‘Veep’ recap: Season 3, Episode 5, ‘Fishing’

Before we dive into this week’s Veep recap, did everyone see Julia Louis-Dreyfus hanging out with actual veep Joe Biden for a White House Correspondents Dinner sketch? A few other surprise guests dropped in as well.

Back in the fictional world of politics, this week’s Veep proves that if Selina’s going to have any chance at winning the candidacy, she needs to seriously work on her likability — and at this point, mainly with her staff, all of whom she considers firing over the course of the half-hour. At the end of the episode, Dan has been named campaign manager (boo), but it’s still unclear as to whether Mike, Amy, Gary, and Sue will be retained.

But, backing up: Selina and Dan are both pretty bad at power plays, aren’t they? The race to be named presidential candidate is quickening, after Joe Thornhill, an ex-Major League Baseball coach, has announced his bid for the candidacy. To combat this, Amy advises Selina to accept an invitation to Secretary of Defense Maddox’s country house for the weekend, to try and convince him to refrain from announcing his potential candidacy and instead become her running mate.

This, predictably, does not work. Selina is basically incapable of appearing humble or paying attention to others for even one minute, even if it would help her out in the long run. Case in point, the fishing incident: Selina and Maddox have a nice moment gossiping about Danny Chung, Selina hypothetically offers him Secretary of State and, just as Maddox begins saying, “If I was State, hypothetically,” Selina cuts him off because she might have caught a fish. If you’re going to attempt to make a politically delicate alliance with one of your direct competitors, Selina, it would be helpful if you let him finish his sentence.

Or how about their dinner later that evening, when an unimpressed Maddox asks Selina, “If I did want to run, why would I just step aside for you?”

Selina doesn’t seem to understand the question. “Why wouldn’t you?” she asks, laughing, as though this is some big joke.

Maddox isn’t laughing. “No,” he insists, “why would I?”

Selina’s answer – that she’s earned the candidacy, that she deserves to be president – is the wrong one, but it’s an idea echoed in Dan’s fake-nice ploys to become campaign manager. “You guys remind me of me when I was you,” he tells a group of campaign interns, beaming. “And look at me now!”

Dan, like Selina, seems to believe that a combination of being nice to the public (or interns) paired with an unrelenting sense of entitlement is enough to win the prize. But, like Selina, Dan’s unwillingness to swallow his ego even when it would help him in the long run makes achieving that prize that much harder. His attempt to poach Jonah, who the team discovers is the nephew of a politically valuable ally, ultimately fails when he refuses to flatter Jonah’s sense of anxiety about his own likability, and instead descends into a series of burrito-themed insults. Oops.

Just add ego

Back in D.C., Amy’s own attempts to vie for the campaign manager position via a dinner party for the remaining staff backfires because she isn’t quite egotistical enough. Yes, she’s a workaholic, but instead of ending the dinner early to call Selina with the news of Jonah’s connections and then sending her competitor, Dan, to go poach him, she really should have kept this trump card to herself until Selina’s return, and used it to weaken Maddox. Now, she’s wasted it, lost her chance at redeeming herself in Selina’s eyes, and insulted her boyfriend (who just wants to celebrate their one-year anniversary) in the process.

There are some secondary plots concerning Mike’s attempts at in vitro fertilization with his new wife (gross and hilarious), Gary’s sore shoulder (pathetic and hilarious) and a potential third candidate for the campaign manager position, but in the end, it’s Dan who emerges victorious, mostly by making sure he’s in the right place at the right time.

If this is some foreshadowing for Selina’s candidacy, then her party is going to be in trouble come election season. The end of the episode further emphasizes Selina and Dan’s similarities, as they share some awkward sexual tension (that other campaign manager guy sure was right when he said that Dan’s talents lie in “hitting on drunk divorcees”), as well as some secrets. It turns out that Selina once set fire to her ex-husband’s car. And what did Dan once do?

“When I was a kid, a bunch of older kids dared me to kill this stray dog…and I did.”

Yikes. Selina, what have you gotten yourself into? Trusting your campaign to someone this power-hungry and ruthless, rather than loyal, does not seem like a good idea. Even when Amy’s about to drunkenly throw Mike’s sperm jar at Jonah’s door, she’s nowhere near as sociopathic as that.

Grade: B+


Drug overdoses on the rise in New York…

Recently released health department numbers show more than one person a day in New York City overdoses on an opioid, such as heroin. From 2010…


Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…


Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…


Ebola toll tops 1,550, outbreak accelerates: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) - The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,552 people out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and "continues…

The Word

The Word: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally…

Well, everybody, it finally happened. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie went and got themselves hitched — according to noted scandal sheet the Associated Press —…


TV watch list, Thursday, Aug. 28: 'Welcome to…

"Welcome to Sweden" wraps up its first season with a two episode run tonight, featuring a special appearance from the star's sister, Ms. Amy Poehler.


Interview: 'Life of Crime' star John Hawkes likes…

John Hawkes talks about playing a bumbling crook in "Life of Crime" and how he wanted his "Martha Marcy May Marlene" villain to be "bland."


Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married

The couple tied the knot in Chateau Miraval, France.

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


Giants vs. Patriots: 3 things to watch

The Giants wrap up their extended preseason campaign Thursday night by playing host to the Patriots.


Fantasy football: What to take away from preseason

The third set of exhibition games, which went down last weekend, is the dress rehearsal week.


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…