The "Veep" Vision of Government: Everyone's a Douchey Incompetent
Veep is The West Wing remade as burlesque—wildly funny, mean-spirited burlesque.
The new series, which premieres Sunday, April 22 at 10:00 p.m. EST on HBO, follows Vice President Selina Meyer (played by a tightly wound Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her staff as they attempt to survive the tedium and intense disloyalty of the DC landscape. Meyer is constantly under siege from special interests and aging senators, all of whom are ready to crucify her at the first hint of a faux pas. Though the show doesn't specify her political allegiance, she operates like a centrist Democrat. During the series' first three episodes, her world is dominated by two pet causes: ramming a filibuster reform bill through Congress and assembling a "clean jobs task force."
The show's dark humor is in documenting the unglamorous and uncivilized path the VP has to travel in order to cobble together some semblance of progress. After Meyer pledges to replace plastic utensils with corn-starch utensils in "most federal buildings by the fall" as part of her green initiative, she incurs the wrath of the all-powerful plastics lobby, which is naturally a powerful offshoot of the oil lobby. ("The utensils are politicized," an aide whispers in panic.) As her team scrambles for damage control, a senator reminds the VP not to "fuck with oil" because "they fuck in a very unpleasant fashion." Suddenly Meyer is on the prowl for an oil lobbyist to install on her enviro task force, and with that, the series French-kisses civic idealism goodbye.
Veep gets Washington right in the same way Scrubs got medical professionals right: It doesn't really, but then again, it really does.