In sticking with last week’s theme, I would like to once again talk about a light hearted politically based piece of entertainment: HBO’s Veep. With all of the really heavy articles and interviews and tv segments, all of the blogs and podcasts and tweets, we need a bit of a reprieve. To cure this political hangover I highly recommend watching a couple of episodes in a row and laughing ’til your face hurts. In a less toxic environment than what currently makes up our reality, Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dryfus) and her staff show us what it is like to be the second in command. All the ups and downs of the position play out in stunning comedy as the team navigates “safe” ice cream choices and tries to keep on top of pregnancy rumors. Those two things do happen in different seasons but the gamut of how-could-this-go-wrong situations that continuously present themselves to this team are phenomenal.
There are plenty of jokes about the job of Veep…it’s a runner up position, they don’t get to do anything, they’re just waiting around to become number one…but it is really interesting to get insight into the job. Sure, there are shows like West Wing and House of Cards that put a president in the core of their cast. Not Veep. In fact, it is a running joke through the show that we don’t actually ever see the Prez or indeed learn his name (at least not yet and I’m in season three of five). Here we get to see the nonstop duty that this position is and also how a woman(!) is handling it. Meyer’s team of Amy, Dan, Gary, Mike, and Sue make the office run as smoothly as they possibly can. And while this isn’t always achieved, it shows the human side of these people. Sometimes, the phone call that you’ve been waiting for happens right after you’ve put your phone in a phone bowl at a wedding. Sometimes, you walk through a solid glass door and end up looking like you’ve just attended an Edward Scissorhands meet and greet.
I like this aspect of it.
Just as with last week’s recommendation, Veep also focuses on the human side of politics. We get to see an even keel of victories and failures and this coming from an office that is very frequently overlooked.
Each of the core characters that make up the Veep staff add to the comic genius that plays out every time something goes wrong. Holy moly stuff goes wrong a lot. For example, from the get go we learn that the big issue that Meyer plans on tackling while in office is Clean Jobs which is a stance against oil for clean energy jobs and technology. First big thing that goes wrong is that POTUS (as he is very frequently referred to) wants someone from oil to be in on this initiative. Things like this continue to happen over the course of the season and the series as accomplishments are marred by hiccups all the time. It makes for great satire on what has become a really depressing subject.
To close, I was listening to an interview a while back with Tony Hale and he was talking about how much they film in proportion to how much actually makes it to the screen.While the show has some really amazing writers, the cast itself is pretty crazy in their takes. With comic genius going for several straight minutes, I have cried laughing several times. So if you need a reprieve from the depressing headlines, cure your woes with some Veep.