veep

Some of us, and I really don’t want to get into finger-pointing because it’s rude and it sets a bad tone so let’s just leave it at some of us, were traveling this weekend and were not able to be here yesterday and again, you know, the past is the past so let’s just get on with it, but so we didn’t catch up on the Sunday night television until Monday night when we were back home and I shouldn’t even say we because people are just going to make assumptions on who that implicates when really it could be anyone and I’m obviously just speaking in the abstract. The point is: does HBO even know there are seven nights in a week because it seems like maybe they only think there is one night. There’s seven nights, HBO. Check it out! And while you’re doing that, the rest of us will talk about your new show, Veep. Did you guys watch it? I know that it can be hard to remember if it’s the dry mockumentary comedy series about a cynical and disempowered vice president played by Julia Louis-Dryfus, or if it’s the one with the magical wolves having doggy-style sex with the back-stabbing sand dragons. It’s the former. And it’s great!

I read a criticism of the show this morning that it was unrealistic and focused too much on the brokenness of Washington without showing the genuine idealism of so many of our elected representatives and it’s like, well, HAHAHAHAH. I mean, come on, guys! Like, OK, you’re not WRONG exactly, but a) it’s only been one episode and one can easily imagine a new strand of generosity and human emotion woven into the plots because that would be a good and pretty traditional way of rewarding the audience for investing in these characters but b) IT’S ALSO A COMEDY TV SHOW SO MAYBE LET’S TAKE IT EASY. “This biting political satire is OK, but it doesn’t express the true spectrum of human garbage that make up modern politics, which is to say that some of the garbage IS kind of trying!” Whatever.

The show obviously owes a great debt to West Wing since it’s got the whole “walk and talk with me” thing going on, and there is also the clear throughline between this and In The Loop, which was directed by Veep creator Armando Iannucci. Remember how good In The Loop was? So good. And of course there are all of our old friends: Matt Walsh! Tony Hale! Anna Chlumsky! Hi guys! (Which is not to say that the dude who plays the guy from the White House office and the guy who plays the power-grabbing young upstart aren’t also great, they just aren’t our old pals. They are our new pals!)

I’m not making a laundry list of the jokes I liked in the pilot episode, and yes, the show starts off a little over-the-top where you do wonder how many gaffes this collection of nincompoops is going to make in 24 hours but so what, the gaffes are clever and well-imagined and the jokes surrounding the gaffes are very funny and the actors are good and West Wing was great. When it comes to Veep I say FOUR MORE YEARS! Get it? Politics.

Comments (63)
  1. A++ would watch again very fast seller

  2. I was disappointed the Soup Nazi didn’t make a cameo.

  3. That statement about focusing too much on the brokenness of Washington is a similar criticism Girls is getting. I watched the second episode of last night and it’s really painful to watch at times and makes me terribly uncomfortable. But I’m not sure why that’s so bad. I don’t want to re-live my early 20s but it’s interesting to watch it from this perspective and not have to deal with it again is kind of nice. Also, why should everything be easy and safe like most of the other sitcoms out there? There needs to be a place for critical thinking even if it’s entertaining. That said, I haven’t seen Veep yet but I’ve DVR’d it and now I definitely want to watch it. Thanks Gabe.

    • One thing I find odd about “Girls” is how the sex is always uncomfortable and awkward. There have been several sex scenes already and none have them have even been mutually mediocre.

    • Agree…I read Ken Levine’s critique of Veep (can’t* link to it sorry) and part of it was that comedy needs to be specific and that political comedy has to pick a side…which is both dumb and untrue. it’s a comedy in a political setting. and it can be anti-politics if we never know what party she is and the whole theme is that politics is always a joke and the whole political system is a joke and the role of VP especially is a joke. but it’s not really trying to do that i don’t think. it has the potential to do all of some of that but we can’t really know after 1 episode. Also, don’t be lazy and tell a show to pick a side. The world (of comedy) is much more than black and white (or red and blue) (see what i did there? super good political joke).

      mostly i just thought the show was REALLY funny with or without an agenda.

      *don’t want to find it again

  4. Are you talking about my mom? She hasn’t seen it yet.

  5. ahh i watched it and loved it! is it bad that while watching it i was like, jealous of everyone’s jobs? that is horrible. basically i just want to strut around in a power suit and say really foul things in fancy historical buildings, i guess.

  6. “He’s a dead now.”

  7. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • At a party, Once*, and once on the quad.

    • She and I were great friends growing up. Our bond was strengthened one day when we lost one of our friends who was attacked by killer bees. It’s no bid deal. I’m just saying; I’m kind of a big deal.

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • Downvotes are kind of a big deal.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • Buddy, I swear to Christ that wasn’t me who first downvoted you. I downvoted you after you decided you decided to “call me out.” It was maybe the 2nd time I’ve ever hit the downvote button. Way to scroll through this post and downvote all my comments though. You might want to be a little more thorough and search all of videogum for all my comments and downvote all of them too though. No big deal.

          • I think we have a couple of trolls today.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • Hey guys what’s a downvote?

        • Speaking from my perspective, as someone who didn’t downvote you (but seriously considered it), you provide no information other than you “saw” Anna Chlumsky from afar and for some reason disliked her. How was she supposed to impress you – juggling chainsaws while riding a motorcycle? Maybe she doesn’t spend her time on the quad or at parties worrying about how she is impressing a stranger? I’m just making wild guesses here.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • A long thread that devolves from the main issue (the show Veep) to petty politics (of commenting) and personal attacks and a disproportionate obsession with votes. Genius!

          • This is correct.What are we supposed to think when you say you were “unimpressed” by someone when you were a “firstie”? Did she not give you her phone number or something?

          • Ok, let’s just get it out there; Anna and I were drinking PBR and hacky sack’n on the quad and we didn’t invite him. It was a sentimental moment though; we were hack’n in memory of our old friend Thomas J.

          • This reminds me of the time I saw R Lee Emery at an airport, and I was totally nonplussed.

            I guess I was expecting more toothbrushing?

          • P.S I downvote any reference to Anna Chlumsky OR My Girl because it makes me sad when I’m reminded of the bees. “Where are his glasses? He can’t see without his glasses!” Fuck, I’m crying right now. Sorry, everyone.

          • Allow me to reinterpret the original comment:

            DS3M saw Anna Chlumsky twice in college. WE are unimpressed.

            (no offense, or anything, it’s just not all that impressive).

    • Party on Wayne. Party on Anna.

  8. Can we all watch the Thick of It on netflix instead of Downton Abbey? Followed by everything else Armando Iannucci has ever made http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8VFb2wxolM&feature=related

  9. I really liked it. And I think it has the potential to be great. “Did the President call?”

  10. Fingers crossed it gets better. Zero laughs in the first episode for me. It’s a let down after coming off of a Eastbound And Down season.

    • I agree. I didn’t laugh once. Intellectually, I kind of knew I should be laughing, but nothing seemed to tickle the old funny bone. I hated In The Loop, too, so I guess this guy just doesn’t do it for me. He seems to try too hard, or something.

  11. Nerd Entourage

  12. I mean, yes, VEEP definitely started out GREAT. Duh. Can we talk about how “Off” the trailers were though? Thank God the show is better than those oddly positioned trailers. I also like how the cursing is so very american, and kind of to the side a little bit. I mean, “The thick of it” was artfully inundated with swearing…and VEEP seemed like it was whispering about it, but it works probably.

    Whatever, Iannucci is great. Also, can Peter Capaldi just pull a House MD and do the American via UK thing and be the President in the show?

    • I LOLed when that one dude, the “little shit” or whatever, freaked out about Tony Hale not being able to figure out the coffee machine. Very American. Very cursing.

  13. Hearing that Armando Iannucci worked on this got me excited for it but I have yet to check it out. Also I heard that some of the characters go to Grindcore shows to unwind and that piqued my interest.

  14. Thanks for validating my tastes, Gabe. All of my friends were being haters about this show because “it wasn’t as funny as they thought it was going to be.” Huh?

  15. Yeah you must must must watch ‘The Thick of It’, which this resembles quite a bit.

    This was a good first ep. I felt the editing was just, literally just, fragmentarily off, like they did the lines as punchlines, whereas in ‘The Thick of It’ and ‘In the Loop’ they’re very much tossed off. I don’t need to point out that that is to be pernickety.

    ‘The Thick of It’ is sometimes very specifically British (much like myself) so I was kind of glad this has gone down kind of well in the US, which is a really normal way to approach a TV show.

  16. I hate to say it reminded me of Arli$$, because it was certainly better. Still something was a little Arli$$y about it. Remember how bad that show was?

  17. I live and work in DC, and I assure you this is a basically dead on depiction of Federal Government Office life (I guess we don’t really swear that much, though.)

  18. I haven’t watched this yet (I can’t afford HBO, boo) but I am pre-judging it to be excellent. “In The Loop” is incredible and yet still almost pales compared to the amazing levels of hilarity in “The Thick of It”. Let’s watch all of these things!

  19. This show was bad ass! I laughed from beginning to end, and that is something that has not happened with many other sitcom episodes I’ve watched this year, except maybe Parks and Rec. (Well, that and Whitney, but I was laughing for other reasons).

  20. Not completely sold yet, but I already set it to record all future episodes, so I’m looking forward to trying it out again next week.

  21. Can I point you all to rather better British Series In The Thick of It. It should all be on Youtube.

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