What critics are saying about Baltimore-made 'VEEP'
HBO satire starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus debuts Sunday night
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale
But the series starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, a former senator who becomes vice president of the United States, doesn't debut until Sunday. I've been writing about it so much because this rich and daring series from Armando Iannucci is Maryland made.
So, everyone knows what I think about "VEEP." I love the performance by Louis-Dreyfus, who takes great risks and nails comedic nuances that most TV actors never get within shouting distance of intheir careers.
Furthermore, I believe this dark satire speaks to the kamikaze gridlock and suicidal partisan madness of our nation's political life today like few pop culture texts have ever spoken to the politics of their times.
As I wrote last week:
Iannucci focuses his comedic attention on the gridlock, lack of vision, and sweaty-palmed fear that grips our national politics these days, and as I watched, I realized that for the first time in months, I wasn't feeling quite so desperate, angry and depressed about the state of government and the civic life of the nation today.
It was a little like a good meditation exercise about five minutes in when you start to feel the 10,000 things in your head that are making you crazy quiet down and move away from the center of your brain for a bit.
You can read the full post here.
Now here's what some other critics are saying about the series:
Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter:
Louis-Dreyfus has found perhaps her best post-Seinfeld role and takes to it with such fervor — the constant swearing, the barely veiled desire to become president, the unhappy give-and-take with other politicians and a delightful disdain for average citizens — that you can’t help but applaud what is clearly an Emmy-worthy effort.
Her work alone makes Veep a gem, but there’s even more to like. Meyer’s team includes chief of staff Amy (Anna Chlumsky of In the Loop), tasked to put out endless fires; right-hand-and-body man Gary (Tony Hale of Arrested Development), who basically lives on the veep’s shoulders whispering tidbits in her ear about people she meets: “Wife, not daughter; wife, not daughter!” “Plays the trumpet.” “He’s got a glass eye”; jaded-and-losing-it press spokesman Mike McClintock (Matt Walsh), who pretends to have a dog so he won’t have to stay late at the office or go on boring trips (everyone calls the dog a bullshitzu ...
Every actor nails their lines, which keeps Veep moving at a brisk pace. In fact, the episodes seem to end so quickly, you’ll wish they lasted an hour.
The headline summary from Hollywood Reporter:
HBO’s latest gem is a raw, fast-paced political comedy that gives Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the rest of the cast a chance to really shine.
Carina Chocano, New York Times Magazine:
Every decade gets the political show it deserves, or thinks it deserves, though some decades are pretty disingenuous. “The West Wing” gave us an idealized account of the Clinton era, with a saintly president and high-minded pols. In the ’00s, “24” offered an ultraparanoid version of the Bush era that legitimized torture as the primary means of dealing with a world in a constant state of crisis.
“Veep,” by contrast, comes not to justify Caesar but to goose him. It captures our post-Reagan, post-Clinton, post-Bush, 24-hour tabloid news and Internet-haterade dystopia, and reflects our collective queasy ambivalence toward a political system that we fear simply reflects our own shallowness back at us. If “The West Wing” was a fantasy of hyper-competence, “Veep” is its opposite: a black-humor vision of politics at its bleakest, in which both sides have been co-opted by money and special interests and are reduced to posturing, subterfuge, grandstanding and photo ops. Naturally, it’s hilarious...
… There’s something about Selina that’s also inescapably familiar. It has to do with her combination of intelligence and petulance, self-confidence and neuroticism, narcissism and charm. In many ways, Selina is the quintessential Julia Louise-Dreyfus character: a power-suited version of Elaine from “Seinfeld.”