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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Veep’s “East Wing” episode.]
Who knew that President Selina Meyer’s (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) most loyal employee had that
in his bag up his sleeve?
After years of doting and fulfilling her every whim, Gary (Tony Hale) finally clapped back against the new president, as Sunday’s installment of HBO’s Armando Iannucci comedy Veep saw things finally come to a head between the devoted bagman and his boss in a verbal sparring for the ages.
Assisting with decoration and planning for the POTUS’ first state dinner, Gary goes a tad overboard.
“He went all Louis XIV on it,” Hale tells The Hollywood Reporter of Gary’s antics. “He went crazy and wasted the budget. Gary, it’s not [HGTV]! In his mind, she’s the queen, so for every dinner she needs a castle — it should be top-notch.”
Of course, the lavish spending did not come without a cost, as the over-budget dinner painted the new administration as careless with the people’s money and resulted in Gary drawing the ire of his exalted boss in a blowup of epic proportions. It was a rare moment of pure drama in the heavily comedic series.
“Mistakes that we make as vice president can sometimes be hidden. It’s tougher to make mistakes in this position,” adds Hale, who won an Emmy for his role in 2013 and was nominated again last year. “This position requires Gary stepping up to the plate, and Gary doesn’t step up to the plate very well.”
Here, Hale breaks down the big fight, Selina and Gary’s relationship and whether we’ll see more of his other alter-ego, Buster Bluth, on Arrested Development.
Gary has struggled a bit so far this season as Selina has ascended to the presidency. How has this shifted dynamic affected him and can he handle the pressure of working for a president?
He was pretty content being by her side as the vice president because she was second in command, which means he had a lot more of her attention, which is Gary’s nirvana. Now everybody in the country wants her attention, and that’s just Gary’s nightmare. Gary would much rather her hurl insults at him than have distance from him. That’s just emotional suicide.
The big scene this episode was the blowup between Selina and Gary. How long do you think he’s been keeping that in?
Selina is his queen, his everything. She has abused him and made him do things like break up with her boyfriend or dig through her trash and he happily does it. He’s never wanted to blow up with her. He’s wanted to blow up with everybody else — Dan [Reid Scott], Jonah [Timothy C. Simons], Mike [Matt Walsh] and all those guys — but never Selina because that’s blasphemy. So when she spoke up and said what she really thought of Gary — that he’s a middle-aged man who gets her — that’s news to him and [sends] him reeling. But it also brings up the fact that she has had an awareness that Gary has been there for her. But neither one of those people should ever be in the position that they’re in. The country is in trauma.
How will this fight change their relationship going forward? Will Gary re-evaluate his position in Selina’s life?
No. [Actually] they stick together a little more. There are so many things in Gary’s life that he needs to re-evaluate that he’s not even going there. There are the co-dependency issues. The fact that he’s even in a position that people tend to leave when they’re in their 20s. There are so many therapy topics that could be touched upon.
Will we dig more into Gary’s co-dependency to Selina this season and why he’s so devoted to her?
From a background standpoint, Gary [hasn’t] ever had much of an identity in a very positive light for himself, so he needs a very powerful person and attaches their identity to his identity. He has no identity. His identity is Selina Meyer. If she ever leaves the presidency, he’ll be carrying her purse to the grocery store because he doesn’t know life outside of that. That has been his existence. He goes and practices and thinks about pleasing her for the next day. He’s got versions of everything that is in that bag that he carries around.
Do you have a favorite item you’ve pulled out of that bag? What’s the most scandalous item you think he has in there?
There’s a lot secrets in that bag! Potential prescriptions and some things that might be under lock and key that Gary knows about. There’s that scene last year where she started pulling stuff out of the bag [to help a shocked and nose-bleeding Gary.] There was a book on bicycles in the bag. There was a magnifying glass, which I still can’t figure out. When stuff like that comes out [it’s like], “Wow, this is really painting more of a picture of Gary for me.” He loves him some bicycles.
Do you actually have props in the bag when filming?
If something’s in the scene I’m pulling out, I obviously do, but for the most part, Gary would be mortified if he knew what Tony Hale carries in that bag. It is old script pages and empty water bottles.
Brian Grazer said that Arrested Development is coming back for another 17 episodes. Have you heard of any plans or seen any scripts?
Honestly, I don’t really know what is specifically going on, but what I do know is whether it’s seven episodes or 17 episodes, everybody is on board. My hope is that it will happen again. I want to find out what happens with Buster because there’s a cliffhanger at the end of [season four] and mainly because everything that has come out of [creator] Mitch Hurwitz‘s mind has always surprised me. I remember throwing out ideas on set when we were shooting and saying [something like] “What if Buster’s on Dancing With the Stars?” and he’s like, “That’s funny, but I’m thinking of having a seal bite off your hand.” He always topped it. I get excited about just finding out about all the chaos he’s planned.
Did you get to keep the hook hand?
I didn’t. I should have, but I didn’t. The first time around when we finished we didn’t know if we were going to be back, so no one grabbed stuff. Thinking back, I should have grabbed the hand chair, there’s a lot of stuff I could have grabbed. I could have just grabbed some argyle socks!
Buster and Gary share quite a few traits. How do you see these characters as similar?
There are definitely similarities. [The scene where Gary hides from Selina] is totally like when Buster was neither seen nor heard. They both have huge mommy issues, that’s for sure, but the main difference for me is that, for instance, Buster has a difficult time just going outside on the sidewalk before he has to go back inside. And though Buster loves Lucille, I don’t think he’d ever fight for Lucille. [Whereas for] Gary, his world is Selina, and he would definitely fight for his world.
Would you say that Gary loves Selina more than Buster loves Lucille One?
Yes. Gary loves Selina definitely more, but there is an equal amount of co-dependence for both of them. They both could use a very long therapy retreat. Or they should just be committed.
Thoughts on Gary and Selina’s big moment? Excited for more Arrested Development? Sound off in the comments below. Veep airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.
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