Could we try and by cynical about HBO’s new series “Veep” and say that it is over-the-top, or argue that it really just borrows heavily from “Spin City” with a touch of “Parks and Recreation”? Sure, but that seems like the convenient argument of someone who just wants to bash the show for the same problem that many modern comedies face — the issue of bringing something new to the table.
Ultimately, there’s one reason that “Veep” succeeds as a show more than its lineup partner “Girls” with its downtrodden “Sex and the City” vibe — this show is not just funny, but hilariously so. to the extent that you don’t even mind it being reminiscent of some past series. Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Selina Meyer, a former Senator who found herself in the role of Vice-President after her own campaign for the top job went south, and the show focuses almost entirely on her work in the office along with some of the members of her staff. The entire crew is zany, profane, offensive, and incredibly competitive with each other — in other words, it’s probably more realistic to actual Vice-Presidents than anyone would want to admit.
The plot for this show also works in the same way that “Spin City” did in the sense that the show focuses on various crises, and Meyer has to come up with a way of defusing them without making them any worse. During the premiere episode, she ended up killing her own popularity by making a joke about people with developmental disorders while at a fundraiser, and it turned into a national crisis that caused her to spend time speaking with representatives from rights groups in one room while cursing out her employees in the other. At the end of the episode, you know that there will be a reasonably happy ending — but this show is all about the journey, and the good news here is that the journey is rather satisfying.
It’s still possible that “Veep” could lose its way in the coming weeks as it has to come up with creative ways to utilize Louis-Dreyfus’ character without turning her into just a stereotypical goofball with no edge at all. It’s really interesting that we really still know nothing about her outside of her position, and yet we want to see what she does next.
Overall, we have to give the show as a whole one of the strongest recommendations we’ve given a new comedy this year. Solid political comedies are hard to come by, and in between a stellar supporting cast (especially Tony Hale) and Louis-Dreyfus’ own winning performance, this show could have the potential to last multiple terms in an HBO lineup desperate for a half-hour hit.
What did you think about the premiere.