterm elections, so we get a distinct time here – we’re two years into Selina’s first tour as VP. This episode introduces three recurring characters and they’re all fantastic. The first is the always great Kevin Dunn as Ben, the President’s weary, cynical, depressed Chief of Staff. By the time we’re ten minutes into the episode, he’s hiding in a storage closet in the West Wing, thinking suicidal thoughts. The second is the always great Gary Cole as Kent Davidson, the President’s statistical analyst; he’s got a history with Selina and it’s not a good one. She recalls a moment when she went to him in tears during the campaign begging him to stop making her do photo-ops with her ex-husband; “He showed me a pie chart,” she screams in rage. The third is Jessica St. Clair (and, if you know me at all, you know I have a huge crush on Jessica St. Clair who’s one of the funniest people on the entire planet; check out her work on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast for proof) as Gary’s new girlfriend. I sense great things from all of these characters. Tim Simons shines in this episode as White House Liaison Jonah Ryan; he’s forever storming past doors bellowing the latest election news at the top of his lungs, along with terrible inspirational clichés. “We lost the battle, but we’re not cattle,” he shouts at the end of the disastrous night. The episode just keeps topping itself; the climax of the episode is a showdown between an increasingly enraged Selina and an infuriatingly calm Kent in the Oval Office; the punchline, in which Selina hits Kent in the eye with a tube of lipstick, is off the charts funny. And then Selina gets tapped to do all the morning show interviews and the episode ends with an exhausted Selina, made-up and coiffed to within an inch of her life talking to the camera about how a defeat is actually a victory. This is a great second season debut and I’m excited to see where the show goes from here. Oh and lest I forget, this episode also features a guest appearance by Kumail Nanjiani, also one of the funniest people on the planet (check out his work on the Doug Loves Movies podcast for proof). I was hoping he’d be recurring, but apparently, it’s just a guest spot, which is better than nothing. Anyway, all in all, great, hilarious episode and the cast additions are beyond promising, they’re downright thrilling. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – adding Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn and Jessica St. Clair to an already great cast is promising and the scripting is as sharp as the best of the first season; fantastic second season dead ahead, I’m betting. 4 stars.