Performer of the Week: Anna Chlumsky

Anna Chlumsky Veep

THE PERFORMER | Anna Chlumsky

THE SHOW | Veep

THE EPISODE | “Convention” (May 10)

THE PERFORMANCE | We always knew Veep‘s Amy — President Selina Meyer’s overworked, underappreciated chief of staff — would explode sometime. And when the moment finally arrived in Sunday’s episode, Anna Chlumsky made Amy’s well-earned tirade a glorious thing.

Throughout the season, Chlumsky has telegraphed her character’s mounting frustration with her boss through hilariously tense line readings, under-her-breath asides and well-timed eyerolls. The addition of yes-woman Karen to POTUS’ entourage proved Amy’s breaking point; you just knew something was gonna go down when Chlumsky’s shoulders climbed toward her ears as Karen offered yet another annoyingly benign opinion.

The discussion about who should join Selina on the ticket re-lit Amy’s burned-to-nothing fuse. “Have you been sent from the future to destroy me?” Chlumsky yelled at Lennon Parham’s Karen, adding with a growl “Because it’s working!” Shaking with feeling and wielding Amy’s phone like a battleax, Chlumsky then wheeled on Madam President herself. “You have made it impossible to do this job,” she gritted out, angry tears creeping into her voice as she enumerated Selina’s faults. Chlumsky’s greatest moment came when Amy, defeated, realized that she’d been instrumental in ensuring that there’d never be another female president “because we tried one, and she f—king sucked.”

Of course, the moment Amy huffed out her resignation and left, Selina gave Ms. Brookheimer’s VP suggestion some serious thought. That seems to indicate that the former Chief of Staff eventually will be back on the payroll, and we can’t wait to watch Chlumsky nail the inevitable apology scene, too.

unnamedHONORABLE MENTION | Unhinged, moving, manic, loving, raging – those are just a few of the seemingly contradictory adjectives that describe Kyle MacLachlan‘s performance on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Season 2 finale. As Cal sought to become more powerful, ingesting a get-big-quick concoction, the actor managed to be both monster and man. Even under the fury of his new Hulk-ish appearance, Cal’s fatherly love for his daughter Daisy shone through like a beacon of the good within him. In the wrong hands, the borderline over-the-top character could have easily veered into crazy-camp territory, but thanks to MacLachlan, it was just plain crazy good.

ACHONORABLE MENTION | Over the course of its 11 episodes, American Crime made happy endings seem not only elusive, but flat-out impossible for most of its characters. For Richard Cabral’s Hector, it wasn’t enough that the charges against him were dropped; next, he had to convince a prospective employer that he was more than just a walking rap sheet. As Hector leveled with his potential boss — “I’m not tired of my life. I’m worn out.” — Cabral brought to the surface months of pent-up anger, exhaustion and guilt. And when Hector walked out of that interview moments later with the job, it was Cabral’s raw, honest performance that had us sharing in his hard-fought victory.

PDHONORABLE MENTION | “Laugh riot” is probably not the first term you’d use to describe Showtime’s gloriously gloomy Penny Dreadful. But we’ll be damned if every other line that Simon Russell Beale uttered as Ferdinand Lyle in this week’s “Verbis Diablo” didn’t make us chortle. Though the cunning linguist was called in by Sir Malcolm to consult on serious business, the delight that he took in flirting with handsome Ethan made the work seem like play. (For instance, when the sharpshooter agreed to accompany Lyle as he snuck into the bowels of the British Museum, the fop couldn’t resist asking, “Will you bring your gun belt?” Funnier still, the imp all but erupted in glee when Ethan gamely replied, “Both guns.”) In fact, so contagious is the joy that Beale exudes as Lyle that, by the time the dandy and his protector had completed their mission, we were ready to forget all about poor Vanessa and her witch problem to focus on the comedy team and whatever misadventure they might undertake next.

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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33 Comments
  1. Shannon says:

    Toby Regbo was incredible in the finale of Reign. Sad to see he didn’t make it, again.

  2. hz says:

    all the awards for Anna Chlumsky

  3. SPAMMER says:

    SPAM DELETED

  4. Sara says:

    VEEP has a spectacular cast, and is no way The Julia Louis-Dreyfus Show that some have made it to be. Tony was remarkable a few episodes ago, and now Anna. Kudos!

  5. The Middle, when Sue got her yearbook with all the nice messages in it.

  6. SPAMMER says:

    SPAM DELETED

  7. rachelb says:

    what about the cast of revenge like cmon!

  8. Heather says:

    Amy is/was Selina’s campaign manager.

  9. Katelyn says:

    Sophia Bush on Chicago PD! Lindsay’s downward spiral is heartbreaking.

  10. Mr. Tran K says:

    No love for Megan Boone on the season finale of Blacklist?

    • Gwen says:

      She was really good. She’s come a long way from the first episodes. Now I feel she can hold her own in scenes with Red.

  11. Gwen says:

    Thanks for acknowledging the fine work of Kyle MacLachlan. We thought he was terrific.

  12. Michelle says:

    No love for Nina Dobrev?

  13. Dude says:

    That was by far my fav Veep scene ever. “I wouldn’t trust you to run a bath without the coast guard and the fire department and now you’re running a country”

  14. NotBri says:

    Jonny Lee Miller’s work on the season finale of Elementary this week was some of his finest acting to date. Another brilliant performance from this underrated actor.

  15. kirads09 says:

    100% agree with Kyle MacLachlan‘s performance on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Season 2 finale. (all season as Cal, really).

  16. selinakray says:

    Mr Lyle seems a great many things, but a cunning linguist isn’t one of them, LOL.

  17. arial2 says:

    Yes! Glad to see Kyle MacLachlan recognized for his wonderfully fun portrayal as Skye’s father. He can go from vicious insane guy to surprising ally to loving father all in the course of a minute and carry it off. Have enjoyed his appearances this season.

  18. Excellent picks. I think Freddie Highmore deserves a mention too, though.

  19. Ben says:

    Anna Chlumsky and Simon Russell Beale knocked my socks off this week.

  20. Tom says:

    awwww man Lennon Parham is on Veep now? Way to make me not want to watch it.

  21. Martin says:

    Eden Sher on The Middle for definite

  22. LAwoman says:

    Anna Chlumsky killed it on Veep. That was one of my favorites scenes of the series. Simon Russell Beale was great too.

  23. RedReddington says:

    Kyle M. was truly spectacular as Cal. He basically turned my opinion of the character a complete 180, to where I didn’t want him to go in the finale. That takes tremendous effort and talent, kudos to him and the writers of SHIELD; which is the best show no one is watching.

  24. dhdd says:

    I really thought you’d recognize someone, anyone from Once Upon a Time. Colin O’Donoghue and Ginnifer Goodwin were terrific as cowardly Hook and Evil Snow in the Heroes and Villains alternate universe.

  25. Mary Picon says:

    James Spader’s facial expressions in the last few minutes of Blacklist heartbreaking. The finest actor on TV. Ever. IMHO.

  26. Eran says:

    American Crime is a through and through, television masterpiece. From storytelling to acting the uncannily realistic soundtrack. Each and every episode has left me totally awestruck. It is so unsettlingly good and honest and raw – cannot wait for a second cycle and super psyched it’s following the Horror Story formula of returning cast members – new characters and story.