Sunday, March 31, 2019

REVIEW: 'Veep' - Selina Announces Her Latest Campaign By Clarifying Why She Wants to Be President in 'Iowa'

HBO's Veep - Episode 7.01 "Iowa"

Selina evaluates her past and present campaigns. Jonah's personal life sparks interest among the press. Amy makes an important decision.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of HBO's Veep.

"Iowa" was written by Lew Morton and directed by David Mandel

This season promises a return to politics for Selina Meyer. She spent the entire sixth season as a private citizen with no job in the government whatsoever. It was a significant change for the comedy which has always enjoyed examining the people in the highest office in the land. It was a rush for Selina to get to that position. She lost and had to move on. She did so by coming to the realization that she wanted it even more. That may have felt repetitive. But now, the show is committing to her presidential run fully again. It's the final story arc for Selina and Veep. It should be fascinating to see if this campaign leads to success for her or if it will end in disaster just like her previous presidential run. She has a history in politics. That makes her an established player and an easy frontrunner in the race for the nomination. She is still making numerous mistakes though. She doesn't wish to learn anything about her past failings. She doesn't want to improve on things to ensure a different outcome this time around. In fact, the only significant change she makes is hiring Leon as her communications director instead of Mike. Of course, it's still her responsibility to get her messaging out in her own words. She knows that she wants to become President of the United States. She just doesn't know how to articulate that in a speech that will actually inspire people to work for her. She is asking for advice from everyone around her. They are candid in their selfish reasons for wanting the office. Selina herself has that moment in private with Gary. She talks about how she has earned this job because of her life in politics and all of the good work she has done for the country. She may have such disdain for the citizens she would be representing. But she feels as if this is something she deserves after everything she has had to deal with. She didn't get to claim victories for the hard work that she did. She doesn't get the recognition for being the first female President. She wants to ensure that history remembers her more fondly. Of course, this expletive-laced rant about what she deserves can't actually be the speech she gives when she announces her campaign. She may note just how disgusting the country has become over time. Jonah even sees a boost in his polling numbers after it's revealed that his new wife is actually his former stepsister. That is so unexpected and hard for everyone to grapple with. It presents as this scandalous story on CBS This Morning that only leads to Jonah making a fool of himself on national television once more. But again, the show is so insightful in saying that the public has wildly different reactions to these types of stories than those actually trying to figure out what the reaction would be. People surprise politicians. As such, Jonah is a more viable candidate. Selina gets into the race. But they will also be facing off with Tom James, who makes his entrance into the field as well. Things may be different now but they are still absolutely outrageous to watch.

All of this also appears through the context of politicians jaded views on how to deal with the high number of mass shootings in this country. That is such a twisted set up for the premise of this premiere. But it's also something this show is more than confident pulling off. Every day seems to come with a story of some tragedy happening somewhere in the country. People have grown desensitized to it. It's just another part of Selina's day where she has to send out a "thoughts and prayers" message. When she makes a more firm statement, she didn't even mean to say it. Of course, Mike is the only person who records it and everyone is still getting adjusted to him being a member of the press instead of as a part of the team. A new campaign manager doesn't even shake up the central team either. Selina just happens to hire the wrong person. So, that means the campaign is already off to a disastrous start. She wants to announce her run for the presidency at the same location as when she first ran for the office. It presents as a nice symmetrical story that can create a compelling narrative. But it also proves just how hypocritical she can be because she failed to pay the bill for that previous event. And now, she has to deal with those consequences. That means she doesn't have a stage put together for this event. She is not surrounded by a crowd of supporters eager to vote for her in this primary. But it's still presented as a victory for her because she can claim she called off the event after the latest horrific shooting. It's sick to watch as the entire team praises the shooting for delivering an alternative story for the day. The focus doesn't have to be on Selena and the mistakes she has made. None of this detracts from the overall message she is trying to project to the American people either. But the speech she delivers is literally the same message as was given to her by a man upset with how out-of-touch she is with the struggles of the working class people. That too shows just how outrageous this entire process can be. Politicians make the appeal to these voters just to get elected even though they never plan on coming to these parts of the country ever again. They don't take them seriously. That's very depressing and proves just how cynical people apparently have to be in order to work in this profession to begin with. But the show reminds everyone how hilarious it can be to watch too.