Warning: Spoilers follow for the most recent season of Veep.
Although my favorite half-hour sitcom is HBO’s Veep, the nihilistic circus of the 2016 election has probably left the public’s appetite for the show as an all-time low. I mean, Veep is supposed to be a farce, but it seems more like a documentary with how the political process has unfolded this year.
It’s not a surprise that most politicians love House of Cards, because it makes them seem way more important. The equivalent would be if I loved The Newsroom, which mostly seems to be a show about Aaron Sorkin and his journalist-avatar being smarter than the room. However, Veep, and Parks and Recreation, are so much more realistic when it comes to the political spectrum and journalism, despite both allegedly being comedies.
Veep’s main story arc this season was about Selina Meyer (the still smoking hot Julia Louis-Dreyfus) attempting to bargain her way into the White House, after a tie in electoral votes in the general election. Even this aspect was handled with an amount of semi-realism, as Meyer’s campaign simultaneously tries to control a recount and influence the eventual House and Senate votes.
The season culminates, as it usually does, with Meyer’s efforts completely backfiring. She manages to get Perpetual Fuck-Up Jonah (Timothy Simons) installed as a representative from New Hampshire, only to see him show up late for the vote. She chokes down on her pride and accepts another term as vice president, only for Tom Jane (Hugh Laurie, as wonderful as always) to screw up the political maneuvering to win. Perhaps the most insulting thing of all? The deciding vote is cast by the lame duck vice president that she didn’t pick for her presidential ticket.
While JLD is the star of the show, and quite incredible, it’s amazing how deep the bench is for the supporting cast. The previously mentioned Laurie and Simons are at the forefront in the fifth season, along with Sam Richardson as Richard Splett. In past seasons, Richardson was portrayed as a buffoon, but he’s an idiot savant when it comes to recount scenarios and gets dispatched to Arizona, to great effect.
Picking a favorite supporting actor on Veep is a fool’s errand. But, there is definitely a dynamic duo – Gary Cole as the unemotional, stats-obsessed Kent Davison, and Kevin Dunn as the wise-cracking political operative Ben Cafferty. The two play off one another incredibly, and steal pretty much every scene they’re involved in.
However, there isn’t a “wrong” choice when it comes to your favorite Veep lackey. Other incredible options: Tony Hale as the whipped manservant Gary. Matt Walsh as the hapless press secretary Mike McLintock. Sufe Bradshaw as the utterly mysterious Sue, the only person to keep her job from regime to regime. Anna Chlumsky as the always-exasperated Amy Brookheimer. Even smaller stuff, like new lovers Catherine Meyer (Sarah Sutherland) and Marjorie (Clea DuVall), works.
Veep has already been renewed for a sixth season, although it’s interesting to imagine where they take it from here. The head showrunner has said that the gang will be in that season, despite Selina no longer being president or vice president.
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