Photo: HBO

Veep Ends Season 3 In Some Doubt As To What Winning And Losing Look Like

And...whether there's much of a difference.

When Veep’s second season ended with the show's (never-seen) President announcing that he would not be running for re-election, Selina and her staff got excited, and the viewer got concerned. Though Selina's victories aren't as rare as they used to be, they're still usually spaced pretty far apart, and the idea that she might triumph in this particular pursuit seemed particularly remote. I mean, we know she's in a show called Veep, but she doesn't. Now, as Selina ends her third season having actually been sworn in as President, we can still feel pretty certain that this is just temporary. For all of our "heroes," it's definitely already awful.

Most of us will never run for any kind of public office, but if we'd been considering it even idly, surely Season 3 of Veep has changed our minds by now. God, it looks terrible. When you're not trying to manage the goofs you pay to ingratiate you to the voting public, you're having direct contact with the even bigger morons you hope are going to vote for you and pretending they don't make you sick. You're kissing up to weird tech billionaires, condescending foreign leaders, the opposing candidates you know you'll have to cultivate if you end up beating them, and even the sex idiot your campaign hired to keep you relaxed and happy might find a different way to fuck you by letting his bizarre personal beliefs enter (heh) the public record and taint (hee hee) your campaign. Power would have to be pretty great to warrant this kind of hassle.

Heading into the two-part finale, though, things are looking okay for Team Selina. Her accidental racist flub at the debate let her pull ahead of her opponents, and the acquisition of a titanium-lined crate for her to stand on at campaign events has apparently given her a new excitement for the trail. (As a fellow short, I can attest to how exciting it is to see what the world looks like from just a slightly higher vantage point.) Then she talks a bunch of shit about cheap donors into the recording phone a pompous reporter has left behind. He reports it on his paper's blog; she assumes this means her candidacy is totally doomed; and then Kent brings word that, due to FLOTUS's suicide attempt, the President has decided to resign early to care for her, which means that Selina will be sworn in early. So much for the weepy self-pity that was making her seem really empathetic at a photo op with a pair of troubled New Hampshire immigrants. (The hysterics that Selina and Gary get into in the shelter bathroom make for one of her most human moments of the season, while also being completely hilarious. I mean, why does Leviathan II contain a magnifying glass, of all goddamn things?)

This occurs at the end of the first of the night's two episodes, which would have made it a very suspenseful cliffhanger of a season finale, as we all spent the next year thinking that POTUS would take it all back before the show's return. But no, the actual finale shows Selina getting sworn in, not once but twice. She really did it. She's actually President! But...how will this even work on a show called Veep?! Oh, right: she's still got to run for the party's nomination, and due to some fuckups within the first hours of her presidency -- firing the wrong Cabinet member and pissing off Iran, plus some embarrassingly squeaky Louboutins -- she ends the New Hampshire primary in third place. Out of three. So she could still end up a lame-duck President and Chung's running mate...and that might be the best-case scenario.

It's kind of impossible to enumerate all the elements that make Veep great without choking the funny out of it, so please just trust me when I say that, as summer narrows your TV options, a Veep marathon starting with Season 1 would be an excellent use of your time. It's mean, profane, nasty; no one learns anything; every single performer shines, even in the tiniest roles; and even the biggest dick of a character is loved enough by someone to have had this astonishingly great portrait made and hung at his mom's house.

Screen: HBO

Screen: HBO

The show started as the story of a basically useless politician frustrated by her lack of influence; and even though she's President now, it...still, amazingly, is. It's perfect.

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