The state of television drama is great. So great, in fact, that we need more comedy to lighten up our DVR queues. To give you a nice breather in between bouts of depressive ad men of the 1960s and sadistic young kings of a different world, one of the better and smarter comedies around returns Sunday on HBO: “Veep.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is perfect as Vice President Selina Meyer, the ultimate second-fiddle to a president viewers never see. We live in her world with her crew, hating the stuck-up White House staffers along with them. Think “The West Wing” meets “Parks and Recreation” meets “Arrested Development,” just without any of the heart, drama or warmth of the two former and even more biting humor and general assholery than the latter. Creators Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell aren’t interested in telling uplifting tales of politics done right. “Veep” is all about the absurdity of the political game — incompetent players with too much power bickering over the little stuff and mangling some of the big stuff while they’re at it. No soaring, Sorkin-like rhetoric or fictional figures worth admiring. They’re all wicked — and delightful. The satire is a much-needed addition to TV comedy.
To give you a taste of “Veep,” some intern at HBO has done the legwork for us with these delightful highlight reels. And yes, the “Did the president call?” bit always works:
Just take a look at these montages for some of the fabulous cast: Matt Walsh as Mike McLintock, director of communications; Tony Hale as Gary Walsh, overeager personal aide; and Timothy Simons as Jonah Ryan, obnoxious White House liaison to the VP’s office. (Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott and Sufe Bradshaw round out the team.)
“Veep” airs at 10/9C Sundays on HBO.
Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.