The HBO series, Veep, is a political satire that was released in April 2012 and continued to air till May 2019. Veep is a show that revolves around Former Senator Selina Meyers running for the Presidential Office and realizing that it is not all that glamorous and fancy.
The series explores the struggles she faces in her personal and political life. With its seven seasons, Veep has received positive reviews from its viewers and critics, alongside several major nominations and accolades. The series, created by Armando Iannucci, is inspired by the British political satire, The Thick of it. The show has Julia Louis-Dreyfus as ex-Senator Selina Meyers, the main lead.
Anna Chlumsky, famous for roles in My Girl, My Girl 2, and Inventing Anna, plays Amy Brookheimer, the Vice President’s Chief of Staff. Another important role in the series is of Tony Hale, cast as Gary Walsh, Selina’s body man. Actor Reid Scott, known for his roles in the Venom movies and Who Invited Charlie?, is the Deputy Director of communications in the Vice President’s Office, Dan Egan.
Matt Walsh played the director of communications in the Vice President’s Office, Mike McLintock. Timothy Simons played Jonah Ryan, the White House liaison to the Veep’s Office. The entire show, with its seven seasons, is available on Hulu for international audiences & Disney+Hotstar for India, Indonesia & Thailand for streaming.
The show aired continuously for seven years and maintained its large cast throughout. Veep is about Selina Meyers exploring her potential in her work life while also facing troubles in her private life. We see Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character struggle when running for the President’s Office throughout different seasons.
She is a divorcee and a single mother and has complicated relationships with both her ex-husband and her daughter. At her workplace, she seems to be surrounded by people that have immense loyalty toward her. Amy Brookheimer is one such person. She is the know-it-all and the does-it-all in the Office. Extremely dedicated to Selina and her Office and a borderline workaholic.
She is known to have completely sacrificed her private life for the sake of Selina Meyers, even giving up on romantic relationships to provide unrelenting support to her. Gary Walsh is just as devoted to Selina Meyers as Amy Brookheimer. He stays stuck with her even when he is not really needed. His loyalty stems from the fact that he is lost when it comes to having an identity for himself.
Even so, he is an educated man who is faithful to her till the end. Dan Egan is ambitious, successful, and the one who does all the talking. He got where he used all the wrong possible means and went through some harsh consequences because of it. Jonah Ryan works for the White House and is always in hot waters with the Vice President’s Office, especially Amy. He is arrogant and not the most likable of the bunch.
Mike McLintock, the director of communications for the Vice President’s Office, is a character that gets questioned the most if they are even the apt choice for the position. He is constantly mocked for his ways and is not that hardworking. Not one character from the main cast is one-directional. They all show immense growth in terms of character and story arcs. The show has managed to paint a life-like view of the real-world political scenario.
Selina Meyers is a former Senator from Maryland, working as the Vice President of the United States under President Hughes, with whom we discover she does not have good professional relations. She is heavily dependent on her staff which includes Gary Walsh, Amy Brookheimer, Sue Wilson, her assistant, Mike McLintock, and Dan Egan.
The first season focuses on establishing Selina Meyers’ work life and how she struggles to bring the changes that she wants from her position as Vice President. The second season brings more power into her hands, and she is seen preparing to run for the Presidential elections of 2016, though things do not work out for her that well.
She ends up losing face with the public, and a lot of her staff starts looking for other possible job opportunities. By the end of this season, she manages to gain back her favorability, and it is revealed that she will be running for President.
With season three, Selina publicly announces that she will be running for President, and preparations for the same are in full swing. Dan and Amy are seen fighting for the position of Selina Meyers’ campaign manager. After many hurdles, season three comes to an end, with Selina finally getting entry into the Oval office as the President of the states.
With season four, more troubles find their way to Selina Meyers and her Office. There is internal turmoil among her staff too. Amy quits her job, and Dan is fired from his. Things do not turn out the way Selina wants them to. The bills she introduces end up backfiring, and she loses face again. The season ends on a cliffhanger, and we are left curious, wondering if Selina will get to continue to hold the President’s Office or not.
It seems like season five also brings no good news for Selina Meyers. She pulls all sorts of strings to make sure she gets elected as President but to no avail. She struggles to win votes, and with constant scandals looming over her head, she eventually finds herself with no position in the Office. This season comes to an end with Selina losing badly and going through a major slump period.
She fails to get the Presidential candidacy. In the next season, Selina finds herself completely alone and without purpose. She reflects back on the time she has spent trying to achieve her dreams. Almost all the people that were a part of her administration have found themselves some other work, except for Gary.
After some more hard work, Selina decided once again to push toward her dreams, and she decided to run for the President’s Office in 2020. This time her opposing candidate Jonah Ryan, who resigned from his position in the White House long ago, has found new ambitions.
No matter how prepared the campaign staff may be, it seems that something or the other always pops up to create obstacles during the election campaigning. After months of hardship, Selina Meyers finally gets elected as President, and she appoints Jonah Ryan as the Vice President.
She got what she had been fighting for over the past several seasons, but the realization that the people she had originally started out with are no more with her than she is with people who barely know her dawns on her.
She is where she wanted to be, but it does not feel all that gratifying. She won a ruthless battle, but at what cost? Though a bit unexpected, the show, in its final episode, takes a leap of 24 years. Mike McLintock, now an anchor, announces the passing of Selina Meyers and gives out the details of her funeral.
HBO’s Veep is a political satire with a great underlying commentary on the political scenario of the States. In a lot of places where the governments exercise immense control over what the people consume in forms of media, Veep is a bold move that feels like a breath of fresh air.
With underlined subcontext, the satire used, the life-like portrayal of how politicians think and work, and the fact that the show not only got aired but found great reviews for itself is proof that the freedom of speech is not entirely dead. The show feels so real at times. It feels less like a show and more like a documentary.
A lot that happens within the show over the course of its seven seasons seems inspired by real-life political situations. The show is based on the political world. If one takes away the comedy, it actually manages to touch upon quite a few heavy topics. Julia Louis-Dreyfus portrays h character, Selina Meyers, beautifully.
Her character is hardworking and ambitious and goal-directed to the point that she believes it is okay to start ignoring your young daughter for your career. It is pleasing to see her pave the way for herself, though, in the latter seasons, she manages to touch new lows, making it difficult for the audience to defend her.
She may be a confident, strong woman, but she is incompetent nonetheless. She knows where she wants to be but clearly lacks the knowledge of what she wants to do when she reaches there. One factor that makes Veep such a good series is that it has not bothered to introduce overly righteous characters that are selfless and only want the best for the nation.
Every character in the show is self-centered and an opportunist. They all seem to have abandoned their sense of duty and humanity which makes the show even more real, which is sad but still real. The writer for the series, Veep, has done a great job at drawing Selina Meyers’ character arc.
Till the second season, she was a bit soft around the edges and still had some consideration regarding the people around her. But through the seasons, we see her grow into this cruel person who cares for nothing but power and control and who is ready to throw people closest to her under the bus for the same.
It is remarkable to see how the makers of the show have managed to bring enjoyable satire around utterly despicable characters. The backhanded comments, the subtle innuendos, and the hilarious but blatant remarks all sound like a commentary on our real political situations, and it is hysterical to watch.
The show is brilliant and smart with its writing and does not force the viewers to like certain characters. They are all a hateful bunch of narcissists, and that is okay. Selina Meyers and Jonah Ryan, and a lot of other characters have done things normal people will not even think of doing, especially Selina Meyers, she crossed the limits way too many times, and the makers did not try, in any way, to bring redemption to her character.
She was barely a mother to her daughter and went to lengths to win the Presidential candidacy, and when she finally became the President of the States, her realization regarding all that she had lost was shown only to make her realize that she had been horrible to a lot of people around her. It still is not enough to make the audience sympathize with her, and that is completely fine.
Jonah Ryan was another loathsome character. A privileged white male who thinks that the ‘Me Too’ movement is a joke and that patriarchy does not exist. As annoying as he is, especially when he casually goes around treating his female counterparts as inferior to him, some of the best mansplaining jokes have actually come from him. He is such an easy character to hate, and for all the right reasons.
What worked in favor of Veep is that the show got released sometime before the sensitive woke bunch got to where they are right now. Sure, the show may feel too real at times, but the fact that it is fictional still remains. It is not easy to create satire around mass shootings, inter-country disputes, or over religion. The show took a deliberate risk of mentioning such topics and handled them well enough.
The show had impeccable writing in its early few seasons, but the latter half seemed to suffer with a few cringe moments, which can be forgiven considering that it dealt with other aspects nicely. The show is crude, hilarious, and witty. There seems to be a constant supply of jokes that almost all the time land really well and are definitely not for the easily offended.
Even while dealing with sensitive topics, Veep managed to find itself a huge fanbase and critical acclaim. The show is appreciated for its well-timed comedy, vulgar but hilarious remarks, and awful but complex characters. The show, even though it is a comedy, demands attention. It is a prime example of how a perfect political comedy is supposed to be done.
Our Rating: ⭐ (4/5).
Also Read: 50 Best Comedy Movies Of The 21st Century
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