Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big  Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders Watch: Oscar Isaac And Jessica Chastain Are At War In First Trailer For 'A Most Violent Year' Watch: Oscar Isaac And Jessica Chastain Are At War In First Trailer For 'A Most Violent Year' Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Review: A Diva, A Dog & 20 Years In D.C. On 'Veep'

The Playlist By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist May 6, 2012 at 10:30PM

If over the last couple of episodes of "Veep" we've been critical of the writers overstuffing their plot, that's not an issue this time around. But unfortuantely, the titular subject of the episode (who really only comes into play in the last third), is also the least interesting.
1

Veep
Season 1, Episode 3: "Catherine"

If over the last couple of episodes of "Veep" we've been critical of the writers overstuffing the plot, that's not an issue this time around. But unfortunately, the titular subject of the episode (who really only comes into play in the last third), is also the least interesting.

Tonight's episode finally finds Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) searching for a suitable candidate to round out her Clean Jobs Commission, one that will keep Senator Doyle, who is backing her Filibuster Reform bill, happy. But it won't be without jumping through a few hoops first. There is also the oil lobby who wants to be appeased by having someone from their industry involved. Trying to please both sides, Selina decides to go with ex-oil man Chuck Furnham -- someone who was in the industry, but no longer is -- in a hope that she can please the lobby's need for a friendly face, and Doyle's desire to keep the Commission oil-free (which they would be, technically speaking). But neither side is happy. Selina's pick is not considered an insider enough for the oil folks, while Doyle thinks he's too connected.

While they sort that mess out, Selina's staff is also tasked with finding her a dog to adopt, a gesture that won't only be good for the press, but hopefully make up for the neglectful upbringing of her college-age daughter, Catherine (Sarah Sutherland). Studying Experimental Theater, she's rather reserved but not without a quip when needed (White House staffer Jonah, played by Timothy C. Simmons, is the victim of a couple of particularly deadpan zingers). Selina and Catherine don't quite understand each other, but Selina is eager to try and forge some kind of relationship with her daughter. But try as she might, she's not only distracted by the Clean Jobs Commission fiasco, but also by the party celebrating her 20th anniversary in Washington, one that needs to be scaled down slightly after a local reporter called the veep a "diva."

Everything comes to a head at her party, where both Doyle and oil lobbyist Sidney Purcell are looking to square away the name that will be added to the Clean Jobs Commission. Once again showing himself to a sly puppetmaster, hot shot veep staffer Dan Egan (Reid Scott) somehow manages to pull off making Chuck Furnham a welcome choice to both sides. However, the dog adoption is put firmly on hold when Jonah reveals the First Lady (FLOTUS) is also planning to get a dog, and doesn't want her press thunder stolen. Selina, who had let Catherine pick the dog they are now not getting, expresses relief that the mangy mutt her daughter selected won't be coming with them. But of course, Catherine, now hearing her mother's true feelings about the dog, is hurt.

The introduction of the veep's daughter into the storyline is a compelling idea, but one that for now doesn't quite work if only because Catherine's naiveté is distracting. She is upset (and somewhat surprised) that the veep's staff do what Selina says and even if it might be wrong or ridiculous. Yes-men in Washington? No way. And she doesn't understand why the Vice President Of the United States has her staffers make sure that Hurricane Selina is taken off the official list of storm names that could be used. Is it that vain? Perhaps. But it's pretty plain to most people why the veep wouldn't want her name associated, even tangentially, to a potentially destructive hurricane. But more importantly, Catherine just isn't the foil to Selina the show needs, with a personality that sees her quickly fade to the background, especially when the rest of the cast of characters are so sharply defined.

Tighter and leaner, "Veep" finally showed some needed bite -- particularly in the Clean Jobs dance which nicely twists the knife into political manuevering on Capitol Hill -- even if "Catherine" is still uneven overall. It's a problem when the show's funniest moment plays during the end credits. Viewers get treated to an extended extra sequence of Selina greeting her party guests as her bodyman and political encyclopedia Gary (Tony Hale) whispers details in her ear of each person who comes up to shake her hand, so she can add a little personal touch to each interaction. Hale and Louis-Dreyfuss -- who have shown a great spark together -- really shine here, teaming up for an endless array of one liners and awkward moments that nicely exposes how empty the gladhanding in D.C. truly is. We laughed harder here than at any other moment of the series so far. [B-]

This article is related to: TV Reviews, Veep


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates