Making the Case for ‘Veep’

Note: Over the next two weeks, the Awards Daily TV crew will be Making the Case to win for each nominee in the Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Drama Series categories in random order. We’ll be dropping one each day through the Emmy voting period. Share/retweet your favorites to build the buzz!

HBO’s Veep

Metacritic Score: 90
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Number of Nominations: 5
Major Nominations: Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actress (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Supporting Actor  (Tony Hale), Supporting Actress (Anna Chlumsky), Direction (“Election Night”), Writing (“Testimony”)

My fellow Americans…

I come here to sing the praises of Selina Meyer as portrayed by the brilliant Julia Louis-Dreyfus. To proclaim the unparalleled greatness of HBO’s brilliant political satire. To tell Emmy-voting men and women across this great nation that now is the time to make a bold choice with their vote. Not just a bold choice, but a necessary choice – one that tells the world that Modern Family‘s history-making reign must come to an end. For its time has come.

This is Veep show runner Armando Iannucci’s final season on the HBO comedy, and he’s going out on a very, very high note. Veep‘s fourth season focuses on Selina Meyer’s unexpected presidency, an event that rivals the great failed presidential campaigns littered throughout history in comic ineptness. Plagued on all sides by scandals, self-serving staffers, and a spotlight-usurping VP candidate (the excellent but overlooked Hugh Laurie), Meyer’s journey toward her potential legitimate election as president is pockmarked with golden nuggets of comedy, proving once again that Veep is one of the smartest, sharpest comedies on television today.

It is time for a new perspective, a new appreciation for American comedy. That vision comes in the guise of a can-do-no-right administration. An administration that, because of all its faults and misses, makes us cry with laughter with each episode thanks to both sly political commentary and brilliant physical comedy. There are many deserving contenders to strip away Modern Family‘s crown. On the precipice of an election year where reality may overtake the absurdity of the Veep world, it is time to give this show the recognition it so richly deserves with the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.

There are a thousand points of light illustrating the ways that Veep is one of the sharpest comedies to come to the small screen in decades. How can you ignore a comedy series that rips from the headlines the controversial saga of American privacy and the government’s potential infringements on it and spins it into comedy gold? How can you ignore a comedy series that dedicates an entire episode to the lunacy of a Congressional hearing? How can you ignore a comedy series who makes a path forward for the first female president only to have her eviscerated by her once-loyal campaign aide? I fondly remember the words so eloquently spoken by Amy Bruckheimer (Emmy-nominee Anna Chlumsky) as she rises up and speaks her mind with passion, eloquence, and conviction:

Amy: I have bitten my tongue so long, it looks like a dog’s cushion. But no more! You have made it impossible to do this job. You have two settings—no decision and bad decision. I wouldn’t let you run a bath without having the Coast Guard and the fire department standing by, but yet here you are running America. You are the worst thing that has happened to this country since food in buckets and maybe slavery! I’ve had enough. I’m gone.
Selina: [as Amy walks to the door] Well, I guess she’s finished with her little…[Amy walks back to her] oh, nope, look at that, there’s more.
Amy: You have achieved nothing apart from one thing. The fact that you are a woman means we will have no more women presidents because we tried one and she fucking sucked. Goodbye, ma’am.

It is a moment heard from the coffee shops of Seattle to the dairy farms of Nebraska to the cotton fields of North Carolina. Amy’s words are the joyous cries out of those who suffered Selena Meyer in silence, smiling through gritted teeth, never once dreaming that their time would come. It reminds me of an earlier moment in the season where Gary Walsh (Emmy-nominee Tony Hale), having suffered the embarrassment of planning a little too extravagant State Dinner for President Meyer, erupts and expresses his pent up frustrations in a way that echoes any American who has long endured the thankless job of upholding their superior. These words are spoken by comic actors – funny moments indeed – but they speak to a larger theme of average citizens crying out against those who lead not by right but by privilege. This is what great comedy can do.

To paraphrase the great Lyndon B. Johnson, an Emmy voter’s task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right. They must not only reward Veep for its remarkable writing and expert direction but also recognize the intelligence and comic timing of its cast, a tight-knit first family of comedy. Aside from those blessed with Emmy nominations, let us sing the praises of the slick opportunist Reid Scott. Let us raise our voices in unison as we proclaim the collective brilliance of Timothy Simons, Matt Walsh, Sufe Bradshaw, Kevin Dunn, and Gary Cole. And let us shout from the highest mountain top that cast addition Hugh Laurie elevates the entire proceedings to levels not yet seen. A machine is only as strong as its weakest link, and this engine of comedy runs on all cylinders with the greatest of American ingenuity shepherded by the brilliant comic mind of Armando Iannucci.

In conclusion, I look to you, Television Academy, to set aside your political differences and persuasions. To cast out the urge to look for the easy path toward the Emmy. To truly appreciate and embrace the high degree of comedic difficulty achieved by those who have worked so hard and fought so long for an honorable laugh. In this Emmy voting period, we ask the tough question that many have wondered all season long, “Is this the year that a comedy comes along and grabs that golden Emmy statue from the tired hands of Modern Family?” Can we vote for a new American comedy winner?

And in standing behind Veep I say…

… yes we can.

You may also like

Sign In

Reset Your Password

Email Newsletter