The F-word flies out of somebody's mouth a remarkable 27 times during the 30-minute first episode of the corrosively cynical and very funny political comedy Veep, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a vapid and hapless vice president named Selina Meyer, who drops such elegant turns of phrase as ''pencil f---ed'' and ''f---tard'' and ''I need a s---.'' The West Wing this is not.
... "A bleak vision of American political folly (that) would be pretty depressing if it weren't so amusing."
Matt Zoller Seitz, New York magazine:
As Selina, a former senator, Louis-Dreyfus draws on her loopy, self-involved Seinfeld persona but adds hints of cynicism and brittleness. Everyone around Selina is likewise selfish and image-obsessed. This is a shark-tank world of a type that HBO specializes in; the ego-warring over perks, loyalty, and respect might remind you of the cable channel’s other classic half-hour studies in bad behavior: The Larry Sanders Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the brilliant, short-lived Lisa Kudrow vehicle The Comeback.
But the first three episodes of Veep don’t suggest we’re going to see those series’ depth and poignancy. Iannucci has a tactically limited view of political skulduggery, the type showcased in the insufferably cutesy columns of Maureen Dowd. It’s all rather weightless: just your usual sitcom-style misunderstandings and bruised egos and “complications ensue,” with no sense that anything larger is at stake...
That’s not a bad thing in and of itself—the world can always use one more amusing sitcom—but for all its madcap goofiness, Veep doesn’t say or add up to much—which, in a way, suggests it’s the right satire for a political era marked by stupid feuds, inertia, and superficiality.
Matt Richental, TV Fanatic:
Veep is seriously funny, but it manages to include political undertones as well. There's noting overt, nothing that would offend either the Left or Right, just sly commentary on how staffers place importance on the flavor of ice cream the Vice President should choose when making a public appearance, while also referring to interactions with voters as "normalizing."
Like The West Wing, we're also treated to quick dialogue and storylines based on corn starch, big oil and filibusters. None of it is dumbed down for the audience, but none of it plays a central role in the jokes or for the characters, either, for those uninterested in such capitol details.
Overall, Veep is one of the more intelligent comedies on TV. It features a great cast and characters that are taken to the extreme, yet never come across as caricatures. They're simply trying, and mostly failing, to be good at their jobs.