This season has not been up to the standard that this show got me used to. I mean, this episode was actually way better than some of the previous ones, but still, I'm thinking there was some lack of material and maybe even focus on the writing for this year.
[7.8/10] A lot going on in this one! (Perhaps as usual, it’s been a while between episodes for yours truly.)
We get a pretty standard “Selina being awful” bit, where she basically takes over Gary’s 40th birthday party in order to prove to a wealthy southern donor that she’s homegrown in the country enough to warrant a sizeable donation to her library fund. It’s a bit predictable and enjoyable in its cringe comedy, but fairly typical.
I enjoyed the texture of Gary’s home life a little better. He and his domineering but in-the-closet dad (Stephen Root!) had a funny dynamic, and the little details like his ghost baby twin or his close relationship with his mom (who thinks he’s dating Selina?) were amusing. Plus, I appreciate the deftness of the writing that he’s frustrated with Selina, but doesn't have the gumption to stand up to her, so he transfers and projects his frustrations onto his dad, who basically treats him the same way Selina does.
The rest of the episode isn’t bad either. I was less than enamored with Amy and Mike teaming up to find Mike’s White House journal, and the fact that he left it at the Washington Post was a bit too predictable. But I liked the Jonah-focused parts of the episode. Having him screw with Dan a little bit was surprisingly fun (and Jonah is hilariously awful), and the fact that a quickly-fired Ben manages to screw him over in turn was a good twist.
Overall, some good, cutting put-downs in this one and some sharp, funny writing. Very nice.