Review: Veep (Season 5, Episode 1)

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Ridiculous

In the words of President Selina Meyer, "when life gives you Yemen, you've gotta make Yemen-ade."

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In the current political chaos that is ensuing within the American government, a little comic relief is needed. Some may argue that the spectatorship of Trump’s presidential campaign is more laughable than serious, but at least with Veep Selina Meyer’s escapades inside the White House are fictional. Trump however, is not.

The series picks up after the ramifications of an electoral vote tie between President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Bill O’Brien (Brad Leland). Veep fans have been anxiously awaiting the return of the show, since its creator Armando Iannucci left at the end of the last season (although he is still credited as a consultant). But thankfully, the entirety of ‘Morning After’ encompasses the complete and utter absurdity that Veep is known for. Iannucci’s successor, Dave Mandel, makes it feel as though the creator never left. He picks up so effortlessly from where Iannucci left off, that in reality, there was really nothing to worry about.

The episode is literally consumed by the morning after the electoral vote tie, with Selina’s presidential team weighed down by the overbearing need to make her look as presidential as possible. This is mainly for a possible recount in Nevada, which may sway the vote towards Selina staying in the White House.

Although, it wouldn’t be Veep without an array of trivial matters plaguing Selina and her team. One of the highlights being a stress zit – aptly named Zitzilla – on Selina’s cheek. A zit seemingly so powerful, that it causes the economy to crash in the middle of a presidential conference, “this pimple isn’t getting any smaller. Kinda like the national debt”.

Then there’s the oh-so dysfunctional mother and daughter relationship between Selina and Catherine. Catherine, studying for a film degree, is trying to make a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary about this historical event in presidential history, one that no one is taking seriously. Throughout the episode, she is shooed away by her mother, with the camera panning to Catherine hiding behind columns and other places to capture private conversations. Once in a while you can see Catherine hilariously out of focus, without anyone but the viewer realising that she’s there.

There are also two minor characters that seem to already have the upper hand this season, those being Richard Splett (Sam Richardson) and Tom James (Hugh Laurie). Richard has come a long way from being Jonah’s (Timothy Simons) sidekick, making it all the way to Selina’s ‘recount specialist’ after revealing he has a doctorate in recount procedures (and Veterinary medicine. You know, as a fall-back). It’s just a matter of time before he manages to screw this up, big time.

Then there’s Tom – played perfectly by Laurie – Selina’s running mate. Selina manages to get back at him for a previous attempt to upstage her at an election night rally, by appointing him as economic czar without giving him a choice in the matter. Selina knows this can reflect poorly on Tom, but also must realise that Tom has the uncanny ability to solve problems in the blink of an eye. Which can backfire on her, seeing as if Congress ends up deciding the election, Tom could easily become president – which was established last season.

Veep’s return is pretty much as expected. Its pacing is fantastic, whilst the script is amazing and ridiculously hilarious. The episode ties together in such a perfect and disastrous fashion that only Veep could pull off. This is mostly embodied by Mike McLintock’s (Matt Walsh) obsession with his FitBit stair-climbing, which sets emergency alarms off during a symposium on race. This is of course the least of Selina’s problems, since we see her trying to discuss racial issues within an all-white panel, and the alarms prompt police to point a gun at Selina’s secretary Sue Wilson (Sufe Bradshaw), the only black woman entering the symposium. It’s hilariously catastrophic in classic Veep style.

Veep airs on Sky Atlantic on Tuesdays at 11:10pm. 

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A film student stuck in a 90s timewarp of FBI agents, UFOs, conspiracy theories, alternative rock and grunge.

3 Comments

  1. avatar

    Given my recent Hugh Laurie obsession, I was thinking of making this my next series to binge-watch after I finish House anyway, but now I’m completely sold – great review Soph!

    • avatar

      YES watch it! I started watching it in the midst of my House binge-watching and flipped the fuck out when he showed up. I’d say it’s the funniest show on TV right now.

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