With everyone focusing on the series premiere of Girls last week, HBO’s other female-powered show Veep slipped under the radar and premiered to little fanfare last night. Which is unfortunate because the show, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer, actually entertained me so much that I set a series recording on my DVR.
Over the past few years, I’ve mourned the lack of quality comedies on television. Old favorites like The Office and 30 Rock lost their appeal long ago and even newer comedies like Modern Family, which definitely make my laugh, lack that smart, snappy humor that give you that wonderful feeling of being a TV elitist when you’re watching. Basically I’ve been in the market for a new Arrested Development for years now.
And in exciting news I think Veep could be that show. First it’s on HBO and that has elitist TV viewing all over it. Second it has Tony Hale who played Buster on Arrested Development. It’s the next best thing to George Michael Bluth playing the vice president’s intern. Third of all and possibly most important of all, Julia Louis-Dreyfus shines in this role and I’m hoping she shines so bright that she can avoid that constant cancellation curse that’s followed her around since Seinfeld.
She plays VP Selina Meyer, a fun cross between Parks & Rec’s Leslie Knope and the real life VP Joe Biden. She has all of Leslie’s determination for a position that no one else seems to care and all of Joe Biden’s self-control problems when it comes to speaking aloud when he shouldn’t. The combined qualities lead to a constant need for damage control as well as what I’m sure is going to be a signature line, “has the president called?” Spoiler alert: I don’t think the president ever calls, you don’t see him once during the premiere.
While Julia’s always funny, I think Veep might be the show that finally captures the full breadth of her comedic talents. As Selina Meyer, she plays a supposedly powerful woman who’s comically unaware of her actual role within the government. She remains sympathetic even at her worst moments and I think everyone watching probably felt for her when she made a horribly received retard joke at an important function. It takes a talented actress and a well-written character to make you feel bad for someone who makes a retard joke.
Even though Julia’s clearly the show’s star, she’s supported by a great ensemble cast. Anna Chlumsky, clearly recovered from Thomas J’s tragic death, returns to television as the VP’s Chief of Staff. While that’s her official title, it’s clear by the end of the episode that her position is actually more about putting out the constant fires that Selina starts.
She’s joined by Tony Hale who plays a slightly more competent form of Buster Bluth as the VP’s personal aide as well as Matt Walsh (one of those guys I see everywhere but never know his name) who plays the Director of Communications who invented a made-up dog to get out of all after hour work responsibilities.
All together they make up a fun group that almost makes you wish you worked in their office. Almost. Veep is definitely worth watching and I’m really hoping that the rest of the season is as good as the pilot.