Emmy episode analysis: Tony Hale (‘Veep’) tries to console an accidental president on ‘Inauguration’ day

On his fourth consecutive Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Supporting Actor for “Veep,” Tony Hale has chosen “Inauguration” as his episode submission. Hale has won this award twice (2013 and 2015) for portraying Gary Walsh, the dedicated personal aide to President Selina Meyer (reigning Comedy Actress champ Julia Louis-Dreyfus). A victory for Hale would put him in the company of only five other actors who’ve won this category three times: Art Carney for “The Jackie Gleason Show” (1954-55) and “The Honeymooners” (1956), Ed Asner for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1971-72, 1975), Michael Richards for “Seinfeld” (1993-94, 1997), Brad Garrett for “Everybody Loves Raymond” (2002-03, 2005) and Jeremy Piven for “Entourage” (2006-08).

Only three actors have won this award more times than that: John Larroquette for “Night Court” (1985-1988) and David Hyde Pierce for “Frasier” (1995, 1998-99, 2004) won four apiece, and Don Knotts for “The Andy Griffith Show” won five (1961-63, 1966-67).

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With the presidential vote in the House of Representatives ending in a tie, Selina and her advisers await the result of the vote for Vice President in the Senate. When it looks to be a tie, Gary says that Tom James (Hugh Laurie) needs to rush to the Capitol to cast the tie-breaking vote, completely unaware that it’s the current VP who holds that duty. When their team ultimately loses, Gary proceeds to scold all of Selina’s aides for doing a terrible job and for always putting themselves ahead of her. He says that he at least did his job and cared about her and then leaves to comfort to Selina in the residence.

On the day of the inauguration Gary finds Selina drunkenly passed out on her bed. He then gives her a pep talk, reminding her that her opponents can take away her presidency, power and dignity, but not her beauty. After Laura Montez (Andrea Savage) is inaugurated, Gary escorts Selina away and attempts to keep her in good spirits and remarks about how the White House actually looks beautiful in the distance. As it starts to rain, Gary takes a jacket and uses it to cover Selina.

Can Hale join the ranks of Emmy’s previous triple winners? Let’s examine the pros and cons:

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Hale gets a stand-out speech when he berates his fellow staffers. He also gets some great funny moments, like not knowing who the current VP is and then his pep talk to Selina on the morning of the inauguration.

“Veep” did extraordinarily well with nominations this year. It has more than any other comedy (16), and being in excellent position to repeat as Best Comedy Series also plays to Hale’s favor.

As mentioned above, the Emmys have no problem rewarding someone in this category three or more times. It has happened to eight actors, two fairly recently, so it’s not hard to imagine them welcoming a sixth into the fold.

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Hale is facing a variable he hasn’t had to deal with yet and that’s being nominated against a co-star: Matt Walsh. This could lead to vote-splitting since the Emmys have switched from a preferential vote (ranking the nominees in order of preference) to a plurality vote (simply pick your favorite nominee).

Hale’s previous two wins came from episodes (“Running” and “East Wing”) that had more physical comedy in them, which voters seem to like.

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