Performer of the Week: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Performer of the Week: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
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Performer of the Week: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Julia Louis-Dreyfus

THE SHOW | Veep

THE EPISODE | “D.C.”

THE AIRDATE | June 23, 2013

The Washington, D.C. of Veep‘s fictitious Vice President Selina Meyer is a toxic place of paranoia, buck-passing and political gamesmanship. But in the HBO comedy’s Season 2 finale, that mood was amped up to insanely comic heights, with series star Julia Louis-Dreyfus deftly taking her titular character from the depths of career despair to the heights of political triumph (and then back, and then back again).

Indeed, as buzz over the current POTUS’ various scandals became deafening, Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina gathered her inner circle and glumly revealed she planned to abandon the ticket, with plans to reemerge as a presidential candidate in six years. Shortly thereafter, however, she learned from POTUS’ chief of staff that her boss was planning to fall on his own sword — clearing the way for a presidential run in a mere 24 months. Louis-Dreyfus wrang every last laugh from the moment, as an elated grin took over Selina’s face and she practically sprinted to find privacy in a West Wing supply closet, dropping to her knees and celebrating her stroke of fortune with total abandon.

Back at her office, Selina’s mood of invincibility gave her a great opportunity to razz POTUS’ loathsome liaison Jonah, in quite possibly the best exchange in Veep‘s two-season history.

Selina: Jonah, hey listen, settle something for me: You like to have sex and you like to travel?
Jonah: Yes, ma’am.
Selina: Then you can, f*** off.

Louis-Dreyfus’ relentlessly foul-mouthed Selina had already used that profane phrase three times against Jonah earlier in the episode, but this time, she merely mouthed it, grinning wickedly and slicing the air with her hand.

Veep being Veep, though, the ups and downs were just beginning. While attending a children’s science fair, Selina absorbed the news that the President had flip-flopped again, leading to a hasty exit (“I gotta get out of here before I set fire to one of these nerds”) and a scene of the veep back in her quarters, screaming desperately into a pillow.

The episode crescendoed into a ferociously funny frenzy, with Selina convinced that the President — on his way to her office for a very rare one-on-one — planned to drop her from his ticket and end her political aspirations. “I gotta jump before I get stabbed in the back,” she declared, while desperately demanding that her director of communications write “all possible statements that you can think of.”

But the panic was all unnecessary. It turned out POTUS was indeed stepping down after all, leading Selina to embrace her staffers, plant a massive kiss on her estranged husband, and respond to a secret service agent’s report that the president had left the building by shouting, ”Who gives a flying f***?” before dissolving in giggles. “Sorry! I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help it!” Selina quickly added.

Nor could we help rewarding Louis-Dreyfus’ brilliance with our Performer of the Week title.

HONORABLE MENTION: Falling Skies‘ Doug Jones and Defiance‘s Trenna Keating each pulled off neat tricks, delivering resonant performances from beneath a layer of prosthetic. As Volm emissary Cochise, Jones regaled a wary President Hathaway — and us — with the reasoning of why he is friend not foe, longing as he is to rebuild a home world he has never set foot on. Keating, meanwhile, hit a very different, dark note as Doc Yewll’s true colors fully bled through. In a chilling sequence, we learned the shocking extent of her alliance with Mayor Nicky — an undercover Indogene — and then watched as she snuffed her friend/staged a grim suicide. Holy shtako!

What performance knocked your socks off this week? Sound off below!


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