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‘Veep’ recap: Season 3, Episode 8, ‘Debate’

Say goodbye to this hair.
Credit: Paul Schiraldi.

We had to wait two weeks for the latest “Veep” episode, due to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but, as of last night, “Veep” is back and we’re in the hole. Though the question remains, would potential presidential candidate George Maddox consider this a loophole or a legitimate hole?

Maddox’s rambling monologue about holes and their legitimacy is just one of the catastrophes that plague the debate between the potential candidates, set at the University of New Hampshire and featuring familiar frenemies like Danny Chung and new rivals like Congressman Owen Pierce (Paul Fitzgerald) and Joe Thornhill (Glenn Wrage). The latter, a former Major League Baseball coach, performs surprisingly well, getting first place in the polls due to his exceedingly folksy charm and constant use of baseball metaphors.

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Amy is proving herself to be a far better campaign manager than Dan ever was, and brings in a new speechwriter (played by Andrew Leeds) to help spice up the campaign with some new jokes and catchphrases. Selina, meanwhile, has got a new, shorter hairstyle, and while it makes her feel powerful enough to bang on tables and shout “Bam!”, her staff for the most part agree that it is, to paraphrase “Mean Girls,” the ugliest effing haircut they have ever seen.

The hair is not Selina’s only problem entering the debate. Suddenly, she’s developed a twitch in her right eye – was the old hairstyle hiding it? – and she’s having trouble remembering the three Rs that form her immigration policy: reform, reaffirm, and renew. Sue captures the general atmosphere of the debate preparations best when she greets Selina with, “Well, ma’am, I hope your meeting went well, because the rest of your day is a logistical hell.”

“Is there any way you can make that sound more appealing?” Selina wants to know as they walk away.

“Well, I could add the word cookie at the end for no reason.” The apparent dissolution of the Sue-Kent affair is doing wonders for Sue’s comebacks.

At the debate, Congressman Owen Pierce could use a cookie, or really anything at all, to assuage his nerves. While his debate performance, involving spilled water, Romney-esque robot movements, and a failed joke involving a bath plug, is easily the weakest, a part of me hopes that he rallies in the upcoming debates because his complete lack of charm is hilarious to watch. Thornhill, on the other hand, has charm in spades, even going so far as to admit to and atone for a previous marital affair on national television. It’s a true politician’s charm – self-congratulatory, a little slimy, and impossible to ignore. Naturally, he comes in first.

Selina takes second place, and turns her two biggest weaknesses of the night – that twitch and her inability to remember the “renew” part of her three Rs – into strengths. The twitch distracts Maddox from actually listening to an audience member’s story of foreclosure; in an effort to save face, he launches into the previously mentioned incoherent bit about “legitimate holes.” “What the hell is a legitimate hole?” Dan laughs offstage, voicing the question on everyone’s lips. Whatever it is, it’s where Maddox’s potential candidacy has gone to die.

Selina, meanwhile, replaces “renew” with “repel,” and gains a bump in popularity for sounding like a hardline anti-immigration Republican. At this point, it seems fairly obvious that she’s meant to be a moderate Democrat, what with all her pro-environment, anti-obesity measures from previous seasons, so this mistake might be a bipartisan boon to her campaign.

With two episodes to go in the season, it’s still unclear as to if Selina will be successful in her bid for the candidacy. After watching her competitors’ buffoonery, though, I’m reevaluating everything I’ve said previously about her incompetency; if it comes down to a baseball coach versus Selina, then I guess I can be (reluctantly) counted in the “women for Selina” signs lining her campaign office.

 
 
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