Tag Archives: Kathy Najimy

Selina gears up her presidential run in new Veep season

Season 3 of 'Veep' premieres tonight on HBO.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (front and center) joins (from left) Reid Scott, Sufe Bradshaw, Matt Walsh, Timothy C. Simons, Tony Hale, Gary Cole and Anna Chlumsky in Season 3 of ‘Veep,’ premiering tonight on HBO.

Capping a very full night for HBO, the hilarious, Emmy-winning political sitcom Veep returns for its third season, which sees terrifyingly ambitious Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) launching her campaign to be president.
Each season of Veep has captured Selina at a different stage in her political career. Season 1 found her at her lowest, after a previous presidential bid flamed out and left her in the thankless role as second-in-command to the unseen POTUS, who never returned calls or dropped by her office. By Season 2, set after midterm elections that were disastrous for Selina’s (unspecified) political party, her fortunes started to turn once White House staff noticed that Selina was a first-class populist who could charm a crowd with such cornball mottos as “Freedom is not me-dom! It’s WE-dom!”
As Season 3 opens, Selina faces new hurdles before she can publicly announce her candidacy. First, POTUS refuses to announce he is not seeking re-election until the White House senior strategist Kent Davison (Gary Cole) finds a poll that indicates it’s advantageous to do so.
Second, she has to pick a campaign manager, and in-house rivals Amy Brookheimer (Anna Chlumsky), Selina’s chief of staff, and Dan Egan (Reid Scott), her smarmy deputy director of communications, are competing bitterly for that position.
Finally, in tonight’s premiere, Selina’s team is dismayed by signs that an unexpected, more conservative contender for the nomination is getting ready to throw his hat into the ring.
Some of Selina’s other staff members have distractions of their own, however. Gary Walsh (Tony Hale, who won an Emmy last season), Selina’s doggedly loyal personal aide, is suffering from crippling shoulder pain that comes partly from toting around the massive bag in which he has packed every conceivable item Selina might need. Some of that pain may be psychological, however, since Gary is starting to fret about being a middle-aged bag-boy.
As for Mike McClintock (Matt Walsh), Selina’s director of communications, Season 3 opens with his wedding to girlfriend Wendy (new recurring guest star Kathy Najimy), which includes a commitment to have a baby together via in-vitro fertilization – which means in turn that Wendy expects Mike to take, um, task-related breaks at work.
Watching the first five Season 3 episodes HBO sent for preview (out of 10 for the season), I was struck by two things: first, how the character-driven Veep just gets stronger every season, as we get better acquainted with the people in its world and its cast members continue to meld into one of the most amazing comedy ensembles I’ve ever seen (it’s easy to see why Veep has won two Emmys for casting).
Foremost, however, there’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus herself, who has won the Emmy Award as lead actress in a comedy for both of Veep’s previous seasons. I don’t expect that to change with Season 3, because I found myself watching some of these new episodes over and over just to try to catch all the incredible details Louis-Dreyfus packs into every moment.
I strongly suspect this actress is probably the Meryl Streep of the American sitcom. I know, that sounds like lazy hyperbole, and you can watch these new episodes casually and still enjoy them. But pay close attention to them and you can see that the blazingly intelligent Louis-Dreyfus is constantly shifting dizzyingly from one emotion to another, and often conveying multiple emotions and attitudes at the same time – and when I say “multiple,” I mean “way more than two.”
Consider next week’s episode, “The Choice,” in which Selina, a very discreetly pro-choice candidate, is rocked by POTUS’s out-of-left-field announcement that he is adamantly pro-life. As calls from various lobbying groups start to pour into Selina’s office asking her to clarify her position, she tries frantically to answer both sides in a manner that will not cost her votes.
Then Mike rushes in with a phone call from the ACCDP. He has no idea what the acronym stands for, but he’s reasonably sure the group is pro-life. As Selina takes the call, however, Amy desperately signals her that, no, no, no, the group is pro-choice. Selina struggles to navigate the call without committing herself, but her attempts at fishing for clues fall short as the caller keeps saying things like “Our position has not changed.”
Maybe it’s just me, but watching Louis-Dreyfus fighting to maintain her calm and sunny phone voice with a volatile caller while furiously miming “WHO THE F—- IS THIS?!” to Mike and Amy is one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen on Veep.
(Spoiler alert: It didn’t really matter, because as it turns out, the call actually came in from the ADCCP, not the ACCDP. Although Mike has no idea what the ADCCP is, either).
God, I love this show.
Director of communications Mike McClintock (Matt Walsh, front-row center) weds his girlfriend, Wendy (Kathy Najimy) in the season premiere of 'Veep.'

Director of communications Mike McClintock (Matt Walsh, front-row center) weds his girlfriend, Wendy (Kathy Najimy) in the season premiere of ‘Veep.’

Cathy faces her future as ‘The Big C’ returns

Episode 401
Alan Alda and Laura Linney
Schoolteacher Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney) confronts some tough decisions when her brain tumors start to grow again as one of Showtime’s most acclaimed dramedies starts winding down tonight as a four-episode, hour-long limited series under a new title: The Big C: Hereafter.
As fans will remember, season three saw Cathy’s oncologist, Dr. Sherman (Alan Alda), delivering some startling but joyous news: Cathy’s illness was responding very favorably to the clinical trial in which he had enrolled her. Stunned by her revised prognosis, however, the prospect of a less limited future sent Cathy lurching off the rails a bit, as she embarked on a foolhardy quest to adopt a baby (irrationally hoping that if she started raising a baby, she would live to see it reach adulthood). Her increasingly manic behavior sorely strained her relationships with both husband Paul (Oliver Platt) and son Adam (Gabriel Basso), and they began drifting away, the former into an improbable new career as a motivational speaker, the latter into joining a folksy religious cult.
Things still are tense between the trio as tonight’s premiere opens with Cathy forced to resume chemotherapy treatments, an ordeal that leaves her so sick and weakened that she makes a fateful choice (no spoilers, but the title of the episode is “Quality of Life”). If season three was about the Jamisons being pulled apart as if by some weird centrifugal force, these last episodes will see the Jamisons, along with Cathy’s brother, Sean (John Benjamin Hickey), and close friend Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe), finding their way back together. We’ll also meet Kathy Najimy as Cathy’s remarkably outspoken new therapist, a bracing addition to the series.
The Big C may have been uneven in the fearless way it occasionally has used irreverent comedy and even whimsy to chart the emotional bump-‘em-car ride on which Cathy’s devastating diagnosis has sent her, but it never has been less than moving, thanks in no small part to Linney’s remarkably clear-eyed and unsentimental performance in the main role. As the show drags us, kicking and screaming, toward the finale we all somehow knew was awaiting us but never wanted to see, it still has a surprising number of aces, and laughs, up its sleeve even while it gently reminds us that we’re all heading toward the same final destination – Cathy’s just on an express train there.
As for that final episode, you’ll want to stock up on tissues, but you’ll find that The Big C, like its heroine, takes its leave with style, class and immense grace.