Veep: Politics as Usual?

Some TV shows are meant to expose the truth while some are designed to entertain. The best TV shows, though, entertain while exposing the truth which is what Veep has accomplished in its first three seasons.

The HBO show, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, is a political comedy that follows the life of Selena Myers (Louis-Dreyfus) an incompetent vice-president with an incompetent staff.

But, if the show was only about her incompetence — no one would watch.

It is the keen observations of the writers and actors that make the show a telling — albeit dark — account of modern-day Washington D.C. The jokes are crude, the language is rough and no one in D.C. is exempt from the spotlight’s glare. Politicians and businessmen are all fair game.

The series begins after Meyers’ unsuccessful bid for the president lands her in the vice-president role. In this powerless position she plots, plans and connives in preparation for the next presidential election so she can claim her rightful place in history.

As the show progresses, her platform changes as needed until near the end of the third season, she ‘decides’ to let the powerful political party leaders tell her what to do. In the meltdown, she repeats that it is her decision to let them tell her what to do.

But it is not just powerful political leaders Meyers has to deal with — it is also young, wealthy businessmen who fund her campaigns.

In another 2014 episode, Meyers is forced to ‘play nice’ with the billionaire owner of Clovis (which is a caricature of firms like Google or Facebook), but she can’t do it. From the owner’s arrogance to the ‘kindergarten’ setting of the workplace — she has had enough, but she still finds a way to leverage the situation for her political gain.

When she notices the allegations of torture attributed to her opponent playing on the screen behind her at Clovis, she uses the technology of the day to manipulate what she says into a sabotage against the opponent. As Meyers publically denounces the story (that presidential candidate and war-hero, Danny Chung was involved in the torture of Iraqi prisoners), she intentionally (or clueless?) repeats the words Danny Chung and torture — linking the terms together forever in the virtual search engine driven world.

In an effort to give the show its authenticity, the actors visited D.C. before the series began to get a better understanding of politics. It’s this insider’s look at D.C. that gives the show its edge.

Matt Walsh, who plays Mike McClintock — Meyer’s in-over-his-head communication director — noted this is a 2012 article on Politico,

“One big insight to me was that you can get success over wording — if you can change the wording of some bill, then you can give your state another $20 million, if you can just change a sentence,” he said. “To me, that was really insightful as to why the works get gunked up so much, because everyone’s fighting for their constituents.“

Rated 5 out of 5: Louis-Dreyfus is brilliant, the cast is superb and the subject is one everyone loves to hate: incompetent politicians. Although the show is Not Rated, it contains R and MA rated material.

D.C. In A Day
If you have not watched the show, it is a great candidate for binge-watching. With less than 30, 30-minute episodes through three seasons, it can be easily watched in one weekend. Veep: Season 1

Categories: TV Shows

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