This is the only face to make when touring a tech startup. / Credit: Paul Schiraldi
This week, the cast of "Veep" is traveling, finding themselves in sunny Silicon Valley. They’re visiting a tech company called Clovis, which I at first had to Google to make sure wasn’t real, so closely did they parody the real-life tech company I just accidentally referenced.
Clovis, run by a 26-year-old billionaire named Craig (pronounced Craaaig, which Madam Vice President Selina keeps effing up), has got some money to burn and Selina Meyer has got a presidential campaign to finance. Not before she publicly flip flops on fracking at a campaign rally, though, and almost runs off with a very adorable baby. Naturally, coverage of this goes viral thanks to Jonah’s Ryantology blog, all the way back in D.C. New media!
Selina and her crew arrive at Clovis and are greeted by Melissa Connors, the company’s chief financial officer, who seems to be based on a mixture of Sheryl Sandberg (business acumen, older than the colleagues she shepherds) and Marissa Mayer (so, so, so awkward). “I am the oldest person at Clovis by about five years, I feel ancient,” she confirms, greeting the V.P.’s team with a robotic smile.
“You must be twelve years old then!” Selina jokes.
“I – I’m not.” Melissa laughs stiffly. This will not be the last time.
Meanwhile, back in D.C., Dan (Reid Scott) desperately wants to become Selina’s campaign manager, a position for which he is going head-to-head with the more competent but less sycophantic Amy (Anna Chlumsky). He meets with Ben, who I think is still the White House’s chief of staff despite how much time he spends at the Veep’s office, and tries to match him drink for drink. This is a terrible idea, considering the hangover he suffers through the next morning. (Dan: “Hey, can we get two more?” Ben: “Yeah, and a couple of whiskey chasers? It’s still Tuesday…for another six minutes.”) However, Ben does tell him a rumor concerning Selina’s rival, Danny Chung, and the possible torture Chung’s unit might have performed in Iraq.
What does Dan do with this information? Anonymously leak it to Jonah, of course.
The right time to become a millionaire
Melissa gives Selina et al a tour of Clovis, with more deliciously awkward chitchat. Melissa might be the only person on this show even worse at small talk then Selina, who finds the youth of Clovis unsettling. “You shouldn’t make your first million until you’re in your thirties,” she opines. “That’s what Andrew and I did and it kept us completely grounded.” Of course it did.
Craig (“Craaaaig”) finally leaves his coding hour to meet with the vice president, and shows her the “Smarch,” Clovis’ new “smart watch.” In a spectacular parody of both Apple and Facebook, the Smarch works about as well as Siri, bringing up both the opening times for Sea World and an increasingly risqué series of URLs when asked for “Meet Meyer,” Selina’s campaign website. “This is good,” Craig says. “If things work all the time, then that means we can’t make them better.”
“We have a saying here at Clovis,” Melissa adds. “Dare to fail.”
Everyone blinks. Melissa and Craig smile.
Selina dares and does indeed fail, attempting to gain some campaign donations when all Craig wants is less taxes on his company. (“We see ourselves as very much post-tax,” Melissa tells them.) Craig, noticing that Jonah’s fracking post has been voted to the top of Clovis’s homepage, calls Jonah and offers to buy Ryantology for four to six million dollars. Everything is going terribly for Selina, plus she doesn’t know how to use Clovis’s space toilets!
But in her speech to Clovis, she pulls it together, as she miraculously always does. Somehow, Selina manages to heavily imply that Chung is in fact guilty of torture, an unsubstantiated claim that ultimately turns out to be false and leads to Clovis withdrawing their offer to Jonah.
Speaking of work, Melissa offers a job to Amy, who is boggled by the amount of money offered but ultimately turns it down. Good for you, Amy! Principles, serving the people, the importance of government, democracy, etc., etc., right? Oh, and flushing the vice president’s space toilet – third stall! Yeah, no. Is Ryantology still hiring?