Veep‘s Emmy®-nominee Matt Walsh talks to Awards Daily TV about his hilarious Emmy submission, “Chicklet,” in an Anatomy of an Episode.
Veep‘s Matt Walsh received his second Emmy nomination this year for his role as Mike McLintock. Season 6 offered Mike adrift both personally and professional without Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in the White House. Early moments in the season saw him struggling with his new-found family and longing to get back into the political game. Enter Selina’s memoir. Over the course of the season, she engages Mike to write her memoir and then subsequently denies him access at every turn.
“Chicklet,” however, finds Mike and Selina bonding in ways they largely having in the entire series run. Mike follows Selina as she stumbles down memory lane, eventually uncovering nasty truths that shatter (literally) her imagined childhood. The episode features all the typically witty and acerbic dialogue you’ve come to expect from Veep. Yet, it also features a sensitive and vaguely nurturing side of Mike. It’s unlike any characterization on Veep thus far. Matt Walsh was wise to submit it as his main Emmy submission. The combination of his emotional gravitas coupled with eventual physical comedy makes for a unique spin to the character.
Here, Emmy-nominee Matt Walsh breaks down Mike’s scenes in Anatomy of an Episode: “Chicklet.”
On Receiving a Second Emmy Nomination
It was a surprise. After being nominated before, you’re a little more aware of the Emmy race once you’ve been nominated. I was legitimately surprised and super happy. There’s tons of great TV, and even on our show, I felt like everybody had a great season. I was really surprised.
On Mike’s Journey in Writing Selina’s Memoir
When Mike was press secretary, he had been knocked around D.C. for decades. To be at that podium and for people to want access to him was a real turn-around for him after being beaten up in the game for so long. That was really enjoyable for him because there’s a bit of power in that for people who don’t get power often. In writing the book, Mike fancies himself a tremendous writer. He feels that’s his true calling, to craft words. He took great care in making it flourish with language. It was a delight to him to have Selina open up to him again. They were close in the early days, and I think it was fun for him to be in her good graces again. All the people in her orbit want to be in her good graces.
On Mike’s Actual Feelings for Selina Meyer
I do think he actually likes her. I don’t know if he came from an alcoholic family or something, but I think when mom’s in a good mood, you forget all the bad stuff. You want those times to last forever. So, I think you know that it isn’t going to last, but you take it when you can get it.
I think there’s a lot of history there. They were great friends. At one point, she was a person whose ideals matched his. I do think that love is there between them. It comes out occasionally. Everybody in that D.C. world are very self-centered, but I think there are many loyal people in D.C. who attach themselves to various senators or congressmen. They’re very committed to that person. I think that’s in there for Mike, and the episode shows them rekindling those old moments. If you have history with someone, then I think that’s comforting on both sides. I think Selina would rather have the dummy in the room that she knows.
On His Favorite “Chicklet” Moment
I think I like him challenging her on her memories. I think she’s in denial, and I think he poked at the flaws in her logic. Challenging her was a stretch for Mike when everybody just sort of says, “Yes, ma’am.” I think that was kind of a neat nuance when he was pulling the story out of her. That was really fun. Obviously, smashing the barn as an actor was just really fun to do. Those would be the two things that come to mind.
On Working with Beth McCarthy-Miller for the Episode’s Physical Comedy
Well, with a stunt scene, safety’s always the first thing a director ensures. Since we were smashing glasses, all the crew behind the camera had to wear goggles. Safety was a big part of the choreography. Also, Julia and I were focusing on our drunkenness and making sure that was consistent. [Beth] helped us find funny things to say while we were smashing things like “Pay me, bitch!” I think they let me riff on that a little when we got to the second or third smashing take. That was very fun to improvise and smash things.
On Developing the Glass-Smashing Rants
Mike is driven by appetites. He’s very simple in some ways, and so his complaints about the world are equally simple. Something like “Why can’t I buy shoes that fit?” or “I’m a grown man. Why do I still eat when I’m full?” I like those moments where you can get away with pretty stupid things for Mike to say.
On “Chicklet’s” Bittersweet Ending
I like that bittersweet moment where Mike’s told he has to give the recommendation Selina wrote to Sherman Tanz’s kid. That was a moment of considering whether or not he should dig in and not give it to her, but he would never win that argument. I liked playing that. In my mind, that’s the moment where he’s battling with himself about why he can’t stick up to her or why he sets himself up for this. It’s all those conversations you have with yourself in that moment. Maybe regret for being fooled again that she’s a friend. It’s a gut-punch.