Drop a Pin on Sunday’s “Veep”

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This season of Veep has been outstanding from minute one, but Sunday’s penultimate episode “Kissing Your Sister” rose to the top of an impressive heap. Eagle-eyed fans of the show know that the ninth episode of each season takes an experimental left turn. Last year’s ninth episode “Testimony” marked the left-est turn of them all, with a full episode of the characters’ hearings in front of Congress presented C-SPAN-style.

It’s early, but I’m confident that “Kissing Your Sister” at least matches that all-time outing, and maybe even exceeds it. It had a higher bar to clear, for one — Catherine Meyer’s fly-on-the-wall documentary has been a throwaway gag since the season premiere, and the juicy combination of the Meyer administration’s antics and a video camera appeared too fruitful not to re-emerge at the season’s climax. “Testimony” extended directly from the events of the episode that preceded it, but “Kissing Your Sister” wove a more complex and intricate narrative that extended back into the events of the entire season, occasionally replaying scenes from previous episodes from different angles or with additional context. The clever conceit of “Testimony” relegated most of the fast-paced action to the background or offscreen, but “Kissing Your Sister” gunned the plot engine even as the jokes flew fast and furious.

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“House of Cards”: It’s Okay Not to Care

House of Cards

(Photo courtesy of manybits)

I’m missing out on a moment today.

When House of Card debuted to considerable fanfare last February, I did not have access to a Netflix account or the money necessary to acquire such access. I observed from the sidelines as the binge-watchers tore through each episode, finishing the series within one weekend. I observed as the show faded from the pop culture conversation as people moved on to other things (binge-watching Arrested Development). I observed as binge-watch skeptics (I would count myself among them, to an extent) finished the series at their own leisurely pace. I observed as the show became the first streaming-only, television-scale scripted series to merit serious consideration at the Emmys and the Golden Globes.

And then I was granted access to a Netflix account. But I didn’t start with House of Cards. I started with Orange is the New Black, by far the most warmly reviewed series of Netflix’s modern foray into “television.” Then I worked my way through the dense fourth season of Arrested Development, marveling at the massively complex puzzle structure while sometimes wondering why it had been seventeen minutes since I’d laughed.

And finally, I got to House of Cards.

I watched four episodes. I might have watched more, but the end of winter break and the beginning of my spring semester loomed. Tough decisions had to be made. And I decided I’d seen enough of House of Cards to know that I wasn’t clamoring to finish it.

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