Tony Hale's latest role finds him in an unhealthy, codependent relationship with a domineering woman. He is neurotic, but smart. And we're not even referring to Hale's reprisal of Buster Bluth on the new episodes of "Arrested Development" slated to hit Netflix next year.
Before he straps on Buster's prosthetic hand (bit off by a seal, fans of "Arrested" will recall), Hale appears as another loveable loser: Gary Walsh, the personal aide to vice president of the United States Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), on HBO's new political satire "Veep." (Armando Iannucci, the man behind the razor-sharp political commentary, "In the Loop," created the show.)
"With Buster's social anxiety, if he were placed in Gary's situation, he would be committed [to a mental institution]," Hale says. Meanwhile, we learn through the sitcom's documentary style that Gary thrives under pressure, ready at a moment's notice with whatever his boss may need -- be it a conversational factoid on the politicians she may be chatting with or hand sanitizer.
"Gary is very, very efficient," Hale says. "He carries around this bag with all of Selina's stuff, everything from an extra pair of shoes for her to, if needed, a letter of resignation."
That letter of resignation would be for Selina, Hale clarifies, because without his job, Gary would be lost.
"If somebody were to come up to him and say, 'You're fired,' I think he would fall apart," Hale says. "He's a guy who should have left his job in his 20s, but the fact of the matter is his identity is wrapped around Selina. He pretty much worships her. I have a feeling that his mother has been carried over into Selina, so I'm sure there are a lot of childhood wounds that are being played out."
Mama Bluth would be so proud.
Politicians are humans, too
Behind closed doors, Vice President Selina Meyers and her team behave badly -- very badly. But the more preposterous the situation they find themselves in, Hale hypothesizes, the more truthful it seems.
"Especially in this election year, there's so much posturing [on the campaign trail], there are so many perfect sound bites. There's so much presentation, and one person cannot be that positive and mechanical and perfect all the time," he says. "They have to have a breakdown; they have to go behind the scenes and scream at somebody or lose their mind or get insecure, cry or whatever, and I love that this show shows that. It shows Selina putting on her happy face -- and then she goes behind the scenes and just screams at the top of her lungs. It shows their humanity."