It’s hard to believe that Anna Chlumsky first became a star almost 30 years ago, when she shot to fame in 1991 as the lead character in “My Girl.” While she’s acted regularly since then (except for a six year sabbatical), she didn’t get another big role until 2012 when she began playing Amy Brookheimer on HBO’s political satire “Veep,” which concludes its final season on Sunday night. Over the past seven seasons Chlumsky has earned five consecutive Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Supporting Actress (2013-17), but has yet to win. Come this year’s Emmys, the TV academy should give her the proper recognition that has alluded her character for the show’s entirety.
As the uptight right-hand to Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Amy is first introduced as Selina’s chief of staff while she’s Vice President. She serves in that capacity until Selina begins her second run for the presidency. At first, she works under Dan Egan (Reid Scott) but manipulates him into having a nervous breakdown and takes over as campaign manager. She leads the campaign until a falling out with Selina during the party’s convention but rejoins the Meyer team in the wake of the Nevada recount following the tie in the Electoral College. She later serves on various campaigns, including the congressional campaign of Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons), while also serving Selina after the presidency.
Over the years Amy has provided many of the show’s best lines and moments. Chlumsky plays her in a very precise way where every word she utters, gesture she makes and steely death stare she gives to someone is precisely calculated to have the maximum amount of impact. Highlights have included saying Selina “can’t fall asleep…on C-SPAN, the irony would be too huge” and telling Jonah, “You are not Michael Jordan. You are a seven-foot-seven goofy-looking Lithuanian who’s gonna drop dead of Marfan syndrome.” But her best moment, and one of the show’s best ever to boot, was her meltdown aimed at Selina during the party’s convention. She unloads on Selina in a bit that lasts less than two minutes but is the defining part of the episode, telling Selina that she is “the worst thing to happen to this country since food in buckets–and maybe slavery,” and that the only thing Selina accomplished is making sure we will have no more women presidents because she was terrible at it.
This final season sees Amy return to being a campaign operative and it has been spectacular. While she first starts out as deputy campaign manager to Selina, she eventually makes her way to becoming campaign manager for Jonah in a manner that’s very reminiscent of current White House Counselor, Kellyanne Conway. Two episodes in particular deliver great moments for Amy. The first one, which is also the strongest, is the third episode, “Pledge.” When Amy shows up to a clinic with Dan to have an abortion she is confronted by protesters and Amy responds in a way that silences all of them. She tells them that she has thought this through and to back off “before I show up to the piss-puddle that is your house and protest your husband whacking it to your daughter’s seventh-grade yearbook.” She immediately gets in one final jab when she tells a picketer that his sign is misspelled. She also shows great physical comedy later in the episode when she is sedated.
The other is two episodes later, “Super Tuesday,” where she relishes making Selina crazy by talking about her age, brings herself to climax and realizes that she just had her first real orgasm. Chlumsky is as good as she’s ever been and it’s high time that she join the ranks of people who have been justly rewarded for this comedy masterpiece. Will Emmy voters finally reward Chlumsky with a trophy for the final season of “Veep”?
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