June 17th, 2012
Guest post by Hollistic Tendancies
Finally someone asks the question that needs to be asked. “You guys, are we seriously going to let the guy with the police-sketch face of a rapist tell us what to do?”
The Veep’s daughter comes to visit, and that Selina starts out by describing this as Parental Ground Zero is a good indication of how views this special relationship. “God, today is like the perfect storm,” she snarls when told her daughter will be there in two hours.
“Tell her I’m canceling the lunch that was supposed to prove there is nothing more important than Catherine, because something more important than Catherine has come up.”
She’s quiet; people talk over her and make perfunctory attempts to talk at her which only provide a painful juxtaposition to their immediately switching gears and ignoring her hesitant replies. She’s taking an experimental theater course and wants to get a dog based on a photo that makes Amy say “It looks astonished, like it’s attached to jumper cables or something” because she thinks “it’s cute.”
And just when I’m all psyched up to find her as annoying and useful as a stubbed toe, she starts to come alive.
I love that it begins when she’s confronted with Jonah. He tries a smarmy opener so smooth and unnatural that it sounds like it’s from a college entrance interview, and then says “I’m Jonah, by the way. I work at the West Wing,” he then ruins his casual veneer with the desperation that makes him add “Of the White House.”
The desperation is probably brought on by how unimpressed Catherine is by this, and to prove to him he’s made it worse instead of better, she replies “As opposed to what, the west wing of Graceland?”
And when the people around them leave because they have jobs to do, he says “Last two on the deck of the Titanic, huh?” in that voice of someone who needs a slap, and Catherine says, “Yeah, I think I might jump.”
Catherine’s meekness sloughs off to reveal her superpower: not just the one all young adults have of pushing her mom’s buttons (“You’re like the only one here who doesn’t know that”) and calling everyone on their shit. (“Don’t you yes men ever say no to her?” Which predictably elicits “Of course they do!” from Selina while Gary and Amy nod frantically and Gary tries to say “Yeah, we do” in a way that is at all convincing. “Exactly,” Catherine says, but Selina’s expression makes it clear this is something else that Selina will be, like, the only one there who doesn’t understand.)
“Not everything is always about you,” Catherine says, and while Selina knows the right answer is to say “I know that everything isn’t always about me!”, here’s where she’s standing when she says that.
This episode is full of well-executed jokes like that: Selina explains they’re changing the name of a hurricane to an incredulous Catherine. “There was gonna be a Hurricane Selina, and that would’ve been a disaster for us!” explains Selina. “Naturally,” Catherine replies.
“Twenty years ago you had no power but you had balls,” my favorite imaginary senator tells Selina in this episode. “Look at you now.”
“Yeah,” she says. “Now I have a dick, and balls.”
I’m not sure she does (the Vice Presidency being famously impotent) but while Selina is celebrating having spent twenty years in Washington politics, her daughter seems to have used her twenty or so years on the planet cultivating the superpower of counteracting the effects that two decades in the political trenches have had on Selina.