julia-louis-dreyfus-veep

Time for another Richard Recommends here on the site and this time around it’s back to HBO for their latest Sunday night comedy.

Nope it’s not the heavily hyped Girls, which I sampled and personally found quite grim and grubby. Instead I’ve found myself thoroughly enjoying Veep, the new Julia Louis Dreyfus show that tonally feels like a combination of The Office and The West Wing and has got off to a cracking start! BUT I have one reservation – more on that in a moment…
First the good stuff! Just a few episodes into its run and Veep is already whip-smart, laugh out loud funny and chock full of quotable one liners. I love the way each of the shows has built across the course of each episode, with misunderstanding piled upon misunderstanding and a mix of both high and lowbrow jokes. Who would have thought filibuster reform and clean energy bills could possibly be so funny?

As I wrote in my Coming Soon post just over a month ago, Veep follows Vice President Selina Meyer as she navigates the most powerless position in politics with her staff of incompetents. Okay, correction they’re not all totally terrible! Chief Of Staff Amy (Anna Chlumsky) seems reasonably on the ball, and political maneuverer Dan (Reid Scott), the Deputy Director Of Communications and a rather handsome devil to boot, at least has the smarts to figure out solutions to the myriad of problems befalling his office.

VEEP: Reid Scott. photo: Bill Gray

But elsewhere – oh boy! There’s clueless personal aide Gary (Tony Hale) who stumbles from one catastrophe to another, and Mike (Matt Walsh) the Director Of Communications who seems to go constantly off message. And then there’s Jonah, the White House liaison to the VP, a portrait of pure smugness who revels in his higher profile position with the real Washington power player.

At its best Veep is fast and very, very funny. The cast are expert at the art of caustic put downs and I love how the show doesn’t talk down to its audience – you really do have to work to keep up. We’re not exactly talking Two Broke Girls here!

Now that caveat! As much as I’ve enjoyed Veep recently I do wish there was a little more warmth among the show’s cast members. Put simply it can get pretty old pretty fast to have characters constantly sniping at one another. Now I certainly don’t expect – or want – the show to descend into constant hugs and high fives but would a bit of bonding be out of the question? When your whole cast of characters all hate one another it’s kind of depressing! I actually enjoyed seeing Amy and Dan recently working together schmoozing a pair of sleazy politicians – it was a refreshing change. Dan is a total slimebag but you also know that as the two most attractive cast members, he and Amy are so going to end up sleeping together!

Okay slight gripe over! Overall I think Veep has great growth potential and could become quite a long-term player for HBO in the years to come.

But what do you think? Are you watching Veep and are you a fan? Or did you sample and decide to pass? Comment away…