Performer of the Week: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia-Louis-Dreyfus-VeepA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Julia Louis-Dreyfus



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!

Comments (19)

  • Agreed, she was brilliant this week.

    Comment by RyanC – June 29, 2013 12:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Everyone was great in Veep this week. I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many great insults trotted out in one episode before.

    Comment by Aleksa – June 29, 2013 12:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • could not be anyone else…

    Comment by Niki – June 29, 2013 12:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Pretty surprised Jon Hamm didn’t get it.

    Comment by Avais – June 29, 2013 12:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Seriously shocked that Jon Hamm didn’t get it.

      Comment by anna – June 29, 2013 01:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Overrated actor on an overrated show. There’s your answer.

      Comment by nicole carmello (@c_monique32) – June 29, 2013 02:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Do you think the finale will be Jon Hamm’s Emmy submission? I’ve been wondering that. I think he should submit the one where Sally catches him and Sylvia. That scene in the elevator where he’s trying to collect himself is pretty fantastic. But…he gets more screen time in the finale.

      Comment by Britta Unfiltered – June 29, 2013 08:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • God I love this show.

    Comment by karen o – June 29, 2013 02:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • this is my new addiction “Sue did the President call?” is like my sms ringtone #kidding! Veep is crazy and Selina Meyer and her staff diserved attenion from everybody!

    Comment by ilona – June 29, 2013 04:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Give her the Emmy already! That was the episode this season.

    Comment by King – June 29, 2013 05:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “Do you know what they’re celebrating in there?” “Yes…They’re celebrating…because you’re not in there.”

    Comment by Britta Unfiltered – June 29, 2013 08:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Veep, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus performance in this finale was beyond awesome. She is absolutely amazing as Selina Meyer. And props to the others too. The cast is incredible and is doing a great job.

    Comment by Thiciane Diniz – June 29, 2013 09:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved the episode where she did the charity jog and received the flowers and it said “When the gun goes off try not to swear.” In the finale, besides the 3 “f$#k offs” to Jonah was when she screamed “f#%k” into the pillow and then in the end with the kids “Politics are people”.

    Comment by Hector – June 29, 2013 11:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Season two was a huge step up from season one. Just sad that it’s going to be quite awhile before season three.

    Comment by HAP – June 30, 2013 12:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seaon two was a huge step up from season one. Sad that it’s going to be a while before season three.

    Comment by HAP – June 30, 2013 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jon Hamm’s performance in the finale was beyond phenomenal. I’ve watched the episode 3 times since last Sunday just to re-watch him…his look to Sally in the final scene takes my breath away!

    Comment by Gail – June 30, 2013 02:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes, it certainly was. I’m sure he’s a very close second. It’s no shame coming in second to JL-D.

      Comment by april-ann – June 30, 2013 05:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • More people should be watching this show. It’s such quick and witty humor.

    Comment by Jason Paul – June 30, 2013 09:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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