Veep (S07E03) “Pledge”

Never let it be said that Selina Meyer is a woman’s woman. Or even someone who is proud of her gender, because she isn’t. Throughout the series, Selina has never relied on her gender as a crutch. Think about “The Choice” from Season Three. She was repulsed at the idea of using “As a woman.” As she said, men hate that and women who hate women also hate that.

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Despite how she often isn’t taken seriously, Selina soldiers through every obstacle thrown in her path. She doesn’t exactly persevere, but she does survive it all- presidency notwithstanding. The point I’m getting at is that Selina is not someone who defines her success by her gender, but by her accomplishments.

That’s how anyone would want to be defined, right? By their qualifications and not whether they perfectly blend into a United Colors of Benetton ad.

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To talk about real life for a moment, we live in an age where diversity is our strength. Your gender, your race, your background- those are all seen as strengths and are often highlighted over what you can actually bring to the table. I’m being general when I say that, but you’ve either heard something similar or witnessed it for yourself, whether taken seriously or as an object of ridicule.

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In the case of Veep, it’s Talbot’s constant reminder that she is a woman of color that grinds Selina’s gears. Coupled with Catherine’s constant complaining, Selina takes that resentment towards the younger generation and says what I’m sure many of you would like to say to young people these days: stop crying and man the fuck up. You’re not defined by your race, but what you can do.

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It’s honestly one of Selina’s finest moments, and it’s helped that this ends up working in her favor. She was just tired of people like Talbot throwing their race and gender around like it’s their only qualifying factor. But Selina didn’t go into that rant expecting to receive a standing ovation. That was just icing on the cake. But you know, with everything Selina has gone through, this is something that’s been brewing for six seasons.

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So in a way, Selina walks out with a win by episode’s end. Yeah, the Meyer Fund shenanigans aren’t going away, but the public’s perception of her has shifted. She’s the tough, no-nonsense candidate that isn’t into mollycoddling the youth or those who just rely on their diversity as a plus.

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Now does this mean that Selina was selfless this entire episode? Of course not. After all, she only proposed the no-negativity pledge so everyone would get off of her ass, but even that ended up working in her favor due to the positive feedback.

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She didn’t bring up Talbot murdering her boyfriend, but instead pushed Tom James to bring it up instead. However, like Joe Thornhill in Season Three, Talbot coming clean and admitting her crimes ended up doing her a favor.

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Talbot’s meteoric growth in the span of one episode is not unprecedented. She’s a young, fresh face who can represent a turning point for her party. Honestly, with that opening rally, I felt she had a little bit of a Michelle Obama thing going on there. I don’t know if that was intentional, but she brings some energy to the race that candidates like Selina and Tom lack.

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But as Selina points out backstage, for all the energy that Talbot brings, her ideas, like any other candidate, probably won’t pan out. Selina might be running for President because she feels that it’s her turn, but she does have one edge over the others. For better or worse, she has served as both President and Vice President. She didn’t do a great job at either, but she’s been in the hot seat before.

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Despite how quick an episode of Veep flies by, I enjoy how meaty each installment is. We discuss the Meyer Fund, make plans for Selina’s inevitable funeral- much to Gary’s chagrin- and we see her politicking when she attends the fair. This, in turn, gave us some great character moments, like both Kent and Marjorie being kick-ass at carnival games, and Mike proving his worth when his question sparks the non-negative pledge.

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Speaking of Mike, it is again impressive to see how well he’s doing by not being part of Team Selina. Sure, he’s still tagging along and I like how Selina isn’t trying to keep him at a distance, but he’s doing a damn good job. Sure, it’s at Buzzfeed of all places, but the man has to feed his family.

It was also nice to follow-up with his family life and how that could soon be growing if he and Wendy will be on the same page.

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Richard working on both Selina and Jonah’s campaigns finally got more attention as we see how tired he is. Before, he’s been full of the energy we’ve always seen him with, but all that work is catching up to him. Luckily, he’s got a big break with his promotion to Lurlene mayor. I’m curious to see how involved this job will be for him, but I imagine we’ll still see him around both Team Selina and Team Jonah in the episodes to come.

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Then we’ve got Jonah. I swear this man may stumble his way into the White House. The sensitivity training being an absolute bust, the cameras catching a close-up of the words on his hand, and him deep-throating a corn-dog not unlike that one photo of Rick Perry, this week was a bust for Jonah. Fun to watch, though. Plus, he got one of the sensitivity trainers to unload onto him after so much restraint. Only Jonah could do that.

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Curious how his campaign will run now that Amy is on the way. If Dan could survive working for Jonah’s congressional campaign, surely Amy can do just as well for a presidential run. Not like she’s getting much mileage working for Selina at this point anyway.

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Funny, though. Amy was completely resolute in her decision to get this abortion, but for the briefest of moments, we saw her have second thoughts. Those instantly went away when she got the offer from Teddy, but it was interesting to see her show any doubt at all.

This being Veep and since we’ve already had an episode dedicated to abortion, I’m glad that we don’t dwell on this. The entire abortion subplot could’ve easily been done off-screen, but what we get here isn’t politicized. This isn’t that sort of show.

So Selina Meyer has a bit of momentum on her side with her telling the youth to man up, Richard’s got himself a promotion, and Amy is headed to Team Jonah Ryan. Which of these candidates will gain the momentum next? Could Buddy Calhoun be a dark horse in this race? We shall see.