‘Veep’ episode 8 recap: Tony Hale shines during an outing to hometown Alabama in ‘Judge’

Throughout its sixth season, “Veep” has been offering introspective looks at the personal lives of its main characters and Sunday’s episode “Judge” certainly continues that trend. Fulfilling her promise to attend Gary’s (Tony Hale) 40th birthday celebration, Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and team travel to Alabama, where they not only meet the Walsh family, but also capitalize on the opportunity to make headway on securing a large donor for her library. Below, let’s look at the Top 5 moments from “Veep” Season 6, Episode 8.

Kentucky Fried Christ — Arriving in Alabama, Selina and her entourage receive a warm welcome from Gary’s mom Imogene (perfectly cast guest star Jean Smart) and later, to Gary’s abrasive, apparently closeted dad Judge (equally pitch-perfect guest Stephen Root). The early scenes of the ensemble meeting Gary’s family reveal a lot about Gary, from Imogene’s hospitality toward the D.C. crowd to Judge’s antithetical political beliefs, to the sad memory of Gary’s stillborn brother Bruce that lingers in their house.

McLintock Morsels — With Selina’s memoir almost completed, Mike (Matt Walsh) starts looking for another writing gig, sitting down with Leon West (Brian Huskey) at The Washington Post. Joining the team in Alabama, Mike partners with Amy (Anna Chlumsky) to finish the book, but realizes that he’s lost his diary that chronicles every day of Selina’s presidency. Their ensuing adventure to retrieve it, from a Birmingham diner to Dulles Airport, lands a lot of laughs because of the welcome pairing of Walsh and Chlumsky. Once they finally track it down, though, they realize that Mike grabbed Leon’s diary by mistake, meaning all of Selina’s secrets reside in the hands of the Washington Post.

The Eva Gabor of “Green Acres” — After numerous attempts to reconnect with Selina, Jaffar (Usman Ally) travels to Alabama to see her. When he mentions his connection to Quartie (Toby Huss), a big wig from Sturges Energy who donated a large sum of money to President Hughes’ library, she asks if he could be invited to Gary’s party in the hopes of securing some much-needed funds. In an attempt to appeal to Quartie’s deep South sensibilities, Selina commandeers Gary’s party with Confederate flags and lawn jockeys. To seal the deal, Selina gives a toast in which she steals Gary’s heartfelt story about him and his father going hunting when he was 10. While Louis-Dreyfus holds court, Hale’s look of sorrow and betrayal is devastating and says so much with very little dialogue.

Nail Buffer to the Lady President — Already emotional after Selina’s grandstanding, Gary bumps into a drunk, belligerent Judge while grabbing more bourbon out of the shed. Judge continues to antagonize Gary as they reenter the party, leading Gary to have an outburst in front of all the guests, accusing his father of being a “big, fat, flaming bully” before storming off to slow dance with his mother. Any opportunity Hale gets to let his internal anger boil over on the series is a treat and this scene in particular is no exception.

The Host of Christmas Past — With “CBS This Morning” flailing without Jane McCabe (Margaret Colin), Stevie (Paul Scheer) tells Dan (Reid Scott) that he needs to land an interview with Jonah (Timothy Simons) to appease the network or he may be ousted. In order to get Jonah on the show, Dan agrees to his demand that they “party like we did when we were best friends.” After their night on the town in New York, Jonah arrives at the studio with a surprise up his sleeve: he’s secretly agreed to sit down with Jane, not Dan. Just as Jane’s introducing Jonah, though, they cut away to a press conference where President Montez (Andrea Savage) announces a deal between the Oval Office and the Jeffersons, now renamed the Libertonians, that will end the government shutdown, which Jonah never authorized.

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