Veep, a new HBO comedy series directed by Armando Iannucci (In the Loop), is a hilarious look at the “other side” of the political realm and just how funny and vulgar these politicians can be throughout their day-to-day endeavors, all while they are trying to maintain their executive role. In this case, Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as Vice President or “veep” of the United States.
Our experience of Veep is somewhere in between The Office and The West Wing, of course with its own sharp and witty edge. Right off the bat you get a sense of Meyer, a former Senator from Maryland, and her life as Vice Prez. During a time where the President happens to be “unable to fulfill” his duties, Meyer is left on edge, wondering: “Did the president call?” And most of the time, no, he doesn’t. And though her influence isn’t taken all that seriously (at one point she starts her speech with, “I have stepped into the president’s shoes this evening and who knew he wore kitten heels. Just kidding. He’s more of a stilettos guy”) and she leaves no impression among the tough crowd of politicians at all whatsoever, still she remains on her feet with her light approach to the whole fuckery of it all.
We like the show because it stays away from the actual party aspect of politics, in which Ianucci, “didn’t want [Veep] to be about a type of political view, the state of Democrats and Republicans,” because who wants to even go there? The way the show dances around the politics of politics leaves more room for the behind-the-scenes stuff, the funny instances like having to sign a not-so-popular dead Senator’s condolence card: “When a sexual harasser dies, we sign his wife’s card. That’s how Washington works,” says the chief of staff, Harvard
Graduate Amy Brookheimer (Anna Chlumsky), who is Meyer’s backbone in a sense. “To some the anonymity makes the job seem thankless and soul-destroying but I welcome it, I really do[,]” she says. ” Though Brookheimer and Meyer a lot of the times disagree on certain things, they ultimately balance each other out.
Gary Walsh (Tony Hale), personal aid to the VP, formally known as the “Body Man,” goes wherever Meyer goes without fail. He is consistently carrying around her excessive baggage–briefcase, books, makeup–“What you see is the swan, what I’m carrying is her two big, very busy webbed legs and feet,” the swan of course being Meyer. Alongside Walsh you have the “Vice President’s secret weapon,” Dan Egan (Reid Scott), aka Meyer’s Deputy Assistant and Deputy Director of Communications, who describes himself as “a dynamic team player who loves a challenge.” We sensed Egan’s underlying competition would be Mike McClintock, the veep’s assistant and also Director of Communications, but “[a] regular guy, a sports fan, a dog lover and basically just a guy — just a pretty average guy.”
In the office you have Jonah Ryan, who says he is “a conduit between the President and the Vice President and it’s tremendously exciting for me to have been given such a vital role at such a young age.” Ryan is always at the office, and you know he is because as Meyer says, “he totally changes the atmosphere. He just hits the place like a tornado.” Then there is the straight-forwardness of the Executive Assistant Sue Wilson, the veep’s “gatekeeper” who coordinates all of Meyer’s meetings and events.
We look forward to what’s to come from Veep, and found ourselves laughing as the half hour flew by during the first season’s premiere. If you haven’t tuned in, the pilot is available online so you can watch as Julia Luis-Dreyfus takes on the role of future President of the United States. With the right assistance, of course.