‘Veep’ season 7: New (same old). Selina. Now.
Martin Kennedy | Wednesday, April 3, 2019
After a year-long hiatus from production, the hit comedy and three-consecutive time winner of the Emmy for Best Comedy Series “Veep” has returned for its seventh and final season. “Veep” stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus (whose fight against breast cancer delayed production of the show) as the dysfunctional and accidental Vice President-turned-President Selina Meyer, who tries to run for president yet again. Despite Selina’s new campaign motto being “New. Selina. Now.,” “Veep” viewers learn early in the first episode that Selina will be the same raunchy, chaotic and spurious politician she’s always been, accentuated in the first five minutes of the episode. Selina’s plane lands in Cedar Falls, Iowa, to announce her candidacy for the presidency, only to soon realize her campaign announcement is set up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, an scenario symbolic of the dysfunction of both her and her staff.
What is so interesting about “Veep” is its ability to remain politically neutral while at the same time accurately portraying the political process that happens in Washington D.C. Selina Meyer’s political party affiliation is ambiguous throughout the show. Real politicians who have watched the show say that they think Selina is a member of their opposing party due to her disfunction and idiocy. At the same time, viewers involved in the D.C. circuit have agreed that “Veep” pinpoints many of the secrets and behind-closed-doors interactions of D.C. Selina is the quintessential example of a politician who does not personally stand for anything but will take stances, or no stance at all, in order to maximize votes — highlighted by her asking her communications director to delete an excerpt about immigration from her presidential announcement because it is “too issuey.” On top of this, “Veep” writers have expressed that it has been a struggle crafting new material due to the insanity of current politics. During the Obama administration, the show seemed like a political unreality, it’s events too ludicrous and baffling to occur in real life. However, as the show continues to thrive in the Trump administration, that unreality has transitioned into political reality, as “Veep” now seems to more accurately portray D.C. than it initially intended to — storylines and farcical events in the show have actually happened in real life.
What pushes “Veep” over the top is its ability to tackle hot-button issues in a non-offensive and absurdist way. The first episode deals with several mass shootings that have occurred in America and the problem with politicians only offering “thoughts and prayers,” yet no actions. When pressed on the problem, Selina fails to address the issue at hand and doubles down in a circumvented way, offering her “mindfulness and meditations” to the victims. Selina even uses a mass shooting as a launching pad to announce her presidential candidacy, explaining why she wants to be president in the words of everyone but herself — “If you want me to use my own words then write me something to say,” Selina ironically instructs her staff earlier in the episode. “Veep” brings attention to hot-button social issues in a palatable and respectful way, making viewers not laugh at the issue itself but the absurdity of how others respond to it in such an insensitive and narcissistic manner.
“Veep” is what comedy is supposed to be. It is boisterously funny, satirizes a consequential system in a nuanced and absurd way and is the raunchiest and wittiest show on the air today. As “Veep” comes to a close, with only seven episodes in this final season instead of the normal 10, viewers, including myself, are yearning to find out if Selina Meyer will finally be elected president of the United States and break the glass ceiling, which, as Selina says, she “took a dump on.” As a show that used to be a cathartic escape from reality but is now a horrifying depiction of actuality, I thank “Veep” and its production staff for crafting a show that will hopefully bring viewers much joy once again for one last time.
Show: “Veep” Season 7, Episode 1
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale
If you like: “30 Rock,” “Arrested Development,” “The West Wing”
Where to watch: HBO
Shamrocks: 5 out of 5