This Sunday, Veep returns to HBO for its fourth season. If you haven’t watched the first three, stop reading this now and just go do that (we haven’t done a Binge-Watching Guide yet, but at 30 minutes each, you’ll be done by the weekend). If you’re caught up, you already know that joke for joke, it’s the funniest show on TV. But what you might not remember is exactly where we left our not-so-trusty band of bumbling idiots who somehow now run the most powerful country in the world. Yes, after 30 episodes of epic trips, slips, and quips, Selina Meyer—played by the stupidly phenomenal Julia Louis-Dreyfus—has finally ascended to the presidency. So before she accidentally gives up the nuclear codes to her cleaning woman, or some such potentially world-imperiling disaster, let’s catch up with the new POTUS and her staff.
Everything changed in the third season’s second-to-last episode, “Crate”—arguably the show’s best to date. Just as Selina’s campaign bottoms out amid scandals on scandals, an adviser appears with shocking news: President Hughes has decided to resign. What follows should go down as one of the most outrageous moments in TV history: Selina and her bag man Gary (Tony Hale) cry-laughing their way through a bathroom scene involving a really bad nosebleed. Not long after, Selina is sworn in (twice), almost instantly insults Iran by accidentally firing a trusted government official whose name she confuses with “that bitch from energy,” and returns to New Hampshire to continue her still-troubled campaign for a new term.
Despite being abandoned on the most important day of his boss’s life, Gary remains the most devoted member of Selina’s team. He’s probably also the most pathetic. For every thoughtful act (remembering to bring a certain pair of shoes on the day of Selina’s big speech), he commits a terrible blunder (those shoes squeak so badly as Selina walks to the lectern that the whole world hears it—and then blogs about it). At the end of last season, we see Gary ugly-running after Selina as she makes her way to the White House.
Amy ended the year on a professional high: As Selina’s campaign manager, the job she coveted all along, she’s able to boss people around in signature Anna Chlumsky style: by making ridiculous faces. Perhaps this means she’s finally ready to work on herself and let true love (back) into her life in the form of Dan Egan.
You’ll remember Dan was initially chosen as campaign manager over Amy—until he had a psychotic break midway through the season (or as Selina put it, going “schitzo-titzo”). But by the time Selina becomes president, Dan’s mostly back to his old self, putting out campaign-related fires in one breath and insulting the human beanstalk Jonah in the next.
Too tall, deeply uncool, probably unshowered: Jonah doesn’t even need to talk and you hate him. At this point, you’d think maligning him would’ve lost its novelty, but if anything, making fun of Jonah is more fun than ever (Sue and Ben still do it best). He’s back in the White House, but “” target=”_blank”>buried so far into the West Wing I’m practically in Pyongyang.”
Mike never misses an opportunity to prove himself the least competent member of Selina’s staff—which is pretty miraculous when you consider no one on that team can get through a single day without doing something incredibly stupid. When it appears Selina’s career is all but over, Mike tells his new wife, Wendy (Kathy Najimy), that he’s ready to buy a house and raise ducks. But that dream dies when Selina is sworn in as the first female president. The end of last season finds Mike running a press conference at the White House, cracking sad jokes no one finds remotely appropriate.
Though being chief of staff for the outgoing president nearly killed Ben (Kevin Dunn)—despite being rendered bulimic, he couldn’t even lose weight—he reluctantly agrees to perform the same duties in an acting capacity for Selina. He’s evolved into her most trusted adviser, the Hardy to Kent’s Laurel.
Gary Cole’s Kent, Selina’s main strategist, continues to baffle everyone with his pseudo-philosophy and esoteric number-crunching. His last major action is trying to secure the office closest to Selina’s at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It’s unclear whether he succeeds. What is clear: He’s still in love with Sue.
Selina’s personal assistant, Sue (Sufe Bradshaw) remains quietly essential to the entire production—and to Kent. But after three seasons of mostly staying cool in the face of overwhelming incompetence, how will she fare in the White House?