Veep is an extremely well regarded and successful comedy and political satire that is currently running on the HBO Television Network. The show premiered on April 22, 2012, and was an immediate success. Since its initial season of ten episodes, the show has been renewed for three additional seasons. Critics and viewers alike have hailed the show as a masterpiece of satire. They have also frequently singled out series star Julia Louis-Dreyfus for especial praise.
Veep: Its Creation, Heritage, And Reception
Veep is the brain child of celebrated television and movie screenplay writer, Armando Iannucci. As astute television viewers will no doubt recall, Iannucci also created the long running cable series, The Thick Of It. In fact, Veep and The Thick Of It are considered to function in the same make believe “universe”, with several minor characters and plot lines recurring in both shows.
Many critics have drawn favorable comparisons to past political satires which have aired on television, such as The West Wing, and many others. Critics have also praised the show for its adroit and accurate handling of sensitive political and cultural issues. While the tradition of political satire in television series is a relatively new and unexplored field, many critics have noted Veep as an especially creative and worthy example of its kind.
Awards and Accolades
Since its inception in 2012, the show has managed to win a massive slew of industry awards and accolades. Some of the most prestigious honors awarded to Veep and select members of its cast have included several Emmy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, two Critics’ Choice Television Awards and a Television Critics Association Award.
Cast of Principal Series Characters
Selina Meyer, played by principal series star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, is the current (fictional) Vice President of the United States. Selina was the former Senator from her home state of Maryland, and has been a candidate for the Presidency in the recent past. After settling for, and winning, the position of Vice President, she has had a rocky time adjusting to her new job.
Friction between her family and professional life, as well as the nefarious doings of the political world of Washington, has taken their toll on Selina. However, she manages to weather the frequent storms with wit and grace. She is a divorced mother of a young daughter, with an ex-husband that frequently manages to reappear in her life, often with disastrous (and highly comical) results.
Amy Brookheimer, played by Anna Chlumsky, is Selina’s Chief of Staff. She is portrayed as a neurotic, extremely self-effacing, and somewhat indecisive individual who has essentially given up her own life in order to win the position of confidant to the Vice President.
Gary Walsh, played by Tony Hale, is the Director of Communications to the Vice President. He is portrayed as being simultaneously one of the most realistic and sympathetic characters on the series. He has been an employee of Selina’s since her days as a Senator in Maryland, and is thus a loyal and trusted confidant and friend.
Sue Wilson, played by noted Mind of Mencia series regular Sufe Bradshaw, is the Personal Assistant to the Vice President. Sue is often heard uttering comments to the boastful effect that she is the “Third Most Powerful Individual in the World,” simply because she is the one that decides who will receive access to the Vice President, whom she considers to be the “Second Most Powerful Person in the World”.
Notable Episodes of Veep
Throughout its history, the show has been praised for its groundbreaking cinema verite style, which includes a considerable amount of improvisation from the series members and special guests. This has led to the show earning praise from critics and fellow actors and writers, and has definitely garnered a large and loyal audience of “die hard” fans who enjoy its loose, barely scripted style.
Some of the show’s most noteworthy and well-received episodes include:
Fundraiser, the initial “pilot” episode of the show, is noteworthy for giving its audience the first glimpse of Selina Meyer in her new position as Vice President of the United States. The episode spotlights some of the daily miscues and gaffes that can sometimes snowball into a major public relations disaster.
Nicknames is another highlight of the show’s first season. In this episode, the growing power and influence of the world of self-appointed political pundits who publish via blog on the Internet is explored for comic effect. Bloggers on both sides of the political fence are competing against each other to come up with the most effective (whether flattering or unflattering) nickname for Selina. Meanwhile, Selina’s passion for the Clean Jobs Bill that she introduced earlier in the year to Congress leaves her oblivious to the fray going on in the world of social media.
Midterms is the inaugural episode of Season 2. In this episode, the audience learns that Selina’s political party has fared very poorly during the recent midterm elections. However, Selina herself has had a very successful campaign. In fact, her performance in the campaign has led to her receiving more responsibility from the President in the arena of foreign relations. However, the return of a certain Presidential strategist (played by recurring guest actor Gary Cole) has her in some discomfort.
Season 3 finds Selina making the momentous decision to run for the office of President of the United States. For viewers who plan to watch Veep online, this particular season works best when viewed complete, from start to finish.
Watch Veep Online
Since its initial premier in 2012 on the HBO Network, Veep has been a consistent hit with viewers and critics alike. The show has been renewed for a fourth season that is scheduled to commence for a run of ten further episodes, starting in the fall of 2014. In the meantime, interested viewers are invited to watch Veep online.