TVLine's Performer of the Week: Tony Hale

Tony Hale Performance

THE PERFORMER | Tony Hale

THE SHOW | Veep

THE EPISODE | “East Wing” (April 19)

THE PERFORMANCE | In his four seasons as Selina Meyers’ body man, Veep‘s Gary has raised nearly no complaint about the unrelenting abuse from his beloved bully of a boss. The relationship should be a total bummer, but thanks to Hale’s subtle touches — a grimace here, a smile of unbridled admiration there — we’ve come to love Gary for the stumbling sycophant he is. And we thought we knew everything about him, until Hale let the bag man’s real feelings fly free on Sunday.

The break came as Gary was being harangued for creating not one but two public-relations nightmares for the newly elected president. Hale’s character quietly seethed, years of retorts and rebuttals rising to the surface as Selina insulted the decisions he’d made with only her happiness in mind. When the prez announced, “You are unimportant, OK?,” Hale was on. “You’re wrong,” he said quietly, quickly building to a litany of all of the tiny ways he makes her life better. “I’m your calendar. I’m your Google. I’m your Wilson the volleyball,” Hale said, voice raised, infusing Gary’s rant with a undercurrent of hurt feelings and a touch of hysteria. The best moment came right after Gary yelled the cryptic, “Can you find somebody else who did what I did?!,” a reference to an incident that (for right now) only President Meyers and her right-hand man know about.  A wide-eyed Hale seemed to deflate as Gary realized just how far he’d gone; you could feel the relief roll off the bag man when he was allowed to slip back into his normal routine with Selina moments later.

Phenomenal job, Hale. (Now, if you could just tell us what the heck happened on Labor Day?)

POTWHONORABLE MENTION | In the immediate aftermath of Derek’s tragic death on Grey’s Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo hung a thick cloak of bitterness and rage over Meredith’s grief. (It’s a wonder she didn’t put the doctors who’d failed her husband in the ICU, so withering was the way that she spoke to them. Seriously — has “You did the best you could” ever sounded more damning?) As a result, when her monumental sorrow eventually showed through — as she was being presented with papers to terminate Derek’s life support — it wasn’t just heartbreaking to behold, it was crippling. “You go,” she finally whispered to Derek, a tear rolling down her cheek (right on cue, we might add). “We’ll be fine.” And, thanks to the strength of Pompeo’s performance, we believed her. Mer would be okay. Someday. But after this, neither she, nor we, would be the same.

rapHONORABLE MENTION | Michael Rapaport is of course no stranger to playing loud, in-your-face types – as he in fact did on this week’s black-ish. But with his guest-starring turn a night later on FX’s Louie, he seized on a pathos that was missing from, say, his year-ago Justified run. As Lenny, a cop who used to date one of Louie’s sisters, Rapaport veritably invaded our space as well as Louie’s, his character desperate to elicit a connection yet knowing full well why he never does. But it was in a closing sequence — when Lenny, in the course of confessing suicidal thoughts, realized he had lost his police-issue gun on the streets of New York — that Rapaport explored the depths of the big galoot’s despair. Curling into a ball on the floor of Louie’s living room, he revealed every chink in blowhard Lenny’s armor.

stephenHONORABLE MENTION | It’s not every day – or, like, ever — that Oliver Queen breaks down and opens up. So we can only imagine what an exciting challenge this week’s Arrow posed for Stephen Amell, and the actor more than met it. In an episode with many emotional moments, it’s no surprise that Oliver’s uncharacteristically quiet, soul-baring confession to Felicity on the jet was Amell’s favorite of the season. In revealing the painful memory of killing Thea’s drug dealer and declaring himself a failure as a brother, the actor somehow managed to make the hulking, powerful hero seem small and lost. And let’s not forget that look of heartbreak as Felicity walked away after the pair desperately tried not to say goodbye to each other. (Where’s a comforting blanket when you need one?)

Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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47 Comments
  1. zac says:

    Ellen Pompeo’s acting was the tiny ray of sunshine from that episode. Although I hate what happened, I can’t wait for what Sara Ramirez and Chandra Wilson’s acting chops come through next week.

    • LC says:

      That scene was a ringing reminder of the reconciliation scene Mer and Der shared a couple of weeks ago when he admitted he couldn’t live without her. Her reply was prophetic…”I can live without you, but I don’t want to.”

  2. Trish says:

    For the first time ever, Oliver Queen damn near broke me. This was an emotionally powerful episode for Arrow. And to me, it’s when the show is at its very best. This is what good TV is all about. The Oliver and Felicity scenes felt very indicative of two people with this intense and loyal bond that seem to always rely on one another to bring themselves back to all that grounds them. This is by far one of Arrow’s finest hours of television. It was heartbreaking, it contained depth, it was compelling, intense, and gave the actors layers that they’ve been building toward all season. Bravo.

    • Lizzie says:

      Yes yes yes. So glad to see him on here. I cried most of the episode but he was just so powerful and vulnerable. And got a throw a shout out to Emily who made heartbreak and desperation so hard to watch. They complemented each other in such an amazing way this week.

    • Daniel says:

      100% agree with everything you said Trish

  3. Ellie says:

    Stephen Amell blew my mind this week. Without a doubt his strongest performance in one of my favourite episodes of the season. Whether it was Diggle and Maeso, or Ras and Felicity, I thought this episode was exceptionally written. The very best hero stories in my opinion underneath all the action and superpowers is the humanity. What makes a human being choose to be a hero? Oliver Queen has a enormous capacity to love. He does what he does to protect what he loves, whether that’s Thea, Felicity or Starling City. The emotional, vulnerable and devastating journey Oliver has been on this season has been so powerful. I hope to see his relationships with Diggle, Felicity and Thea continue to grow and develop. I have loved the present day drama and the growth Oliver’s character has had in the flashbacks. I have no doubt Stephen will continue to deliver with continued strong performances and that ultimately this journey with lead him to Green Arrow.

  4. trainwreck says:

    Ellen Pompeo is so underrated for the amazing performances she has given through the 11 years of GA! Her dialogue delivery when the doctor came to ask her consent to stop life support was chilling!!

    Meanwhile The Americans Finale should also be honored by giving mentions to amazing work by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russel! an amazing season of outclass acting and a resonating finale!

    • Julie says:

      The Americans is the best show on television. But never gets the recognition it deserved. Ellen Pompeo has been amazing on GA since the pilot. I can’t wait to see what reaction she gets by not telling anyone what was going on before pulling the plug. I highly doubt Derek’s sister is going to handle it very well.

  5. GildedRose says:

    Stephen Amell was outstanding this week on Arrow. He played Oliver getting his entire heart ripped out fabulously from beginning to end. I’m no cry-er over tv but he had me tearing up in the first five minutes. He turned in a solid performance from start to finish and it was just a great episode. Love Oliver this season and yes, his relationship with Felicity really brings out amazing things in him. Love them together.

  6. Mr. Tran K says:

    No love for Chicago Fire’s Charlie Barnett this week?

  7. C. says:

    So well deserved for Tony Hale, that scene was phenomenal!

  8. Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards broke me apart this week. Seeing Oliver completely destroyed and willingly give his soul to the devil to protect the ones his loves is the true epitome of a hero. Felicity’s desperation to save him, and their refusal to say goodbye left me a puddle of goo. “Arrow” is always at it’s best when its NOT about the masks, it’s about the people who embody them. This past episode was an absolute stunner.

  9. Bonnie says:

    Don’t forget Outlander. Wonderful, nuanced, believable performances always. Great characters. Excellent writing and cinematography.

    • SW says:

      YES, thank you. Caitriona Balfe was so, so good this week. I was very surprised she didn’t get an honorable mention, at least. From the trial, to the “reveal” scene with Jamie, to the scene at the stones, to the last scene of the episode, she was outstanding from start to finish. Not to take anything away from these actors – Ellen Pompeo and Stephen Amell were both very deserving this week, as well, but Caitriona deserves a place here, as well.

  10. Alana says:

    after watching that episode of grey’s I immedirately thought, “Ellen better get performer of the week this week.” Tony Hale was great, but she was in another class entirely.
    personally, I’d love to see a comedy AND a drama performer of the week, rather than lumping the two together. they’re two completely different things, apples and oranges.

  11. cyrano says:

    Ellen Pompeo deserved main honor!!! She was robbed by that stupid show called Veep. Haters gonna hate but I’ve watched 2 season and never have I laughed once. I’m not the only one.

  12. Sabrina a says:

    Stephen Amel is a phenomenal actor! He conveys so much emotion through his expressions, the timbre and inflection of his voice, the way he delivers a line. It is quite a feat that this actor can show both the evolution and devolution (via flashbacks) of this stoic character so effortlessly. Kudos! His performance in “The Fallen” was outstanding

  13. Ram510 says:

    Michael Rapaport is awesome. However I would not have put Stephen Amell as an honarable mention. I don’t think his performance was noteworthy, but I’d say that was probably his best in the entire series, it just wasn’t enough to roll with the big dogs

  14. lucifer says:

    Arrow.. that Oliver and Felicity final good bye scene was heart breaking. Both Stephen and EBR nailed the scene. It is really great to see such talented people in cw,

  15. Angela says:

    For my own personal list, I would nominate Thomas Gibson from this week’s “Criminal Minds”. My god, the entire scene where he was held captive in that house, hallucinating as he did, and then that unsettling ending…something about that script and Gubler’s direction seemed to really make him bring his A-game, and it was so intense. I was glued to the screen the whole time.

  16. kn1231 says:

    Ellen Pompeo was everything this week on Greys. I also think Patrick Dempsey deserved a mention as well. Is there a rule that two performances from the same show can’t be mentioned?

  17. busta950 says:

    Ellen Pompeo Meredith Grey was without doubt the performance of the week

  18. HAP says:

    Rapaport?? I personally think this was probably the worst episode of the series. Just plain boring and annoying.

    • lauren says:

      TVline please take immediate note that HAP disagreed with you!!! Be sure 2 consult with her in the future? lmao

      • esteban says:

        Someone said something smart here last week, that people should spend more time celebrating the worthy choices than complaining about who was “overlooked” and ICAM. But we all know how the anonimity of the internet makes people so brave and outspoken ;-)

  19. SJ says:

    An honorable mention should have gone to Paget Brewster from this week’s Community. Her delivery in the scene with the dean was so flawless, I was actually crying from laughter.
    And of course, there’s Vera Farmiga but it would be unfair to the rest of them if we kept awarding her the honor week after week, as much as she deserves it. ;)

    • danyelle says:

      I <3 Vera too but she already won and I feel that joking about her winning every week waters down the importance of when TV Line does give her props. I'd hate to discourage them!

    • Angela says:

      I am adoring Paget on “Community”. She’s fantastic on there :D. I love her interaction with the dean, and seeing her still trying to figure out this wacky group of people, and the school at large.
      You are right about Vera and constantly picking her, too. But still, no argument that she’s brilliant, yeah.

  20. Maux says:

    For me, the entire cast of Broadchurch were just fantastic in the second season finale. It’s hard to choose just one because each and everyone stood out.

  21. LAwoman says:

    Yes! I love Tony Hale.

  22. Grey's Fan says:

    I hope you’re saving the POTW nod for Ellen Pompeo next week, which is why she didn’t get the main honour this week.
    And, I know GA doesn’t get much consideration for Emmys these days due to the longevity, but if they don’t get a Best Drama nomination for this week’s episode and EP doesn’t get a Best Actress nomination there is something really wrong with the world.

  23. love says:

    uhmm no doubt Stephen amell did well in that episode but about it deserving the honorable mention, well not so sure..His face is too bland to make you feel anything imo!

  24. AddieM says:

    Stephen Amell was amazing this week. He carried every scene with such emotion.

  25. speedy says:

    I haven’t watched Grey’s in years, but I saw the scene with Ellen Pompeo and am surprised she didn’t make it as performer of the week. I’ve always been impressed with her, but the strength and vulnerability she brings to Meredith would’ve kept me invested if Shonda Rhimes didn’t keep killing off her characters (I quit after that stupid plane crash–I SHOULD have quit after George). Never again watching a Shonda Rhimes show because investing in her characters is a waste of time. I feel for every Grey’s fan out there who hung on for 11 years.

    I did watch Arrow and thought Stephen Amell was outstanding. He has really come a long way since S1, and his scenes on the jet–everything about how he delivered those lines, and the goodbye scene where he tells Felicity all teary-eyed that the only way he makes it is knowing she’s out there, happy, was fantastic. Emily Bett was also impressive in communicating Felicity’s desperation and sadness this week.

  26. Meredith may be okay, but the fans certainly are NOT, after Shonda’s latest temper tantrum on tape.

  27. kath says:

    Ellen Pompeo was good but my reactions to her scenes were tainted by how much I hated the conclusion of the episode. A cheap shot.

    Stephen Amell has grown immensely during his three years on Arrow but the subtlety of his acting as Oliver tries to hold on to what world he has often gets overlooked in the big action sequences of the show. I’m glad you noted him here because he deserves the notice for his acting.

  28. Luk says:

    great choice!

  29. Shaun says:

    Candice Accola deserves some shine this week.So sad when she came back to normal.

  30. Casey says:

    I’m glad Michael Rapaport is getting some praise this week. He’s awesome, and his work in this week’s Louie was no exception. I love him, and I always feel like I’m in the minority when I say that. I don’t understand why so many people hate him so much.