Ok, we might as well address the elephant in the room: the vice-president is pregnant. In a way, it’s oddly fitting that the politician obsessed with her own celebrity just became a tabloid monster with the episode’s conclusion – but it’s also a ballsy move by Armando Iannucci and company to make with such a young show. The events that swirl around Selina in ‘Baseball’ forces the writers to take a bit of a stance for the first time on the show, when before, things like the clean jobs initiative could be front and center on the show, without having to take any political views. Now, I’m not saying it doesn’t work – for the most part, it does – but its daring, and will have to be carefully handled moving forward.
What makes Veep so hilarious is the balance it strikes between cartoon/reality and comedy/satire, and having a pregnant VP could disrupt this balance. I don’t think the show’s going to turn into a heavy-handed commentary about the role of women in politics, but then again, did we expect Selina’s pregnancy test to be positive? On some level, it’s true the entire time: her obvious physical distress at the beginning of ‘Baseball’ and general detachment from the events going on around her make it clear that something is really off, and not just in a paranoid, I-might-be-knocked-up kind of way. With absolutely nothing else to suggest to us otherwise – except boredom at the event – the reveal at the end that she is pregnant isn’t really all that surprising…. but it doesn’t make it any less shocking to the core of the show.
I could spend a lot of time talking about the politics of her being pregnant, but the dangers were obvious, and there was a lot of other things going on in ‘Baseball.’ The rest of the Meyer Squad are split up around Baltimore: Mike is having a lazy press conference with Leon West and some other political reporters; Dan & Amy are keeping kids busy at school while they wait for Selina to finally show up; and Gary’s trying to get his dad a picture of himself with the Orioles.
Gary’s story is probably the best, a revealing piece about Gary’s desires to please and impress, filled out with the usual hilarious combination of deprecating jokes from everyone around him. I think Tony Hale is doing a great job with embracing and containing the nerdier, goofier aspects of Gary enough to keep him from being just a punchline, and much more of a endearing individual. It’s the complete opposite of Leon West, who is just a bad caricature with no personality whatsoever. He gets a few good lines in here and there, but even for a cyncial show like Veep, his personality is way too abrasive and asshole-ish to be useful for anything. The lip-reading photog fell somewhere in the middle, off-putting but not entirely moronic.
Everyone’s interested in seeing what happens with the baby and clean jobs in the last two episodes of Veep, but I’m feeling like there are even bigger things bubbling under the surface. Dan’s clearly trying to get Mike’s job, something he’s willfully ignorant of – and with all the pressure that’s about to come to a head, his mismanagement could lead to the colossal mistake that ends his career. It’s been suggested numerous times through the season, and with all the other constant twitch-reaction shake-ups so far (Smile Story, that Scott fellow, the Twitter monkey), it might not take much for any of the big 4 surrounding Selina to lose their titles.
Got a lot to do on this Memorial Day, so I’m going to share the rest of my thoughts on the episode in the notes section below…. my prose is taking a holiday, so blame him, not me.
- after his fantastic turn last week, Jonah was reduced to uselessness in this episode… the best thing about him in this episode was Dan’s joke about pulling Jonah’s love child out of Amy.
- Isn’t it funny how the idea of the birth of a baby possibly meaning the death of a career? The trajectory of a career can certainly be paralleled to a child, and proves to be an interesting literary device here.
- another little debate I enjoyed: the ideas of what you have vs. what you need in the conversation between the photog and Jonah.
- I could’ve done without all the conversation between the two food manufacturers. Fun little cameos, but they didn’t really provide much that I found amusing.
- I said before that Mike might get fired by the end of the season, but if he had a heart attack and croaked, I wouldn’t be surprised, either: his eating habits have been well documented throughout.
- Dan was the silent MVP of the episode: networking with 8 year olds, getting into defining guitar chords emotionally, and the cherry on top: “Lion King and 2 Riddlin.”
What did you think of ‘Baseball’? Feel free to discuss below!