"We have two catch-22 situations simultaneously. Is there even a name for that?"
The foul-mouthed Vice President of the United States who longs for more power. She becomes President in season 3, after the previous President unexpectedly resigns.
- Annoying Laugh: When she is in a flirtatious mood toward her ex-husband Andrew.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: When she becomes President, the consequences for fuck-ups become much bigger.
- Convenient Miscarriage: In "Baseball", she discovers that she's pregnant, much to her horror, as she's unmarried. She has a miscarriage in the very next episode.
- Deadpan Snarker: But only behind closed doors. Publicly, she sticks to safe (and lame) jokes.
- Hypocritical Humor: See It's All About Me.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: In "Nicknames," when she learns about all the various nicknames given to her by bloggers, the one she takes the greatest issue with is "Viagra Prohibitor."
- Important Haircut: She gets a short haircut when she's running for President in season 3.
- Informed Ability: Supposedly a politician of some repute, but with a habit of gaffes, yet on the show she appears to be clueless, surrounding herself with an even more clueless staff, and being unable to effectively engage in the kind of small talk with voters that real politicians do all the time.
- It's All About Me: She tries to deny it, but it's true. In "Catherine" she says, "I know not everything is about me," to her daughter — while hiding in a closet filled with pictures, posters, and cardboard cutouts of herself.
- Kicked Upstairs: Truth in Television, the Vice Presidential position is notorious for being a graveyard for political influence, with some exceptions - Al Gore, George H.W. Bush and Richard Nixon, for example. Selina is apparently not one of them.
Selina: What am I missing these days?
Senator Hallows: Power.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: As a middle-aged, divorced politician, the last thing she wants is another child, so of course she gets pregnant after having unprotected sex one time.
- Mistaken for Racist: In "Chung", Selina is mistakenly informed that Danny Chung, the Chinese American governor of Minnesota was not born in the U.S., so she says on Meet the Press that Chung can't run for President, because he's "technically not an American".
- Mrs. Robinson: Explicitly stated by Jonah, who wonders out loud how many drinks it would take for something to happen between them.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: A female senator who ran a campaign to be President before being shunted into an administration job by the victorious nominee? Hillary Rodham Clinton. A Vice-President from a mid-Atlantic state with a habit of unfortunate gaffes? Joe Biden.
- No Party Given: Selina's party is never named, though the issues she stands for seem to be vaguely liberal, suggesting that she's a Democrat.
- Power Hair: She gets a short haircut when she's running for President in season 3. Louis-Dreyfus (who wears a wig for the role) said that her own hair "does not look like hair that‘s inside the Beltway".
- The Scapegoat: Essentially her role for the President and the rest of the administration when a major scandal comes along. Even when Selina actually accomplishes something spectacular, like successfully negotiating the budget talks with the House majority leader in order to avoid a government shutdown, POTUS stalls on the deal and lets the shutdown happen in order to take attention away from the hostage crisis blowout where one of them was a CIA spy, thereby blaming Selina.
Ben: Madam Vice President, greatest respect, but it has been the job of the VP over the ages to, you know, take it in the ass to save the President.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Her filthy mouth was noted by several reviewers.
- Slave to PR: Selina's stance on any issue will be determined by what impression it will have in the media.
- The Unfavourite: To the administration. In season 1, her main project is a "clean jobs" bill, which she eventually has to veto personally, when the President pulls his support. In season 2, the President gives her a more prominent role in foreign policy, only to throw her under the bus when a major scandal comes along.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Selina is selfish, shallow, amoral and incompetent. She does not seem to have any political convictions; all she cares about is how she appears before the voters.
- Upper-Class Twit: The media makes her out to be this due to her over-privileged background, especially after a quote in her book about how she learned about the tough life of American farmers through grooming her pony as a child. Saturday Night Live even does a sketch about this... and then Meyer turns up in a follow-up one (Dreyfus was in fact in SNL herself
Selina: So I had a horse as a kid, who didn't? Have a pet, is what I meant.
- Selina also says that you shouldn't be a millionaire at a young age: "You shouldn't make your first million until you're in your thirties. That's what Andrew and I did and it kept us completely grounded."
- Woman Scorned: In the middle of her divorce with Andrew, she torched his car and got away with it.
Played By: Anna Chlumsky
"I am in a room with three people and a fuckload of quiche".
The long-suffering Vice Presidential Chief of Staff.
- Beleaguered Assistant. Like everyone in Selina's staff, she's are completely overworked and constantly forced to put out fires.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Dan.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Manipulative Bitch: Her manipulations in "Special Relationship" result in Dan having a nervous breakdown and losing his position as campaign manager, with Amy getting the job.
- Married to the Job: Work seems to be much more important to Amy than her personal life. She didn't even know about her one-year anniversary with her boyfriend until he told her. Even then, she didn't care, because she had something urgent to do.
Ed: Kind of seems more appropriate now that it's just the two of us.
Amy: No, you have to go too.
Ed: Amy! It's our anniversary!
Amy: Please do not tell me you are one of those fucking weirdos that celebrates three-month-aversaries!
Ed: It's actually a year.
Amy: A year in which you neglected to tell me about Jeff Kanenote .
- Not Wanting Kids Is Weird: Amy is criticized by her family for not wanting children.
- Working with the Ex: She and Dan dated for a week. She apparently has no fond memories of it.
Amy: It was like getting over mild food poisoning.
"Every single thing you say to me is emasculating. Do you realize that?"
The fiercely loyal personal assistant to the Vice President.
Played By: Matt Walsh
"So you my friend, have your cock out at a funeral".
The rather incompetent Director of Communications for the Vice President.
- Beleaguered Assistant
- Big Eater: Mike is usually seen stuffing his face whenever there is food around.
Jonah: Okay, Mike. One day, you're going to wake up and find that your lungs have turned into pastry.
- Brick Joke: His Bullshitzu.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He gets Selina to cry in an interview with the hope of making her look sympathetic. The Genre Savvy Journalist figures this out quickly.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: When listing the bad things that could possibly happen and overshadow the plastic untensil incident, he hypothetically suggests that Tom Hanks might die. Everyone is horrified by this.
- In another example, after Selina tears into him for incompetence, he only attempts to rebuff the last part:
Selina: Remind me never to get trapped in a burning building with you, Mike.
Mike: I'm very good in a fire.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Mike always tries to ignore it when the Veeple People learn about something scandalous.
Mike: (cringing) Christ, I hate knowledge.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mike accidentally emails everyone in the West Wing the contents of Kent's flash drive, which contained polling questions like "what if POTUS lied to the American people?" and thus alerts everyone about the spy cover-up.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Described by Anthony, one of the owners of frozen yoghurt shop as a "gay Irish fireman."
- Running Gag: In season 2, the boat he's trying to get rid of.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: A variant. He gets Selina to cry on camera with the hope of playing up her sympathetic traits. Backfires: see Hoist by His Own Petard.
Played By: Timothy Simons
"I'm from the White House, and what the fuck are you doing?"
The White House Liason to the Vice President's office until season 3, when he gets fired
, and a notorious(ly bad) womanizer.
- Brick Joke: His obsession with getting laid by Eights.
- Butt Monkey: He is hated by pretty much everyone in the Vice President's office. And the Administration. And the District. And possibly in the world.
- Casanova Wannabe: Hits on Amy, Sue and pretty much every girl he comes into contact with. Always rebuffed.
- Fun with Acronyms: Does this incessantly. Calls the President POTUS ("Poh-tuss"), the Veep VPOTUS ("Vee-poh-tuss"), the First Dog of the United States FDOTUS ("F-doh-tus") and makes them up pretty much on the fly, such as VPVP ("Vice Presidential Visual Presence"). This annoys everybody.
Mike: You can't just make up acronyms, Jonah.
Jonah: Somebody has to, Mike.
- Jerkass: Jonah is a selfish asshole, who is also incredibly annoying. Pretty much everyone who knows him holds him in contempt.
Mike: I'm appealing to your better nature.
Jonah: Mike, I don't have one of those.
- Memetic Molester: In universe, he is described as having the face of a rapist.
Jonah: May I remind you this rapist face gets eights? Consensually, I might add.
- Meaningful Name: Whether or not this was intentional...his name is Jonah and he's supremely unlucky.
- Nepotism: Sort of. As we learn in season 3, he only got a job in the White House because his uncle has important political connections in New Hampshire. Jonah, however, refuses to acknowledge this.
Jonah: Mom, do you think that you could talk to Uncle Jeff for me? I want a job on my own merits and I think he's the guy to get it for me.
- Once an Episode: He will point out he works at the White House. And hit on Amy. And Sue. And everyone. See the character quote.
- Running Gag: Hey, did you know he works at the White House? This ends in season 3, since he no longer works there.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Vastly overstates the importance of his position.
- This gets even worse in season 3 when he's fired, and insists that the pathetic trashy gossip blog he's set up is making him an Intrepid Reporter who's going to bring Washington to its knees.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Dan tears into him when he finds out Jonah's position is so unimportant he cannot be used for information.
Played By: Reid Scott
"Yeah, well, next time pack an espresso in your big fucking bitch bag".
The former Director of Communications for Senator Hallows, until he sabotages her in an attempt to curry favour with Selina. This gets him a job under Mike as Deputy Director of Communications for Selina.
- Beleaguered Assistant
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Amy. Also, arguably, Jonah.
- Blunt "Yes"
Gary: Every single thing you say to me is emasculating. Do you realize that?
- The Charmer: Subverted. Whenever he turns on the charm, his colleagues find it anything but.
Mike: You know, Dan, watching you try to be nice is like watching a baby smoke a cigarette. It's kind of cool, but also very disturbing.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He will sell out whoever he works for if he thinks it can further his career, but then this is par for the course in politics. He's just the one in Selina's staff who displays it the most.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Averted. Though clearly thinking himself as a cut above the rest, Dan's arrogance and inability to think things through causes his advice to not only be useless not once or twice, but every single time, frequently backfiring into his and/or Selina's face.
- In season two he is told several times directly to his face that he is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Once by Kent once by oil lobbyist Sidney Purcell, and once by Selina herself, as seen in "Hostages", where Dan's attempts to sidle up to her backfire, as the VP was in the middle of reacting to the news of a marine losing his leg. He's put in his place so severely that even Gary gloats to him about it.
- In season 3, when Selina is running for President, he promotes Dan to campaign manager. However, he ends up being unable to deal with the pressure and has a nervous breakdown. As a result, Selina replaces him with Amy.
- Also in season 3, he leaks a (presumably false) story about Governor Chung being involved in the torture of Iraqi prisoners to Jonah in order to get his trashy news site discredited and shut down. This comes back to bite Dan in the ass when Kent threatens to fire him because the leak has been traced back to him. Of course, Dan resolves this quickly enough by getting Jonah to denounce the internet as his source for the story in exchange for a job with Selina.
- Likes Older Women: In a private conversation, he says that he prefers older women due to their life experience. Almost leads to a Mrs. Robinson moment between him and Selina, until it's ruined when he tells her his darkest secret: he killed a stray dog on a dare.
- Manipulative Bastard: A highly skilled political jockey who can quickly defuse complex problems for Selina, while also making things better for himself. Or so he thinks.
- Reality Ensues: No matter how skilled you are, sneaking in a bill opposed by the President and much of Congress will cause a shitstorm. And result in the Veep having to veto the bill she spent ages working on. He is still dealing with the fallout as of the Season One final, and possibly into Season Two.
- Slasher Smile
- Smug Snake
- The Sociopath: The show is giving less-subtle hints that he seems to be of the high-functioning variety. The fact that he revealed that he killed a stray dog as a child to win a dare is leaving little room for doubt.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a devastating one to Jonah.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A rare inversion - Dan sells out his boss, Senator Hallows, to dig Selina out of a scandal. In the process he gets a job on the Veep's staff. It's clear from earlier dialogue he sees the Senator as merely a stepping stone on his career.}
- Workaholic: Dan doesn't seem to have a personal life at all. He mentions dating a woman in "Nicknames", but only to further his political career. When he finds out that she won't get an important job, he dumps her immediately.
- Working with the Ex: Amy does not have a high opinion of him. Well, not his competence, but his personality.
Played By: Sufe Bradshaw
"If I were writing a memoir, which I'm not, but if I were, whoo, this would be a big moment."
The Personal Assistant to the Vice President. Probably the most competent member of her staff.
Played By: Kevin Dunn
The long-suffering White House Chief of Staff.
- The Alcoholic: He isn't shy about it either.
Amy: Anyone who talks about work tonight has to take a drink.
Ben: Work. (Takes a drink.)
- Deadpan Snarker
- The Eeyore: Explicitly referred to as such by Selina.
- Jaded Washout: Selina refers to him as a "burned-out loser".
- Must Have Caffeine: His coffee mug can hold nine-cups worth and he claims that if a fire were to happen in the West Wing, it would be the only thing he'd salvage.
- Really Got Around: When discussing the possibility that Thornhill might have had an affair with a mystery person.
Selina: 8 years ago? It could have been anyone. Could have been Ben.
Ben: Yeah, I poked everything that moved back then.
- Stopped Caring
Selina: (In response to learning about the number of pro-life and pro-choice lobbyists that she has to listen to) Is there a "pro-I-don't-give-a-shit" lobby?
Played By: Gary Cole
A senior White House polling adviser.