Is Veep Really That Far Off From Reality?
“Two great Greek contributions to American society: democracy and getting fucked in the ass.”
“I’ve tried both and they’re overrated, like jazz.”
And with that, Veep is back. The HBO comedy premiered its fifth season on Sunday and things in the Meyer White House are just as wacky as they’ve always been. Selina is locked in an electoral college tie that puts the fate of the election into the hands of an arcane piece of constitutional law that no one really knows about. If that doesn’t sound like the zany Veep of previous seasons, it’s not because the show has changed its tone, it’s because America has.
This season is premiering in the midst of one of the wildest elections in our nation’s history. Both Veep and the 2016 election are revealing the secret channels through which we can elect a president in this country. I mean, did you know how a contested convention worked before this year? I didn’t, and I’ve seen every episode of The West Wing several times.
When Veep premiered in 2012, it worked because it was a look into the asinine minutiae of being the Vice President. Selina Meyer trying to make it to a photo-op at a fro-yo shop despite having the flu was the entire plot of an early episode. But as the show has gone on, it has become less about the smaller aspects of governmental life and more about the absurdity of the whole system, just in time for the system to be more absurd than ever.
Watching the show, it becomes difficult to not insert today’s political figures into the plot. What would Donald Trump say about the massive stress zit on Selina’s cheek? Think about the zingers the Meyer team would throw around about John Kasich eating. I am almost positive the line “When life gives you Yemen, make Yemenade,” is a direct quote from Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State.
I would venture to say that for the last several years, Veep has been the best comedy on television. It manages to be smart, fast and crude at the same time, barely giving you enough time to consider how vulgar a joke was before you’re laughing at the next. In this season it continues to do all of those things, but it has also become some of the most searing political satire this side of Network. With our current state of affairs looking both bizarre and grim, it’s nice to know that Veep is a safe space for us to laugh at the three-ring circus that is American democracy.