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199 words about Veep
Death match in a broom closet
In the near decade since its premiere, Veep has crystalized into the firmest evidence yet that Armando Iannucci is not so much a satirist as a soothsayer, mocking a bloated political class in terms so explicit and detailed that he often ends up foretelling the exact follies and fuck-ups of IRL politicos years before they happen. With this trick always in the foreground, Veep episodes were all the more affecting when they would veer jarringly off into small personal moments. Witness the episode, “East Wing,” where Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) chases Gary (Tony Hale) into a hotel broom closet and ignites the most blistering confrontation of the entire series. One of Veep’s central jokes is the cartoonishly uneven power dynamic of this relationship, but in this scene mutual bloodlust makes them equals. Gary’s face is a rictus of panicked anguish, Selina’s of disdain and fury, and they are tearing the bark off each other in long, jagged strips. The clash is cathartic, acidic, lurid, hinting at a warped but potent intimacy near to the heart of mutual exploitation. It’s a scene straight out of Atlas Shrugged, if Ayn Rand could write worth a shit. She couldn’t, though. She sucked.