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S04.E07: Mommy Meyer

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A dramatic incident in the White House leaves the president shaken, while at a Q&A, Tom James speaks out and makes her day even worse. As Mike tries to sell the press on Selina’s Families First bill, Sue and Gary prepare for the president’s White House dinner with old friends. Jonah and Richard inadvertently reveal a terrible secret, while Dan and Amy find themselves at a lobbying event for the concrete industry.

 

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"Richard T Splett...I don't know why I said that; my middle name is John"

"SA...SHI...MI............SU...SHI"

I look forward to his scenes.

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So I'm not missing Dan and Amy in the White House. The Kent, Ben, and Bill trio is killing it for me, and Richard.... Just pure joy.

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Tom James is proving to be as socially adept, genuine, mature, unassuming, and shrewd a politician as Selina is not. Perfect he's not, but knowing when and how to apologize is certainly a highly useful skill in the political arena. Note how he cleverly maneuvered the truth out about the data breach and got the guys on his side. Perhaps it was carefully orchestrated, but he carried it off in such a way that doesn't make you think he's an ass...despite having pissed off Ben and Mike at various points, he still manages to win them over by the end of the episode.

 

There hasn't really been a quintessentially good character in this show, and I'm curious whether that will last. This could either go uphill or downhill for him and am thinking that there's more to the story with his son. In the original running mate selections, did Kent say that his son was disabled from serving in the military? I'm also wondering if there will be more to the White House intruder plot -- seeing as they were targeting "Tom James and that bitch," is there some reason why?

 

Poor Mike can't seem to catch a break. His awkwardness on the podium was hilarious, he gets made fun of for ducking, and has to try and prep Selina for a debate on the entire world. It's no wonder his poor wife had the check unceremoniously dumped on her after he barely remembers her birthday.

 

I don't even know how you go from mental health charity to concrete lobbying to sex workers with STDs in the span of a minute, but somehow the lobbyists managed it. A virtuous circle, indeed.

 

Can't say Selina came off too well in this episode - out of touch with the people and with her old friends, controlling mother, self-congratulatory and conceited about her lone shining moment of having done well in the first debate. She did have some great lines though - "it's like calling a brain tumor Selina's cyst!"

Edited by Victura
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Although Selina is uniformly awful, one thing where I want to give her the benefit of the doubt was the dinner with her old friends. I felt like choosing pizza and ice cream was truly Selina wanting to reminisce about the old days and not an intentional slight. But of course Selina can't read a room so she didn't notice the obvious disappointment on their faces.

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So I'm not missing Dan and Amy in the White House. The Kent, Ben, and Bill trio is killing it for me, and Richard.... Just pure joy.

Ben is as awesome a character as I can remember.

It briefly occurred to me that Mike was going to quit; he seemed to be pushed to his limit and then some during the dressing down from Selina.

I wonder how realistic the protocol was re: the intruders. I too would assume there are secret tunnels leading to safe rooms accessible from pretty much anywhere in the White House.

Edited by Lone Wolf

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Ben is as awesome a character as I can remember.

It briefly occurred to me that Mike was going to quit; he seemed to be pushed to his limit and then some during the dressing down from Selina.

I wonder how realistic the protocol was re: the intruders. I too would assume there are secret tunnels leading to safe rooms accessible from pretty much anywhere in the White House.

I agree, re: Mike. I'm wondering if they are going to push more people out in order to get everyone, including Amy and Dan back in.

 

Jonah and his own personal Veep are becoming my highlight. They are so clueless together, it's awesome. 

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Ben is as awesome a character as I can remember.

This.  If he ever leaves, I will cry. 

 

 

Jonah and his own personal Veep are becoming my highlight. They are so clueless together, it's awesome.

I just love Richard. 

 

 

Although Selina is uniformly awful, one thing where I want to give her the benefit of the doubt was the dinner with her old friends. I felt like choosing pizza and ice cream was truly Selina wanting to reminisce about the old days and not an intentional slight. But of course Selina can't read a room so she didn't notice the obvious disappointment on their faces.

She really didn't deserve all the digs her friend was putting in.  She had the moral high ground (how rare is that?) until the end where she finally snapped.  That, and giving Catherine shit for eating ice cream.  Why was Gary there the whole time, though? 

 

Am I the only one who thinks that Mike has actually improved as a presidential press secretary?  That he's not nearly as incompetent as he's been in the past, stumbling over his response to the supposed Tom James gaffe notwithstanding.  In the past he seemed blissfully unaware of his shortcomings, and now he seems more painfully aware of them. 

 

The Amy and Dan show is interesting, but just not that interesting.  They need to be back in the fold.

Edited by cattykit
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Ben is as awesome a character as I can remember.

 

Ben is now the funniest man in America.  Good thing Selina is too busy worrying that Tom James is the most popular.    

 

The showrunner has rightly fallen in love with Kevin Dunn.  In the first five minutes, Ben got off what would be another character's season's-worth of memorable lines, including, "Like Jesus,"  (crucified on the Hill), and the "That's the dream" rejoinder about the Meyer First bill.  There is something deeply frightened and humane in his eyes, as if he allows himself to feel and know the terror that other people suppress -- yet  still reacts from it just as blindly, if far more scathingly.

 

That quality was the same in his otherwise very different character on LUCK.  Terror mated with revulsion, and yet something almost innocent, as well.  And still a tiny spark of appreciation of his own wit, and the even smaller hope that someone -- anyone -- might match him.

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Why would Mike be solely responsible for prepping Selina for the debate. That seems like a collective thing to me. Tom James was right though; the shooter is as much of a victim. The government doesn't give two shits for our returning soldiers; cf., the VA fiasco, and historically hasn't either. Then there's a shooting, and we all go, "how could this have happened?"

 

I like how everyone was so enamored of him going "off script" for the apology. That's such a transparent move, but it was effective.

 

I don't think that Selina was trying to slight her friends with pizza and ice cream either, but did you look at the pizza? Have the chef make gourmet pizza and homemade ice cream and fancy it up. I'm surprised Gary didn't think of that.

 

I'm glad to see Selina did well in the debate. She's not completely inept, and she needs some wins here and there. 

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It is funny to see how Mike was probably the one closest to jumping early in the season, has now proven to be one of Selina's most reliable team members. He is good at what he does. I do worry about the other shoe dropping with the likes of Mike and Ben though. Ben's stress has been well documented, and Mike is showing his cracks.

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Can't say Selina came off too well in this episode - out of touch with the people and with her old friends, controlling mother, self-congratulatory and conceited about her lone shining moment of having done well in the first debate. She did have some great lines though - "it's like calling a brain tumor Selina's cyst!"

In general, she's portrayed as being more concerned about her electoral prospects than anything else.

 

Her reaction to the San Antonio shooting seemed pretty callous, like the priority is having Mike use his template to express condolences so her administration looks like it's caring.

 

Or maybe it's just a commentary on self-absorbed politicians.

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Do you think that press secretaries don't have a 'thoughts and prayers' template? I thought it was hilarious and real. 

 

It's the election, so Selina is mostly concerned about winning the election. The Patriot Act is expiring, and regardless of one's position on it, Congress is taking the week off to go home and fund raise, rather than, you know, actually working. It doesn't surprise me that she's focused on getting re elected. 

 

There's no way Ben is ever going to resign or retire. If he did, he'd die within the week. 

Edited by ganesh
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My thoughts and prayers go out to the server for double posting. I know it's a trying time here on Memorial Day while many of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, neighbors, and friends are still risking their lives half a world away so we have the freedom to post about the fake president on an internet message board.

Edited by ganesh
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Do you think that press secretaries don't have a 'thoughts and prayers' template? I thought it was hilarious and real. 

 

It wouldn't surprise me in the least.  Just like newspapers have prepared obituaries while the person is still alive.  I'm sure the WH has canned scripts for every contingency.

 

There's no way Ben is ever going to resign or retire. If he did, he'd die within the week. 

No, but I will.  He can't leave.

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I wonder how realistic the protocol was re: the intruders. I too would assume there are secret tunnels leading to safe rooms accessible from pretty much anywhere in the White House.

 

It made sense to me that they would keep POTUS where she was, rather than moving her when there was an intruder running around.  Though I would agree they must have contingencies in place to get her out of there pretty quickly if need be.   

 

 

Why was Gary there the whole time, though?

 

Even for Gary, it seemed very odd that he was just sitting in the corner watching the event.  I didn't understand why Selena wouldn't have excused him, or at least sent him to another room, so he could be in earshot, but not just sitting there. 

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I don't think that Selina was trying to slight her friends with pizza and ice cream either, but did you look at the pizza? Have the chef make gourmet pizza and homemade ice cream and fancy it up. I'm surprised Gary didn't think of that.

 

I thought the Pizza and the dessert all looked gourmet.  I'm guessing the White House chef did indeed prepare the food, which i'm sure Gary was in charge of making sure.

 

If Kevin Dunn doesn't get some Emmy love this season i'm going to be pissed, he is bringing it as Ben w/ the one-liners left and right.

 

I was really shocked that Mike didn't quit this episode, but I guess it would be too obvious if all her original staff...minus Sue and Gary were to leave.  I doubt they would accept his resignation anyways.

 

I loved Amy's realization that she misses the action at the WH compared to what she is doing now.

Edited by CMH1981
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I think Amy should change her hair.  I get that they're trying to make her severe, but her body language is TOO rigid and her hair has been the same the entire time has it not?  Whereas everyone else's goes through phases.  She's all hard angles and clenched body language and I find it unsettling.  I find it unrealistic that she's not trying to keep up with modern styles literally at all.

 

Sorry for that shallowness.  This was a great episode with so much densely packed in.  Last week I watched the episode and felt like I watched nothing.

 

Out of all the things Selina's done, I was so horrified she wouldn't let Catherine have ice cream.  That one really hit home for me.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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I went to see  Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy in "The Kathy & Mo Show" about a million years ago, in NY.  And here they are, together again (-ish)!  Made me happy and nostalgic.

 

Guess we don't have to worry about flipping the ticket anymore.

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Out of all the things Selina's done, I was so horrified she wouldn't let Catherine have ice cream.  

But I didn't understand why.

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I figured it was a weight thing since Selina brought up the baby fat.

 

Like everyone else, I just adore Ben. AND Richard. 

 

I loved the visual of Selina being completely surrounded by the Secret Service so you couldn't see her.

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I assume she doesn't want Catherine to gain weight because it would reflect badly on her, poor for her image, etc.  She's a control freak.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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I find it unrealistic that she's not trying to keep up with modern styles literally at all.

 

I don't think Amy really gives a shit. As long as she's healthy and in shape, she just wants to work. That's the tragic part of her meltdown all over Selina. She doesn't do anything but work for Selina 24/7 for years, probably over a decade. They finally get into the White House and Selina basically is blowing it. 

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I went to see  Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy in "The Kathy & Mo Show" about a million years ago, in NY.  And here they are, together again (-ish)!  Made me happy and nostalgic.

 

And Kathy Najimy has lost a ton of weight.

 

Now that Selena is President and running for re-election it really kind of sticks out that they never mention which party she belongs to. They were able to work around that when she was Veep but it's a more glaring omission in an election campaign. Especially since they seem (?) to have gotten down to the two main party candidates: her and whoever is running against her both have chosen Veep candidates, and you don't do that until you've cinched the party nomination, so apparently Selina either won the nomination or nobody ran against her. Two weeks ago was the convention for her party. Which party is it?

 

The shooting incident made it seem like she's the Republican candidate because Democrats will usually pay lip service to gun control  after these incidents while Republicans just want to avoid it. I really didn't see anything wrong with what Tom James was trying to say except that he didn't manage to get it all out: we have a former marine with some obvious mental issues here and we have a problem with how we treat our vets and a problem with the easy access to guns. That does make him a victim too, whether anyone wants to hear that or not. 

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They walk the line with the party affiliation, but my guess is that she comes down more on the democrat side

 

- Families First certainly seems like a democratic leaning bill

- During the primary debate last season, Doyle made some remark about worrying that he'd "endorsed a Nazi" during Selina's "Repel" riffing

- She was a former Maryland Senator (Maryland's had 2 Democrat senators since the late 80s)

- Her opponent in the presidential debate is Texas Senator Bill O'Brien. (Texas has had 2 Republican senators since the early 90s)

 

I kind of hope they never address the party, though. And just refer to everyone as either from "The Party" or "The Other Party." It let's them send up politics without devolving into party characteristics.

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Did they ever really explain why the press started calling it the "Mommy Meyer" bill?  Is it just b/c she is a woman and you associate women w/ a bill about families?  

 

It really pissed me off that they were raking Mike over the coals for the press giving the bill that name.  It wasn't his fault and he tried to get the bill back on track.  I love this show and will stick w/ it to the end, but Selina is really becoming a monster here.  I know they are going somewhere w/ her treatment of her original staff and she will come around eventually but damn if it isn't hard to watch.

Edited by CMH1981

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Going back to party affiliation, I think Selina would be democrat. There was the episode last year where the president switched positions on abortion to pro life, they had to come up with a new position. 

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- Families First certainly seems like a democratic leaning bill

 

Families First actually sounds like one of those conservative group names that push evangelical Christian principals (Focus on the Family, Family Research Council - anything with "family" in its name is typically a conservative group). At best it's some generic feel-good bill with "family" attached to it.

 

However, you make good points about her being Senator from Maryland and her opponent being from Texas. Nice detective work!

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Families First actually sounds like one of those conservative group names that push evangelical Christian principals (Focus on the Family, Family Research Council - anything with "family" in its name is typically a conservative group). At best it's some generic feel-good bill with "family" attached to it.

 

However, you make good points about her being Senator from Maryland and her opponent being from Texas. Nice detective work!

It's a bill to provide assistance to Single Mothers though, right. Or at least that's what it was in it's first iteration. This episode seemed to indicate it was being lost in the amendments. At least that's what her friends were indicating.It seems universal daycare focused in principle, though.

 

Though I do agree with you about the name. Family-named bills seem to be typically tied to conservative values.

Edited by Traveller519

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Totally agree that Ben rules, and Richard is gaining for me.

 

However, does anyone else feel that anger is beginning to be more important than laughter? I  think there's a lot of ugliness lately, which isn't being balanced by humor. Just me?  Okay. 

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I think the more cynical/angrier the show gets, the funnier it is.  No one quite does insults the way Iannucci does them.

Edited by Irlandesa
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No one quite does insults the way Iannucci does them.

 

So true.  Think of the many, many truly funny jokes rung on Jonah's name.  Who else could make that grade-school-recess trick hilarious?  And part of what makes it so funny, is that the writing and acting underscore that at heart, it's still just a grade-school-recess trick.   

 

I  think there's a lot of ugliness lately, which isn't being balanced by humor.

 

Maybe because the stakes are so much higher.  With Selina's ascension from irresistible irrelevance to the White House, the world's been given the U.S. executive branch from which to hang ourselves.  And in consequence, I think, we've seen what looks like an ersatz family expel its two youngest members after saddling one with its collective blame, and driving the other to professional suicide, through neglect.  Meanwhile, Selina continues to hit all the wrong marks in her performance as an actual mother, while Catherine bears that burden and draws the flak.  In a way that's only funny because it's so precisely awful. 

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Speaking ugliness and insults, I thought the first two season of Veep were much meaner (and funnier) and that it's been dialed down a bit since. I miss the days when Selina called Jonah "jolly green jizzface." Not that Veep's not still enjoyable, of course. Ianucci's "The Thick of It" is the meanest, most blistering comedy I've ever seen. Here's just one random example (Warning: Language. Duh.):

 

Malcolm Tucker: "And I would rain down on you so hard, you would have to be reassembled by fucking air crash investigators. [Phil tries to protest] DO NOT FUCKING interrupt me, son, ever! Now get this into the noggin, right? You breathe a word of this, to anyone, you mincing fucking CUNT, and I will tear your fucking skin off, I will wear it to your mother's birthday party, and I will rub your nuts up and down her leg whilst whistling Bohemian fucking Rhapsody, right!?"

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