Veep Season 5, Episode 5 Recap: Tofurkey

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
What's more surprising: That Donald Trump is the real-life presumptive Republican nominee for president or that Jonah Ryan is running for office on Veep? We'll let you ponder that for a second. But yes, Jonah is going to be a congressional candidate. That Jonah. Jonad. The always-offensive presidential punching bag is going to be vying for a congressional seat. But amazingly, this is good for Selina.

While most people are forced to spend Thanskgiving with family, being POTUS gives Selina an easy out. She refuses to attend a celebration with Catherine and her ex. Selina's excuse is that she needs to be in D.C. to call congressmen to "whip the vote" and maintain the presidency. But that's not the only reason she's staying at the White House.

Selina's actually using the vacation to get some work done on her face. She's "de-bagging" her eyes, or, in the words of Ben, getting "permanently photoshopped." Thanksgiving might seem as good a time as ever to have a procedure that will alter her appearance, but the universe has different plans. The first crisis that hits is a salmonella outbreak effecting the birds being consumed around the country. As panic grows, it becomes evident that someone should make a statement, but Ben and Kent quickly discover that the someone should not be Selina. The president looks like a possessed Droopy, the Tex Avery cartoon dog. So, they go to Doyle, the VP.

But then, another tragedy strikes: Harry Sherman, a New Hampshire representative, gets the disease, and ends up dying. Whoops.
Still, even though she can't go out in public, Selina can take advantage of this situation. Sherman was an O'Brien supporter. If the state holds a special election, a Meyer fan could land in office. Still, before any of that can happen, someone from the White House needs to address the press again. Doyle is the only option, but he demands to see what's going on with Selina. And that's not the only thing he wants. When he gets an audience with the president, he blackmails her into making him Secretary of State.

Meanwhile, Ben and Kent get to work dealing with the New Hampshire situation. They meet with one of the state's top politicos, Jeff Kane. He has designs for his nephew, Ezra, to land in office, but Ezra is serving in Afghanistan. Plus, he's not the right candidate for the circumstances currently unfolding. Sherman's widow is running for the seat and her opponent is going to have to get nasty in order to win. They need a "spectacular dumbass" who will eventually step aside. That, of course, brings us to Jeff's other nephew: Jonah Ryan.

Jeff goes to Jonah's Thanksgiving dinner to inform him of the plan. Jonah, mind you, is celebrating with his mom and Richard Splett. (Not enough Richard in this episode. Never enough Richard.) When Jonah finally realizes that Jeff is actually asking him to run, he is overjoyed and obnoxious as all hell. He even brags that he can keep the seat after he's supposed to yield it to Ezra. But Jeff cuts him down to size. "I could get dog shit and a condom elected in New Hampshire," Jeff tells him. "You are my puppet. I let you dance. When I stuff you back in the toy box to let Ezra lead, you will be grateful I ever let your wooden painted face take the stage." Jonah concedes. Especially perplexed by this development? POTUS, who gets word while she's handing out Tofurkey to servicemen and women on an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. She has to show her face eventually, so she does so in a venue where she can wear sunglasses.

To be quite honest, I'm not sure how this plan is going to work. Sure, Jeff wields a lot of power, but is he good enough to get Jonah elected? That seems like an impossible feat. But hey, anything can happen. At least we'll be getting a lot more Jonah time. We wouldn't want to interact with the guy in real life, but laughing at him is a treat. Plus, he had been a bit quiet this season. Turns out, the writers were just saving their best material for this plot line.
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While all of this is going down, Dan has been tapped to tag along with Tom James while he completes a series of media appearances to help quell the salmonella panic. Dan's all hunky dory on his new gig — until he realizes he's becoming Tom's Gary, getting him coffee and wiping lint away. He also senses that Tom may be up to something. After all, Tom is getting calls from lobbyist Sidney Purcell and mentioning Sidney's clients on the air. Dan brings this up with Tom.

Ever the opportunist, Dan doesn't want to chide his new boss, he wants to participate in whatever scheme he is running. Tom denies the allegations and threatens Dan. If word leaks, Tom will say Dan is having another nervous breakdown. Now pissed, Dan brings the situation up with Ben and Kent. They brand him as crazy. His final resort? Amy. To get to her, he has to go to her Thanksgiving dinner, since her family confiscated her phone. All is going fine until Amy's dad brings up the fact that Dan has had sex with both of his daughters. Amy's sister cackles as he leaves.

We do have to mention an unusual Veep occurrence: a genuinely happy development for Mike. A surrogate elected to carry his child. To celebrate, he and his wife, Wendy, arrange to meet for some fast sex. He makes the experience special by getting a hotel room. It happens to the hotel room used for the turkeys Selina pardoned at the beginning of the episode, but as long as he can't catch salmonella, he should be okay.

Ah, yes, the episode opens on that strange tradition in which our leader forgives the goofy looking beasts we consume. Perhaps that is evidence that anything can happen in this crazy country — even Jonah Ryan running for office.
Best Guest Star: Jerry Gergich from Parks and Recreation, a.k.a. Jim O'Heir, plays Amy's dad.

Best Burn:
“I hope you die a horrible death choking on a red glistening dog dick.” — Dan, to Jonah

Best Self Burn:
"I'm a MRSA infection. You don't get rid of Jonah Ryan." — Jonah

Most Surprising Fact:
Sue got married last year. She didn't invite anyone from work. Sue's amazing.

Best Exchange: Gary: "I have a bachelor's degree in hotel management from Cornell University." Selina: "No, you don't."
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