🎉 Fav Scene Friday 🎉: “Veep” and Jonah’s Meltdown

There’s a lot of brilliant stuff happening every week, but I thought I’d take some time each Friday to fill you guys in on the clips I watch over…and over…and over…and then send them to my friends. And then watch it again, but, like, this time imagining what they’re thinking while they’re watching it. Everyone does that right?

I’ll try my best to keep a mix of current and past seasons of running shows, but I had to start here, with my all-time favorite episode of “Veep”; Season 5, Episode 9.

(*Season 5 + 6 Spoilers Ahead*)

Below, Timothy Simon’s fields a call during a campaign event and shoots some down-home footage for his Congressional ad:

God, I can’t stop laughing at this. There are so many things that make this a perfect clip for me. Let’s start with the first half; Jonah’s elementary school phone call.

  1. Of COURSE he would do this. One of the most brilliant things about this show is that I believe every single thing a character does as organic, but I still marvel at “WHO TF PITCHED THAT?” Who thought, “you know what? He should have a sexually explicit conversation in front of a bunch of children?” This entire episode was constructed from bits and pieces of Catherine’s season-spanning documentary and I love how they capitalize on that structural freedom taking them out of the White House and into whatever insane scenarios the writer’s can construct. Like they probably spent hours filming this 20 second clip, but it pays off every. single. time.
  2. And then there’s Uncle Jeff. While the brilliant Peter MacNicol was literally denied the Emmy nomination because of this scene,  his frenetic and furious take-down of Jonah even within the seven seconds of this scene perfectly highlights what a perfect match they created for Jonah, just as he was getting closer to power. Not only does he despise and abuse Jonah with an almost unmatched physical and verbal acidity, but he bares a certain resemblance to his nephew. Everyone hates Jonah, but Uncle Jeff is the Jonah of Christmas Future. He doesn’t seem to be well liked by anyone on the team, insults everyone he meets, throws fits and tantrums at such heights that even Selene Meyer doesn’t reach at the peak of her rage- and yet he wields a finite political influence that gives him that same power that Jonah is seeking. He has authority and influence. And god can you imagine how worse Jonah would be if he had that too?
  3. I touched on this earlier, but with the conceit that this episodes is entirely comprised of Catherine’s documentary footage, it was exciting to see the camera work similarly engage in new tactics. The sudden pull-back reveal to the elementary school gets me every time. We don’t get a lot of those visual shock gags in this show and, once again, I love how much the writers and crew took advantage of the creative freedom allowed in this non-traditional episode.

I could write you five more bullet points about Jonah chopping wood, but it honestly boils down to the successful physical comedy from Timothy Simons- and the perfect foil that is Sam Richardson. It was one of those brilliant moments (and there were like 50 this episode) where that time you thought, “huh, that’s weird” a few episodes ago is suddenly clarified, and intensified in hilarity. Watching Jonah struggle is always fun, but there’s something about it being an physical beat-down (versus the usual verbal/intellectual/emotional attacks) that, again, makes this scene such a stand out.

Timothy Simon’s as “the Veep’s resident creep” has always been a highlight in this show for me. It would only make sense that the series’ least competent character carries himself with the most amount of confidence. Armando Iannucci so successfully played the character in and out of the White House, coming back each time (in Jonah’s own words) like a MRSA infection. However, David Mandel’s elevation of the character to his own bid for Congress took both Jonah’s storyline (and Timothy Simon’s performance) to the next level. Not only did the move play well into Season 6 as a way to keep the cameras on Capitol Hill, but it allowed the show’s most infamous douchebag (sry, Dan) a chance to get everything he ever wanted; power.


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