Veep: The Complete Fifth Season

| April 6, 2017

This is the second season of Veep that I’ve reviewed for the site and I really just need to go back to the beginning and watch the whole thing because it is hilariously funny, with one of the best casts ever put together for a tv series.

For those unfamiliar, the series is about Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus; Seinfeld), who used to the vice president of the United States until the President resigned and she took over the job.  She spent season 4 running for reelection and when that ended in a tie, the election was left to congress to decide.  Season 5 tells the story of how that process plays out, involving a recount in Nevada and a lot of behind the scenes wheeling and dealing from Meyer and her staff to help ensure that she wins the election.

A lesser show would try to stretch out the congressional vote for 10 episodes, but Veep keeps throwing curveballs at the audience the whole time.  The recount in Nevada, the death of a congressman spurring one of Meyer’s staffers to run for congress and help sure up her reelection, and then we randomly get the whole season told again from Meyer’s Daughter Catherine’s (Sarah Sutherland) documentary film that she’s been seen filming in the background.  From what I’ve seen, the show stays fresh and funny in every episode.

Everything here really comes down to the cast.  Tony Hale (Arrested Development) continues his wonderful role as Meyer’s body man, culminating in one terrific scene where he berates the rest of the staff for being so selfish.  Gary Cole (The West Wing) continues to bring a dry sense of humor with his encyclopedic knowledge of everything useless, and of course Timothy Simons’ portrayal of arrogant clown Jonah Ryan is endlessly entertaining.  I do want to call special attention to the Richard character (Sam Richardson), who really defies classification.  He’s upbeat and seems very capable in many areas, but then will randomly have a gap in his knowledge that makes him adorably ignorant about the everyday workings of the world.  I found myself laughing at just about everything he did this season, and hope he continues to be a bigger and bigger part of the show.

Of course, everything hinges on Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ performance, which is vulgar and underhanded one moment and then she puts on her public face.  The comparison to Frank Underwood on House of Cards is unavoidable as Meyer also seems to like the idea of being president more than she likes the idea of helping people as president.  Her desperation with keeping her power and her obsession with the status that comes with being president is very funny while evolving into an all too familiar portrayal of modern American politics.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD from HBO on April 11, days before the season 6 premiere on April 16.

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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