Is that a Billy Joel song playing?
Photo: Michelle Groskopf
If certain moments in the Veep series finale feel familiar, there’s a good reason why. References to and echoes of incidents from previous seasons of the HBO comedy are sprinkled throughout the last episode, titled “Veep.” Did you spot them all?
In “Fundraiser,” the first episode … Selina asks Mike if he has a poppy seed in his teeth.
In “Veep,” the last episode … Gary discovers a chia seed in Selina’s teeth and flosses it out before her nomination acceptance speech.
In the first episode … Gary hands Selina her glasses without her even having to ask. She eventually opts not to wear them to a function because they will make her look weak.
In the last episode … Selina needs her glasses and has to ask Michelle for them, who then goes running off to find them, a sign that Gary’s efforts are missed.
In the first episode … after Selina makes an ill-advised joke at a public event and uses the word retard, her staff gathers to figure out how to handle it. Mike suggests that maybe the incident will quickly fall out of the news cycle. “What if Tom Hanks dies?” he offers. “I’m not wishing that. I’m saying anything could happen.”
In the last episode … as Mike, now an anchor at CBS News, is about to deliver a heartfelt, on-air tribute to his former boss on the day of her funeral, he’s interrupted by breaking news that Tom Hanks has died at the age of 88.
In the first episode … after Amy accidentally signs her own name instead of Selina’s on a condolence card for a senator, Selina gets furious. “The level of incompetence in this office is staggering!” she shouts.
In the last episode … frustrated with staffers Michelle and Keith, Selina starts to shout the same phrase. She stops before she gets to “staggering.” Michelle and Keith exited the room and the former colleagues who used to be around her are gone. There’s no one left to hear her complaint.
In “Midterms,” the first episode of season two … Selina asks Gary to acquire some Miami Sunburst lipstick that she can wear to a meeting with POTUS, and Gary freaks out when he can’t find that particular shade.
In the last episode … Gary makes sure that Selina has the Dubonnet lipstick she wants to wear when she wins the nomination. At her funeral, he also leaves some on her casket.
In “Some New Beginnings,” the first episode of season three … Jonah is fired for writing a political blog while working in the West Wing. As he’s being tossed out on his ear, he shouts, “You think you’ve seen the end of Jonah Ryan? You haven’t even seen the start of Jonah Ryan! I’m gonna be back as the fucking president! Jonah Ryan 2026!”
In the last episode … as Jonah likes to remind everyone, he was right, sort of. In the final season, he is indeed running for president, six years ahead of schedule. He doesn’t become the president, but he does become veep.
In “Alicia,” episode three of season three … Selina is perturbed by a Saturday Night Live sketch that makes fun of her for having her own horse when she was a child, a sign of how privileged she is.
In the last episode … the biographical short film that plays at the convention before Selina accepts the nomination focuses heavily on the fact that her Daddy taught her how to ride her horse, something she still does today.
In “New Hampshire,” episode ten of season three … before being sworn in as president, Selina hugs her daughter Catherine and says, “I couldn’t have done it without you.” She could not possibly mean it less.
In the last episode … she says the same words to Gary, knowing full well he’s about to be arrested by the FBI. This time, she means it more than she can express.
In “Mee-Maw,” episode four of season five … Selina, anxious about the Nevada recount, insists that she will be president. “I’m going to have a lovely inauguration,” she says. “Billy Joel is going to sing.”
In the last episode … after Selina accepts her party’s nomination for president, balloons fall from the ceiling of the Spectrum Center and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” begins to play.
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