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The deconstruction of Selina Meyer

‘Veep’ was a character study of Selina Meyer

***Spoilers for Veep below***

After seven seasons, HBO’s Veep has ended its run. The show was highlighted by great writing, strong acting, and a slew of insults no sane person would ever use. The show chronicled the misadventures of Selena Meyer and her staff as they navigated treacherous political waters. The writers did a wonderful job of mirroring the current political climate and watching the show was as informative as it was fun.

More than a skewed look at current affairs, Veep was a character study of Selina Meyer, the titular Veep. From her beginnings as a Vice President nobody took seriously, the show has charted how she has changed for better and worse. Some of her decisions have been hard to believe, but the overall arc of Selina has been incredible.

In the first season of Veep, Selina was the gung ho VP who was concerned with leaving a lasting legacy. While the President tries to tuck her away in a corner, Selena fights back. She works on freeing Tibet and her Clean Jobs bill. it is clear that Selena cares deeply about her legacy but viewers also see how important it is for Selena to make a positive change.

Veep is a show about politics and the political machinations of the series helped make it engaging. Unsurprisingly, it is necessary for Selena to make concessions in order to accomplish her goals. However, when she negotiates, she never sacrifices her principles. Very early in the show we are introduced to an important part of Selena’s personality: her tenacity.

By the time the second and third seasons roll around, the show found its footing. The stories and characters had a much better flow. We also learn that Selina is not just narcissistic; she can be very mean. We see this most in her interactions with her daughter, Catherine. Selina constantly uses her only child for political purposes while seeming to loathe all other interactions with her. The writers examine the relationship with humor but also make it clear Selina will not be winning any parenting awards any time soon.

The fourth season is arguably the best. It also gives viewers even deeper insight into Selina. By now, it is clear that she is not content to be another unmemorable Vice President. In order to cement her legacy, she must become the first female President of the United States. As President, she will be able to break through the glass ceiling that is preventing her from making lasting change.

Season four and five serve to tell one story. Over the course of the twenty episodes, some things become very apparent. The first is the unique relationship between Selina and her aide Gary. Gary is there to serve her every whim. He tells Selina what she wants to hear, dismisses any criticism with silly justifications, and has to be forced to leave her side. She values his opinion on unimportant matters while constantly talking down to him.

Yet, when Selina assumes the Presidency in the fourth season, Gary is the first person she tells. The two have one of the show’s most heartwarming and funniest exchanges. And when Selina loses the following election, Gary tears into Team Meyer in a memorable scene. Both moments showcase the closeness between the two.

It is also during this time that Selina’s tenacity starts to transform into an obsession. It is no longer about becoming the first female President and changing the world. After getting a taste of what is it like to serve as the most powerful leader in the free world, she desires it more than ever. Selina wants the power associated with the office.

Season six puts an emphasis on this change. Selina is no longer concerned with earning her legacy. She literally sells herself to the highest bidder. The woman who was once so determined to forge her own legacy is now content to buy one. Her brush with the Presidency has left Selina a bitter person who is willing to go to any lengths to get back into the Oval Office.

The final season of Veep showcases just how far Selina has fallen. She still is a powerful voice in politics and is seemingly closer now to the winning the Presidency than she ever has been. In order to get to that point, she has had to turn her back on everything she has fought for. Giving up Tibet, her daughter’s right to marry another woman, and even being willing to collude with foreign countries demonstrate Selina’s moral compass was thrown off kilter.

Nowhere is this more evident that in the show’s shocking final moments. Through all the good times, the bad decisions, the missed opportunities, and the fortuitous events, one person stayed loyally by her side. Selina’s betrayal is one of the most surprising in television history. She gets what she wants, but has to pay a horrible price.

In the final moments, viewers get a glimpse into the type of person Selina is. She tries to warn Gary of what is to come and even concedes it is not fair to him. When she is in the Oval Office, she calls for Gary and looks at her surroundings questioning whether it was all worth it. It is a heartbreaking moment for all involved.

In the end, Selina Meyer achieved her dream, but at the cost of a legacy.

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