7:27am PT by Jackie Strause
'Veep' Updates Jonah Ryan, Richard Splett Websites and Launches Selina Meyer Fund Hub
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the sixth season of Veep.]
Jonah Ryan believes that you can't change people's lives until you change their minds.
That's the mission statement on the updated website for Veep's resident Congressman, who also debuted a brand-new look on the sixth season premiere of the HBO comedy.
After it was revealed that a suspicious lump was found on one of his testicles in the fifth-season finale, the New Hampshire representative (played by Timothy Simons) was caught shaving his head by rival Dan Egan (Reid Scott) and fessed up that he has been pretending to still have cancer for his own political benefit. Though he underwent six weeks of chemotherapy, he currently has a clean bill of health.
"Only Jonah would use his cancer," showrunner David Mandel told The Hollywood Reporter of the character. "His comeuppance really comes from that moment with Dan."
Simons, who actually shaved his head (but not his eyebrows), will now be letting his hair grow in real time on subsequent episodes. "I think he'd be the first to admit that he looks like a monster," added Mandel.
Jonah's website first launched last year amid an elaborate social media campaign around the show. The character's campaign hub, Jonah Ryan for Congress, faux-connected the dark-horse candidate to the people of New Hampshire while Jonah was running, with Veep even taking out ads for the candidate in a local newspaper.
Now his website has undergone a makeover bearing Jonah's fresh face and slogan. His updated bio explains how, after a few months in office, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and resolved to beat it: "Today, after having the testicle removed and completing a course of chemotherapy, I am proud to be not just a cancer survivor but a cancer winner."
A quick scan of who Jonah is following on Twitter reveals much about the character: His Twitter list includes France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, Kid Rock, Chili's restaurant and, of course, the NRA.
The sixth-season premiere opened one year after Selina's historic presidential loss and White House exodus. The now-former president is focusing on her post-presidency legacy while her staffers are scattered. Former Selina staffers who have migrated to work for Jonah, Ben Cafferty (Kevin Dunn) and Kent Davison (Gary Cole), get bios on Jonah's team page.
Last year, the Emmy-winning series also brought two other characters' show visions to life when it launched Richard's (Sam Richardson) Let's Talk About Splett blog and debuted a website for Catherine Meyer's (Sarah Sutherland) documentary, Kissing Your Sister: The Story of a Tie, complete with a whopping 26 bonus scenes and cast interviews.
After the premiere, Let's Talk About Splett was up and running again, with a series of new posts and vlogs from Richard. Three episodes in, Richard's posts — which range from him touring the Empire State Building to a list of his most and least favorite nutmeats — bear the datelines of Veep's sixth season timeline, February 2018.
During last season's debut of the Kissing Your Sister documentary, Veep jumped ahead of reality to take place in January 2017. "We needed to set the timeline so viewers knew when we were in present time and when we were flashing back," explained Mandel of the decision to stamp a date on the series for the first time.
Also new to Richard's blog is an essay on race and cinema, an appreciation of the game Connect Four and a "Splettcipe" for Spaghetti alla Riccardo, among other videos.
A third Easter egg that dropped after the premiere and continues to update alongside the show is an online hub for Selina's ever-changing Meyer Fund.
While being interviewed by CBS This Morning's Dan Egan on the premiere, Selina informed America that she has spent the last year working on her Meyer Fund for Adult Literacy. After saying it out loud, she realized it might not be enough of a cause, and tacked AIDS onto the fund.
The new online hub initially displayed the original name of the fund, which is being run by Selina's daughter-in-law Marjorie (Clea Duvall), but continues to update as Selina adds to her cause. After the third episode, which saw Selina overseeing an election in the Republic of Georgia, the name on the website now reflects a new title: The Meyer Fund For Adult Literacy & AIDS & The Advancement of Global Democracy.
The mission statement reads as follows: "The Meyer Fund for Adult Literacy, AIDS, and the Advancement of Global Democracy is leading the fight against the merciless three-headed scourges of adult readinglessness, AIDS, and global anti-democracy through advocacy, awareness-raising, teaching people to read, encouraging them to also avoid certain high risk behaviors, and finally to support democracy and democratic institutions. We also encourage people to have hope."
The website features an online literacy test as well as other worthy organizations and resources for the respective causes. But most clever is the team bio page.
Along with Richard, now her Chief-of-Staff, and Marjorie, Mike McLintock (Matt Walsh) is listed as an archivist and ex-husband Andrew Meyer is still the director of fundraising. The prompt to Andrew's bio, however, redirects to a Page not found error screen — a fitting move given Andrew's cheating scandal from the second episode.
"As we go through the rest of the season, Selina is embracing being a former president and she has to find her path," said Mandel of Selina's quest for relevancy. "She has to find a path because she has no other path."
Thanks to Dan's new gig on CBS This Morning, Veep has been posting all of its press clips from the faux-morning show.
"We wanted to create this world of the CBS Morning Show and be able to dip our toe into another side of Veep that hasn’t been as explored in the past," Mandel explained of the media and morning show-entertainment side. "I don’t want to give anything away, but it was very enjoyable to give Reid [Scott] a big story and Dan really shines this season. We really did create a new world to explore on Veep."
See the "press clips" that have aired the show, so far, and keep checking in for more Easter eggs as the season continues. For THR's weekly chats with Mandel, head to Live Feed after the episodes air Sundays on HBO.