I’ve never been a big politics guy. Even in the current volatile political climate that so many are so vocal and opinionated about, I still find myself watching from afar. It’s not that I don’t realize that political issues are important to us and the world, or that I don’t follow current events in our country and realize their significance – I just find it exhausting. If it’s not random kids from my high school arguing on my Facebook feed, it’s some Instagram model making a statement here, some advertisement making another statement there. The influx of obnoxious partisan-posting and belief-bashing, however, can have some pleasant side effects. Look no further than the content being put out on television. After/during elections, programs like Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show (RIP) are electric, parodying the endless stream of content that comes from the campaign trail. But even these shows have their obvious biases and leanings which can grow tiresome. If you’re like me and just want something that pokes fun at the entire thing, look no further than HBO’s Veep, the most underrated comedy on television today.
Why is Veep so good? Forget the content for a second, let’s start with the basics: It’s on HBO. I won’t dive too deep into my love affair with HBO shows, but its record of high-quality programming certainly speaks for itself and, like I always say, you CANNOT downplay the significance of being able to use the word “fuck.” Also – episodes are 30 minutes long. Is there anything better than binging on half-hour comedies? Gotta love flying thru like 6 episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm before getting out of bed on Sunday morning… However the true greatness of Veep, obviously, lies with the substance of the show
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (of Seinfeld, SNL, a zillion other sitcoms fame) stars as the lead role and Vice-President of the United States, Selina Meyer. Meyer starts the show as an under-used, frustrated vice-president but ends up being President further along in the series. In the same vain as Leslie Knope and her colleagues in Parks & Rec, Meyer is surrounded by a close-knit inner circle of strategists and assistants who aid the vice-president in her duties. The crew constantly trade quips at each other, exchanging hilarious insults at the drop of the hat. Tony Hale (Buster in Arrested Development) and Matt Walsh are the stand-out performers in this crew (also quick shout out to the homie Luca’s dad -the legend Dave Pasquesi who kills it as Selina’s ex-husband), but the entire group has noticeable chemistry. It’s easy to tell all the actors have backgrounds in Improv comedy, as they are able to work off each other and manipulate situations in the funniest way possible. The writing is incredible. Despite being taking place in the largest political office in the world, the show doesn’t really talk politics specifically. No names are named and the creators have already said the upcoming season won’t talk about Trump. Sure, certain things about the processes and structure in Washington are mocked, but it’s really more of a general workplace comedy than political satire. Unlike most politicians, Dreyfus is personable and her portrayal makes viewers realize that our leaders can potentially be relatable and have the same personal problems as all of us.
Veep has quietly racked up countless awards over its five-year run, including personal awards for Dreyfus/Hale and the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. Veep took a similar path to success as fellow sitcom The Office, in the sense that both were adapted for American audiences from successful BBC shows in the UK. Creator Armando Iannucci has captured some of the absurdity of American politics and I’m sure his outside approach played a large role in creating such a unique perspective on the entire system. Fan of politics or not, give Veep a whirl next time you’re looking to kill some TV before bed.
Season 5 of Veep premieres April, 16 on HBO.
Photo Credits: Vh1.com, avclub.com