Friday, April 4, 2014

Veep Season 2

The Hilarious Hypocrisy of Politics

By David Luhrssen
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With “Breaking Bad” drawing comparisons to the great novels of the past, populated by full-drawn characters confronted by moral choices, why not link the great television comedies of our times to satirical literature? “Veep” could be called a sitcom set in Washington, D.C., but it has an ongoing storyline as Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) picks fights and rounds up allies in her bid for importance. Who knows? Maybe she’ll be President by the time the series ends? Let’s say that “Veep” is the television show P.G. Wodehouse might have created were he with us today.

“Veep: The Complete Second Season” (out on Blu-ray and DVD) finds Selina in the midst of her party’s big mid-term election debacle, which she sees as an opportunity for her own advancement. The ensemble of actors playing Selina’s staff and adversaries is marvelous, but Louis-Dreyfus is the center of attention as Selina proceeds with calculated determination in the face of chaos. The droll hilarity never ceases as the screenwriters zero-in on the double-talk and empty rhetoric endemic to politics. “There is no ‘I’ in freedom,” Selina reminds an audience. She adds: “It’s ‘weedom’.” Hypocrisy is continual. When Selina dons a cowboy hat to attend a “U.S. Hey” pig roast down South, she drops the “g” from the end of her words as George W. Bush and even Barack Obama are wont to do.

Politics in “Veep” is all about appearances, the parsing of words and the avoidance of controversy. When Selina’s film studies daughter posts a review of a movie critical of Israel, the noisy media chatter drowns out the real problems facing the world.

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