There’s A Lot To Unpack With Veep's Victim Blaming Episode

Photo:Lacey Terrell/HBO.
Veep is a fictional comedy, but it’s clear the HBO favorite is more realistic than real life these days. That’s especially true with this week’s episode, "Library," which follows Selina’s latest doomed plot. This time, the unlucky politician wants to build a library and ends up mired in a victim-blaming scandal, because this is Selina Meyer we’re talking about.
We know something is going to go wrong with the veep-turned-first female president-turned-forgotten first female president when no school wants to build her library, except for her alma mater, progressive feminist beacon Smith College. The fates definitely can't abide Selina getting something she wants.
Everyone at Smith is overjoyed about the upcoming Selina Meyer Presidential Library and School For Public Policy (and Women’s Studies, or maybe not) until the politician's ex-husband ruins everything. This is only possible because Selina rekindled her awful romance with professional con-man Andrew (David Pasquesi), despite Gary’s unsubtle hints this is The Worst Idea Ever.
Gary is proven to be Veep’s Cassandra when Siri starts reading Andrew’s text message out loud. The messages are from Selina’s presidential portrait painter and they’re XXX-rated. "You came so much. Andrew, we ruined your wife’s pretty office chair," artist Helen (June Diane Raphael) writes in one text. "I get so hot thinking of the president sitting in our love puddle." Well, no one can misconstrue that admission of an affair.
Selina immediately fires Helen and cuts ties with Andrew. Helen responds by going public, saying Andrew pursed her, victimized her, and continuously called his penis the "First Chubby." Plus, the gross man didn’t even pay Helen for her work on the painting. Because of all this, Selina is met with gigantic protests at Smith as opposed to all the girl power love she received the first time around. The signs say everything from “Gender Traitor Woman Hater” to "Bye, Selicia."
Soon enough, Selina’s old friend and current Smith president Regina (Amy Brenneman) is saying they need to "pause" plans for the library.
This storyline brings up a lot of tough questions. If a woman has an affair with your husband, is it wrong to fire her? After hearing Helen’s text messages to Andrew, she seemed like a willing participant in their tryst. But, we also have to remember Andrew was literally in charge of paying Helen and he’s a really disgusting guy. If he did doggedly pursue Helen, of course she felt obligated to appease him and the First Chubby. She may have sent those sexts to placate a man in power.
Yet, we can’t really blame Selina for having an "emotional" reaction, as the former president told the Smith protesters of her behavior. Of course she would never want to employ a woman who’s happily leaving adulterous love puddles on her chair. That’s why Selina’s smartest move would’ve been doing a group interview with Helen. She could have explained her understandable knee-jerk reaction, confirmed she forgave Helen after hearing about how terrible Andrew is (even if she really hasn't), and probably won over the heart’s of the American people. It’s a win-win for all.
Instead, she rehires Helen in private as a way to get Smith back on her side. When the college gives Selina a hard no on the library, she tells Helen to “pack up [her] crayons” and kick rocks. Now Selina is down a library, a presidential painting, and every feminist supporter she's ever had.

More from TV


R29 Original Series