HBO’s Veep makes a welcome return and a strong case to repeat as Emmy’s favorite comedy
This being an election year, the premiere of HBO’s Veep seems as timely as ever. With candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz dominating the media, it’s a comfort and a joy to see actors as politicians making asses of themselves from a fictional standpoint. The fifth season premiered on Sunday night as part of HBO’s prime time dominance. My vote is that this show just keeps getting better and better.
In the season four finale, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ sitting president, Selina Meyer, tied with Senator Bill O’Brien in the presidential election that was constantly referred to as “too close to call.” Everything was quite literally hanging in the balance, and that comedic tension only enhances this season premiere.
Luckily for us, the unprecedented tie in the election wasn’t solved in the first episode. This is politics after all. And when you have such a legion of morons running around like chickens with their heads cut off, solutions don’t come easily or quickly. “Way to make our country look like a high school Spanish club,” Selina spouts off early in the episode.
As the drama surrounding the election unfolds, Selina is advised to look as presidential as possible. Selina’s former campaign manager, Amy, doesn’t even acknowledge that she’s back on the team. Her presence is constantly questioned in the premiere, and it’s one of the funnier aspects of the episode even though it’s underplayed. The possibility of a recount in Nevada (debate your friends on the pronunciation!) fuels the second half of the episode, which involves a growing stress pimple on Selina’s face and a botched symposium on race.
Selina gets a new Secret Service agent (played by stone-faced Clea DuVall), but POTUS isn’t entirely thrilled about the physical similarities made about them (“she smells completely different” Gary remarks). One of the best things about Veep is watching Selina struggle to keep it together as well as keep it together up to her own impossible standards. She’s perpetually on a sinking ship, so this added element can only enhance the comedy.
Despite the presence of a new show runner (David Mandel jumped on board this season), Veep continues to be one of the most gleefully obscene shows on television. I’ve missed the rhythm of the show and the chemistry between the characters. If politicians acted this way in front of the camera, it might make this impending election somewhat bearable. Veep just might make me interested in politics.