Julia Louis-Dreyfus' appeal has been a bit lost on me. I always considered Seinfeld one of the most (if not the most) overrated sitcoms of all time. And like a lot of people, I never got around to seeing The New Adventures of Old Christine. But her work on Saturday Night Live in the early eighties was never truly appreciated, and Veep not only boasts a solid comic supporting cast, but one of the more talented writing staffs working. So after her second consecutive Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy, I decided I needed to give Veep a chance.
Veep follows the movements of Vice President Selina Meyer (the writers have never revealed which party she's a member of) trying to make her way through the world of cutthroat Washington, with a staff that's always jockeying for position, a POTUS who is incredibly incompetent, and a media that can't stop jumping all over each other. This could just as easily be the setup for House of Cards, and certainly everyone here has that same kind of cynicism. But what separates this show is that everyone is so focused on trying to humiliate everyone else in order to get what they want, and the results can be hysterical.
This season, the still unseen President has announced that he will not seek another term, a move that has caused Selina to 'write' a new book, have a book tour in Iowa, and set up the most pathetic campaign headquarters this side of Aaron Sorkin. Her staff is trying to simultaneously maneuver to the head of the campaign without admitting they're doing this, while trying to deal with the various other candidates, and a President doesn't know when to shut up. This led to setup which I doubt any other series would've tried--- to satirize the political minefield that is abortion.
After POTUS shifted from pro-choice to pro-life, Selina told her staff she couldn't take a position 'because nobody votes for the woman candidate' She then had to get her people to come up with something say, which caused her body man (Tony Hale, brilliant as always) to lay out fruit equivalent to babies in stages of pregnancy, her pollster to ultimately melt down telling her to 'pick a f...ing number!" and her press staff to try and separate her meetings with the pro-life and pro-choice circles, sometimes not being entirely sure which side she was talking to. All the while, trying to avoid an ex West Winger named Jonah, whose sole goal seems to be to humiliate everybody in politics.
By no means is Veep a perfect series. Often it seems so determined to satirize everything that it often veers from utter farce without any signs of subtlety. But after watching so many pay cable comedies which so embrace darkness without being comic, to see one that is solely determined to make it's audience laugh--- no matter how much we want to gag a little later--- is utterly delightful. This may be the most daring political satire since Parks & Recreation --- only here, none of the curses are bleeped out.
My Score: 4.5 stars