Clea DuVall Strikes Again, Turns Veep’s First Daughter Gay

Veep‘s First Daughter, Catherine Meyer, has been lurking in the background all season long — literally. Selina’s long-suffering only child is crafting a documentary, and every time the camera pans out or around, there she is: standing in the corner shooting video of her mom’s cabinet meetings, Oval Office interactions, narcissistic meltdowns, and swearing symphonies. Selina always seems to forget that Catherine exists, and then shoos her away when she realizes they’re standing right beside each other. She didn’t even remember to call Catherine into the hospital room before she pulled her grandma’s life support earlier this season!

So it’s no surprise that during last week’s “C**tgate,” Catherine announced that she’d fallen in love with someone else who lives in the shadows. What is surprising is that the someone is a White House staffer, and woman. But not just any woman: Catherine has fallen in love with Marjorie (played by Clea DuVall), Selina’s personal Secret Service detail who was chosen for the job because everyone thinks she looks like the president. It’s so deliciously bizarre and awkward; it’s so very Veep.

Like every episode she appears in, Catherine spends the majority of “C**tgate” desperately trying to get her mom’s attention for five minutes to tell her something important, but Selina can’t be bothered. What’s different this time is that Catherine won’t back down, and finally forces Selina to stop and listen to her.

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Catherine: Mom, there’s something I really need to find a way to tell you.
Selina: Catherine, I am in the middle of a shitstorm.
Catherine: Please. I’ve been trying to talk to you for three days, and I need to tell you something very important.
Selina: What is it, Catherine? What is it that is so pressing?
Catherine: I’ve met someone. And I know this is awkward because you work with them, but we’re in love.
Selina: Who?
Catherine: Me and Marjorie.
Selina: Who?
Marjorie: [stepping out from behind her] Me, ma’am.
Selina: What?

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When Marjorie walks over and takes Catherine’s hand, the First Daughter smiles for the first time in five seasons.

Veep has never really been about whether or not Selina Meyer is a good president or a good person (she’s neither, really), but about how people perceive her. This season, specifically, the focus has shifted to the way centuries of entrenched and systemic sexism affect the way her staff, Congress, and voters talk about and interact with her. It’s never about what’s good for the country; it’s always about what’s good for Selina. So it’s exceptional that Catherine’s coming out is met with befuddlement but not with panic. Selina is forced to worry as much about what people think of her haircut as she does about what people will think of her foreign policy, but Catherine’s lesbianism* is a non-issue for her.

Mike: I’m getting a lot of questions about Catherine and, you know, her condition?
Selina: She’s a lesbian, Mike; she’s not a werewolf.

Selina really just wants to know which popular pop culture narrative Catherine and Marjorie want to use.

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Selina: I have a question. How do you gals want to play the whole gay thing?
Catherine: I’m sorry, I don’t—
Selina: Mike has been getting a bunch of questions and interview requests, etc. etc. And I don’t know how you want to handle it. Do you want to play it like Ellen, or do you want to do it more like Jodie Foster, play it like a mystery, or…?

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Marjorie says they don’t want to politicize their relationship, and Selina is fine with that — until she needs to politicize their relationship. At a black tie ball where she’s trying to whip up Congressional support for the upcoming presidential vote, she runs into an LGBT advocate who won’t leave her alone, so she forces Catherine and Marjorie into a photo and conversation with her so she can get back to playing black ops cutthroat politics.

My favorite part about this storyline is that it doesn’t seem to be going away. In a preview for next week’s episode, it looks like Selina is on some kind of vacation with Catherine and Marjorie.

Catherine: Marjorie’s a raw food vegan and she’s turned me into one.
Selina: So that’s two things she’s turned you into!

And in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sarah Sutherland said we’ll continue to see the relationship play out:

You will. To what end and what capacity I probably can’t say! But I will say that it’s definitely a more fully formed relationship that has staying power than Catherine’s past relationships, which were more fleeting and often died on the vine. Marjorie really loves Catherine and I think that she’s giving her things that Catherine didn’t get otherwise.

Maybe the best part of this whole relationship is that Marjorie is a trained Secret Service agent. Surely that increases her and Catherine’s chances of survival.

(*When I watched  “C**tgate,” I told the senior editors that Catherine had come out as bisexual because she’s had relationships with men in the past, including being engaged to a guy she broke up with at her mother’s request, but in this week’s “Congressional Ball,” Selina refers to Catherine as a lesbian, so that’s the label I’ll use until the show says otherwise. I, too, wish more queer women would ID as and say the word “bisexual” out loud on TV, but I’m only the messenger.)


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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1156 articles for us.

24 Comments

  1. Clea Duvall has been my absolute favorite ever since her disembodied Husky Lesbian Voice TM out acted Charisma Carpenters whole self on that episode of Buffy

    You know the one

  2. I was watching this episode on Saturday, thinking, oh my god Catherine is going to come out. But then I convinced myself it couldn’t be or Autostraddle would have covered it already :) Glad to see you found it. I’m excited about the development as well!

  3. Ah! I loved this coming out. They were so cute together at the end being all giddy. I am very excited to see where this goes (hopefully not dead…that doesn’t seem like that type of show though, BUT Clea Duvall’s job is to take a bullet so…)

  4. Actually, the best thing about this is Clea DuVall in those blazers and suits. ??? And is that a tux? I may have to start watching this show.

  5. Michelle

    I figured she’d ID as a lesbian since she started trying to come out by telling Selina that she’d finally realized what was “wrong” about all her past relationships (besides the fact that all the guys sounded like pervs?).

    I’m also amused that Catherine is dating someone who Selina ignores almost as much as she ignores Catherine herself- the gag in Thanksgiving where Marjorie and Selina had the exact same exchange about being from Delaware twice and Selina never noticed struck me as a very Catherine-ish moment.

    • One thing I’ve noticed is that Selina was who bought Marjorie and Catherine together. In episode 4 when Selina’s mother dies she doesn’t want to comfort Catherine, so she asks Marjorie to do it and in episode 5 Catherine wants Selina to come to Thanksgiving dinner but she won’t and instead Marjorie goes.

      Which puts a completely different spin on the conversation with Marjorie and means it goes something like this.
      Selina “Where did you spend Thanksgiving?”
      Marjorie “Delaware ma’am”
      Selina “Oh what’s where I’m from”
      Marjorie “I know ma’am”

  6. I’m very excited about catching up on this show to see this, but Heather come on when will you write about Person of Interest?

  7. also this feels timely bc i saw clea duvall last week in terminal six before camp

  8. Yas! This is one of my new fav queer lady storylines on TV. I loved that:

    1) Selina was surprised about the relationship but the writers didn’t make her ask any homophobic questions (like Ryan Murphy would do with the families of his LGBT characters)
    2) the lesbian/queer culture references to famous women coming out!! (so often shows with queer women characters don’t engage with queer culture, ie Jane the Virgin)
    3) that Selina was more worried about Catherine’s hair/outfit for the ball than her bringing a woman as a date, very in-character
    4) the amount of gayness Clea Duvall emits on screen
    5) that there hasn’t so far been any kind of pedagogical/moral storyline about LGBT rights. Queer narratives on screen are so often intertwined with educational moments abt “issues” (ie, on the ABC and Shonda shows we love, on Empire, etc). It’s nice to have a queer storyline that’s in character, provides character development, and for comedic effect, but not aimed to teach a cis/straight audience anything.

    Hopefully they keep it up!!

    • jl

      I love that Selina continues being a shitty mother to her gay(bi?queer?lesbian?) daughter not because she’s homophobic but just because she’s a shitty mother in general.

  9. When I read this headline I totally thought Autostraddle was breaking news that Clea Duvall was dating Joe Biden’s daughter. I don’t even know if Joe Biden has a daughter.

    Anyway. That’s all I came in here to say. I’ll show myself out…

    • x

      I thought the exact same thing and was so excited! I was like, how have I not seen this story anywhere else?? Oops.

  10. I started season one of Veep, and I just couldn’t push through, Selina is just SOOOO terrible, and I didn’t really like any of the other characters enough to stick around. If I jump in and start watching from here, will I be able to understand? Because if Catherine and Marjorie had been a thing from the very beginning, I likely would have stuck around much longer!

    • AT-AT

      I want to say you should be fine to jump in. Thats how I started watching this show but I jumped in mid season 2. The only thing that might trip you up are the references to past characters and events (however they mention old characters more than old events). Also Marjorie only starts this season.

  11. In the case of characters like Catherine I usually go by how the character identifies herself, in which case Catherine hasn’t put a label on her sexuality and therefore neither will I.

    I will note, however, that having relationships with men in the past doesn’t necessarily make her bisexual.

  12. Luka

    If it was a drama show like The West Wing, being a Secret Service agent could get a character killed. Veep really isn’t that kind of show.

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