Thursday, April 18, 2024

Review: “Veep” Comes to a Brilliant End After 7 Seasons, As Selina Does the Worst Thing Ever and Is Eclipsed by Tom Hanks





“VEEP” is done and it has more shocking deaths in its finale than “Game of Thrones” in tonight’s episode.

Cheers to David Mandel and the writing staff for creating a perfect ending to the best sitcom HBO has ever produced, and one of the best of all time. We will so miss “Veep”as it not just mirrored the insanity of presidential politics, but became prescient about them too.

Selina Meyer, a terrible person, finally gets what she wants: to be elected president. Remember, her brief previous stay in the White House was because she was vice president, and the president had to resign.

After losing her election, Selina licked her wounds and plotted a comeback. Tonight, she fulfilled her destiny. Just when it looked like she’d lose her party’s nomination and all was lost, Selina had an epiphany and let loose. She did the worst thing ever in her seven seasons, and threw her devoted aide, Gary, under the bus. That was after selling out to the Chinese, agreeing to let Tibet be returned to the Chinese, and backing a platform change to ban gay marriage– even though her gay daughter is married.

But Selina’s garnering of the nomination means she’ll have to fix the scandal surrounding her Selina Fund (a gloss on the Clinton Foundation). It’s her only way to win the presidency with her slogan, “Man Up.” So she turns on her best friend and most loyal servant, Gary (Tony Hale), who is dragged away by the FBI as Selina accepts the nomination.

It’s what Trump has done to his allies, to Manafort and Cohen, so it makes sense. Later, during a flash forward, Dan says of Selina and Gary in prison: “I heard she never even visited him.”

Selina’s epiphany gives Julia Louis Dreyfus scenes every actor would beg for. JLD literally turns colors and burns bright as she sets in motion these last few scenes where she brokers her future. She destroys candidate Tom James (Hugh Laurie) with a #MeToo scenario that peels the wallpaper off the walls. It’s a glorious moment as Selina convinces Tom’s aide to fess up on TV about their affair.

And then there’s Jonah (Timothy Simons) who has worked his way up from lowest of the lowliest aides on Capitol Hill to unlikely congressman and presidential candidate. Simons is more than hilarious. He is gifted. Jonah is now married to his own sister. He is vile in every way imaginable, on the wrong side of every topic. He has no IQ. He’s the perfect satire of a congressman. He’s waging war against “Math,” saying it’s an Islamic invention, just as Trump has denounced science.

And so Jonah is offered the role of Selina’s Veep. Her explanation of why that’s a safe place to stick him– her description of a vice president, her original role– is a clip that must be played over and over. JLD has never been better. Horror comedy at its best.

In the end, the show flashes forward 24 years to Selina’s state funeral. Her old PR guy, Mike, is now anchor of the CBS Evening News. He’s narrating the funeral live, when suddenly there’s Breaking News. Someone far more famous has died: Tom Hanks. Mike drops the Selina funeral and starts eulogizing Hanks, who’s died at age 86. Once again, Selina is forgotten, relegated to secondary news.

BIG SPOILER: The series finale has a lovely Easter egg, the return of Sufe Bradshaw as Sue, who is once again Selina’s secretary. Bradshaw was on for four seasons, from 2012-2016, and then left for health reasons. Sue’s absence wasn’t really explained (if I’m wrong, forgive me). Tonight she returns and there’s a scene that parallels her first one from Season 1. Nice. Bradshaw looks great, too.






Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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