HBO / 268 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: March 26, 2013
For what it’s worth, Veep: The Complete First Season isn’t the running Sarah Palin gag it inspired many viewers it was. From the creator of the lightning-rod political film In the Loop, Veep is without question a comedy – and often a surprisingly slapstick-heavy one – but there is no significant party insistence upon party politics here: Veep is more of a riff on how patently ridiculous modern politics has become, and how we keep fueling its fire.
At the center of the maelstrom is Selina Meyers (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a one-time senator who grabs onto the dangling carrot of a vice presidential nomination all the way to the White House. But to her chagrin, once she arrives, the place doesn’t have an Oz-like grandiose quality to it: she basically sits around, waiting for something to happen. It turns out that the esteemed position she now holds is little more than a placeholder, an occupation that demands a pretty face, some well-rehearsed press release repartee, and little else.
And this is where Veep really starts zinging. By putting everyone within the blast radius of Washington, D.C. in the crosshairs of its satire, it takes on a charming dweebiness that suits it surprisingly well. Louis-Dreyfus and company are all exceptional participants (that doesn’t hurt things, either), but Veep’s peanut-gallery tomfoolery is what gives it its edge. It’s not the most finessed poli-narrative comedy we’ve seen in recent years, but it certainly holds its own.