Monday, May 4, 2015

TV Show Review: Veep

Image result for veep

Veep is one of the best political comedies I’ve had the pleasure to watch in recent times. I chanced upon this series while despairing of Frank Underwood’s machinations in House of Cards, and boy, was Veep refreshing.

Created by Armando Iannucci, one of the best contemporary satirists working today, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, possibly the greatest sitcom actress of her generation, as the eponymous Veep supported by a spectacular cast of comic actors that includes Upright Citizens Brigade's underrated and often underserved Matt Walsh and Arrested Development’s Tony Hale, produced within the creative utopia of HBO, and tackling the post-"Yes We Can" era of political disappointment, Veep seems marked for success. Dreyfus's facility with comic rage is perfectly suited to Iannucci's spittle-flecked dialogue, and the surprising physical strength she once used to shove Jerry Seinfeld to the ground is here channeled into an explosive tension that suffuses every one of her scenes. Walsh and Hale, as her aides, are excellent milquetoast foils, and former child actor Anna Chlumsky is solid as the Veep's at-wit's-end protégé.
In an era with a lot of dumbed down crap--"Big Bang Theory," "Parks & Recreation", "How I Met your Mother," to name a few--"Veep" comes as a warm welcome that reminds us that comedy can be both clever & funny. Intelligent even. The reflexive self-serving sycophancy, the arbitrary nature of power, the automatic deferral to the hidden powers behind the throne are masterfully portrayed.
I don’t know how HBO does it, but nearly all of the shows worth watching currently air on HBO. Last Week Tonight, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, True Detective to name just a few and Veep is no exception. The acerbic wit inherent in the dialogues is quite similar to what you get in Silicon Valley, but what really sets this show apart is the masterful delivery, and timing. I don’t know why I enjoy people being ridiculously cruel to each other, but I do. Ianucci just knows how to craft an insult better than anyone.
Don’t get me wrong though. To say that the characters in this show are likable would be a vast understatement. Unlike The West Wing, which romanticized politics or Parks and Recreation, which portrayed them as lovable well-meaning goofballs, Veep portrays a jaundiced version of democracy crippled by incompetency of the highest order. While writing this review, I tried to recall a single redeeming value that any of the characters possessed and failed to name one. In the latest episode, Meyer secures the release of an American journalist from Iran and crows “I could not be more likable if I’d given both of my kidneys to some sick kid!” Not exactly the words you’d want the Head of State to say wouldn’t you? Make no mistake, Meyer is just as evil as Underwood and yet unlike House of Cards (yes, House of Cards fans, admit it, season 3 bored your socks off) Veep gets better with every passing season. Trust me, this is one show you won’t regret watching.
A last word of caution, if you don’t find awkward funny, you won’t get “Veep.” Also, you’d better prepare yourself for some of the most inventive and hilarious vulgarities you’ll ever hear.
"That's like using a croissant as a fucking dildo. It doesn't do the job, and it makes a fucking mess."
"Are we seriously going to let the guy with the police sketch face of a rapist tell us what to do?"
P.S. For reasons, which mystify me, Veep has relatively low ratings on IMDB and Don’t let them fool you. Watch this show and then judge it.
P.P.S Finding this show on DC is pretty difficult. I’d suggest going online to watch its episodes.

Contributed by Abhay Vikram