Season finale review: 'Veep - 'Election Night': Ma'am up!
A review of the "Veep" season finale coming up just as soon as I have incompatible shoes for this carpet...
Earlier this season, I wondered if the show might find some way for the election to end with Selina as someone else's vice-president, allowing the show to revert to its original set-up. A part of me was amused by the thought of the contortions necessary to get us to that point, while another was dismayed at the idea that the show might have to hit the reset button so hard, given how much fun Selina-as-POTUS has been.
We'll see if season 5 actually goes through with this tiebreaker mess, where Tom James becomes president, and Selina perhaps becomes his veep. But if the level of execution remains as good as it was throughout "Election Night," and this whole great season, then I don't know how much I care exactly what job Selina has by the time it's all over. Especially if that means that Hugh Laurie will be around even more next year, with Tom now in a position to actually do something about the many nincompoops Selina keeps employing.
This one was a delight, with the bulk of the cast crammed into that one small space for the whole episode, swapping insults and praise as the results kept see-sawing between the two candidates. It mixed a lot of running gags both physical (Mike's static shock problem) and emotional (everyone's hatred of Selina's friend Karen, Selina again complaining about Katherine only moments after their uncomfortable mother-daughter talk) with occasional beats of honest emotion (Selina sitting alone in the bedroom in the teaser, Selina's reaction to Amy's return, Dan realizing he was missing everything) mixed in to remind us of just how important this night is even to this pack of idiots. Selina's tearful collapse into Amy's arms felt like every aspect of the show all at once, with her again snubbing her daughter for someone she works with, and Gary struggling mightily to find a way to get in on that hug.
And it all built to Selina's amazing, profane rant against the electorate that seemed to be dooming her to the most mortifying defeat in American political history, as she complained that the rulebook has been torn up, "and America is wiping its nasty ass with it!!!!!" That, folks, was Julia Louis-Dreyfus dropping the mic for the Emmys.
Speaking of which, it feels like if any show has a chance to break the "Modern Family" Emmy streak, it's this one. And after the year they've had, it would be more than deserved.
Some other thoughts:
* Earlier this week, I went to LA to moderate another panel with the "Veep" cast, this time featuring everyone in the ensemble other than Sam Richardson. Unlike the one in New York, this one wasn't videotaped, but it was a good and lively discussion. We talked a bit about last week's testimony episode, and they revealed that the producers deliberately withheld script pages until the last possible minute, which put them in the same flummoxed mindset their characters were supposed to be in at that moment. When I asked Reid Scott and Anna Chlumsky about their reactions to the Jonad File list of nicknames, for instance, they said that Dan and Amy were responding in pretty much the same way that they were, because it was the first time they'd heard them all said aloud in a row like that.
* Also, while this is exactly what you would expect actors in this situation to say, all of them sounded very optimistic about the transition from Armando Iannucci to new showrunner David Mandel. Louis-Dreyfus worked with him on "Seinfeld" (and occasionally on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), and several of the show's other core writers are sticking around. Obviously, we won't know until we see it if this is a "Community" season 4 situation or a "Cheers" at mid-run situation (where the Charles brothers dropped out right after Kirstie Alley's arrival, but the show remained great, albeit different).
* Loved seeing Jonah bask in his newfound popularity as "the testicle guy," then bomb utterly when "Band of the Horses" leaves and he has to vamp for the audience by describing the premise of "The A-Team" to them. I will miss this whole show while it's gone, but I may miss Jonah and Richard Splett most of all.
* Someone on this show either really dislikes Nate Silver, or just thought a character like him would make an easy target during a storyline about an election where nothing goes according to projections.
* Not only does Brad Leland return as Selina's rival nominee Bill O'Brien, but we get another NBC alum in Scott Adsit from "30 Rock" as the CNN host who insults Amy on her way out of the studio. Hoping to get more of both next season.
What did everybody else think?