Veep‘s marketing team is exceedingly creative. During Season 5, they gave us splettnet.net, wherein you can become acquainted with Sam Richardson’s character Richard Splett’s Vlogging antics (“Let’s talk about Splett”):
And when Timothy Simmons’ boorish Jonah Ryan was running for Congress, they made a campaign video/website for him. And now that Jonah Ryan will be running for President (and campaigning against Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer, incidentally), they’ve changed that original website to represent the news; and there’s plenty of new material to be gleaned from Jonah Ryan’s presidency-courting online presence.
For instance, in a section called “My Struggle: The Jonah Ryan Story” (which of course eerily evokes the similarly-translated Mein Kampf), Ryan appeals to “ordinary Americans” with his mini-biography, in which he uses the expression “fate blew me…” and proclaims, “I have made a lifelong pledge to bring the same grit, guts, and determination that enabled me to beat cancer to beating the many cancers that currently infect our country before they can meta…metasta…metatas…before they can spread.”
The website also provides a more intimate glimpse at his presidential announcement:
Veep refreshingly eschewed heavy-handed Trump-oriented parallels in its sixth season; the closest it came, however, was Jonah’s rise to power and buffoonish disruption of the more graceful nefariousness of old school career politicians with a government shutdown. But then, with both Jonah Ryan and Selina Meyer separately announcing that they’re each running for President in the final episode, it does seem like the parallels of Jonah-Trump/Selina-Hillary will be a bit harder to avoid. It could even seem like they’ve now changed tactics to seeking those parallels.
At the same time, however, Jonah and Selina are members of the same party. And before you then start asking yourself, “then is he supposed to be reflective of a particular person further to the Left of someone like Selina’s opportunistically centrist politics” ———… showrunner David Mandel has been quick to emphasize that his characters are characters living their own trajectories. In an interview in the Hollywood Reporter following the finale, speaking of Jonah’s presidential run, he said:
This is not comparing Jonah to Bernie Sanders. And this is not about the Republican party… [But] it speaks to our political system of how the press becomes enamored with a candidate for a while and they rise and sink and it gets into all of those ideas about, why does someone get press coverage and why is this person the frontrunner? And if you’re not the frontrunner, what does that mean? You get more coverage as an underdog, and when do the other candidates start taking you seriously? If you roll all of those things up into a ball, there is a lot of fun to have with Jonah.
Meanwhile, regarding people’s reading into Selina/Clinton parallels, he said:
If we do a scene of Selina eating dinner it’s like, “Hillary ate dinner and so did Selina — they both ate food, it’s clearly based on Hillary!” It is what it is, there’s nothing I can do. We won’t be looking to her experiences, but we know it. It’s in the stew. It’s not not there — how could it not be there? — but we don’t sit there and say, “Hillary did this, let’s have Selina do it.” A key difference is that Selina was president for about a year. With Hillary, part of the narrative is that she never was. That’s a big difference. She’s not Hillary, she’s not Jimmy Carter, she’s not Bill Clinton. She’s just Selina at this point.
So as you scroll through Jonah’s website, images like his slogan (pictured above) may start to feel cringe-inducingly familiar — particularly with that red background. But apparently…they’re not familiar! Whether that statement of intent does anything to stop the parallel-seeing cringes is another story! The website certainly makes you wonder exactly how heavily the show will end up reflecting the times next season regardless. Hopefully they’ll be able to strike just the right see-it-if-you-want-to-see-it, don’t-see-it-if-you-don’t balance as they did this year. It looks like that’s the aim, at least.