Veep

Veep

An incendiary look at the hell of politicking—and possibly the funniest American series ever

The Very Best

8.4

TV Show

United States
English
Comedy
2012
Anna Chlumsky, Clea DuVall, Gary Cole
30 min

TLDR

When it was airing, Veep was a satire. Now it's a documentary. In 10 years, it'll probably be a feel-good comedy.

What it's about

United States Vice President Selina Meyer desperately tries to make a relevant mark on American politics while she's still in office.

The take

There is a very good case to be made for Veep being, pound-for-pound, the best American comedy to air on TV. Because while many other workplace sitcoms comment also comment on current events and satirize bureaucratic processes, no other show has committed this deeply to the inherent corruption and stupidity of every single one of its major characters. Selina Meyer and her staff are either so evil or so incompetent that they circle around to being irresistibly fun to watch and hilarious in all their own unique ways—which the series' writers expertly wrangle together in each script. And with much of the show's humor being built on creative, devastating insults, Veep also possesses a truly vicious edge that make it more challenging than its contemporaries.

But one shouldn't forget that the series also tells a compelling story of how soulless a nation's leaders can be, putting a magnifying class to every little political decision made in the name of saving face or pushing forward some other unrelated agenda. It's surprisingly insightful for something that seems so crass. And as Selina Meyer herself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (surrounded by a brilliant, dynamic cast) turns in one of the greatest comedic performances on TV as a pathetic vice president who can't help but let the monstrous side of herself win every time.

What stands out

There are simply too many great moments, performances, and insults to count throughout Veep's seven seasons. But for anyone who's hesitant about starting an older, multi-season show for fear that it might not end on a good note (cue another long-running HBO series with a "mad queen"), it should be emphasized how powerful Veep's ending is. This is not an optimistic story, and it shows no interest in redeeming any of its rotten characters. But the depths to which it has some of its characters sink by the end rivals the kind of depravity you'd see on a show like House of Cards. And yet something poetic about it remains, a statement on power and legacy and the things that truly matter in the end.

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