Can Selina Meyer find a silver lining in the political cloud hanging over the White House?
That's her challenge in the Season 2 premiere of "VEEP" after her party takes a major shellacking in the midterm elections. While in Season 1, the buffoonish Jonah was our only view in the administration, "Midterms" starts with us meeting more of the president's staff (though he is still visibly absent), and not surprisingly, they're not much more professional. It doesn't take long for Selina and White House strategist Kent Davison to get in a fight over who will enter and exit the Oval Office first. Meanwhile, Amy must rush to the hospital – where we meet her delightfully asinine sister – because her dad may have had a stroke. Mike is drowning in debt after buying a boat and Gary has a girlfriend, who, though attractive, may be stranger than he is.
The HBO satire takes a hilariously cynical approach to politics, and the comic devil is in the details. Some of our favorites:
Selina's perfect explanation of what it means to stump for a candidate: "I fluffed them, now go f--k em."
The rise of big data in politics. Much has been written about "big data" and its role in the 2012 election. This season offers a caricature of the empirical gurus who worked on the Obama campaign, from the lowly, young number-cruncher who tips Selina off to her campaigning advantage (and is compared to a character in "The Matrix"), to the data-obsessed senior strategists Kent Davison.
Ben, the White House chief of staff's giant coffee mug. "It's the only thing I would save if this building catches on fire."
Gary borrows from his "Arrested Development" alter-ego. Before playing an odd-ball with a weird, mommy-issue-ridden relationship with his self-involved boss, Tony Hale played an odd-ball with a weird, mommy-issue-ridden relationship with his self-involved mother on "Arrested Development." When finding a rape whistle among Selina's things, Gary remarks, "It's not like she is ever going to need that," a nod to this classic Buster Bluth line.
Selina Meyer's morning show marathon. After Selina's staff says in a hundred different ways, each more hilarious than the last, that she will not be on the morning shows, the president's staff asks her to pull a Rubio and appear on all the morning shows to be "the face of failure." Hopefully Marco Rubio figured out how to say "plurality" without looking like a fish.
Amy's sister sums up the entire crux of the show in one insult: "You work for the vice president, it's not like it's Google."