Veep’s White House doors open up to a washed up Washington, D.C. Lawmakers have tried and failed one too many times to make the free country a better place, and have given up. This world of American politics created by Armando Iannucci, is vapid, shallow, and unfortunately, the most authentic depiction of real life government on TV. Try watching this show right after Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Effective policymaking in the United States seems to be impossible, and Veep makes this horribly depressing reality extraordinarily laugh out loud funny.
There are more f-bombs thrown around in Veep’s Oval Office than in Wolf of Wall Street, and yet, it never seems excessive. The constant references to balls and vaginas never diminish my perception that these people, while terrible, are terribly intellectual. The profanity filled speeches, like X-rated poetry, are said with such natural conviction, and perfect timing, that it doesn’t seem too obscene, but delightfully witty. It’s perfect satire.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has made Selina Myers one of the most brazen anti-hero characters on TV. I dream to get her, Claire Underwood from House of Cards, Elizabeth Jennings from The Americans, Carrie Mathison from Homeland, and Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones, all together for a fantasy TV panel, with Amy Schumer leading the discussion. A powerful line- up of unapologetically flawed women, whose morally questionable actions, performed with such little remorse, only intensifies my adoration for them.
It would be easy to say that Selina Myers’ strength comes from, to say it in her own words, not giving a fuck. But she actually gives all the fucks, as long as the issues at hand are about her own well -being and success. Surrounded with a like-minded staff of self-absorbed people whose jobs are contingent on Selina remaining in office, we have the most fantastically horrific West Wing in history.
These folks joke about kids with HIV, delay picking up a detainee in Iran for a photo-op, and get upset when a hurricane doesn’t ravish a town with fallen trees and power outages. It’s ugly, despicable yet, hilarious.
I’d love to get angry, fight that that this is so far off from real life D.C., that there’s good-hearted, well-intentioned people in power, but I can’t even finish that train of thought without sighing. Our government appears to be the global warming arguing, healthcare quarrelling, infrastructure failing, seventh circle of hell. The fact that any progress happens ever is nothing short of a miracle.
Keeping with the show’s track record of uncannily being able to mirror real-time news, the Sunday that season four premiered, in which we met Selina Myers as POTUS for the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her bid for presidency. We can’t really compare this fictional president with our current democratic front-runner, but I’m going to anyway.
Veep’s Commander-in-Chief is a 48-year-old single mother, who announces to the room when she needs to poop. Selina’s wickedly smart, capable of brokering peace deals in the Middle East, but she’s also crude, bullies her own daughter, and makes one public faux pas after another. Mrs. Clinton’s entire campaign would shutter after just one Selina-like scandal. In real life, the double standard is alive and well, with a republic that demands more dignity and grace from a female in power, regardless of if she’s excelling at the job.
In my second favorite scene of the season, the first being the intimate fight in the closet between Selina and Gary (Tony Hale, who deserves a stack of Emmys for his genius portrayal as Selina’s personal aid), was when Amy (Anna Chlumksy), Selina’s campaign manager, quit in a fit of rage. The only thing I love more than a glib Gary, a muddled Mike, a stone-cold Sue, and a devious Dan (Team Selina is indeed special), is an angry Amy. With tears of frustration burning in her eyes, Amy said straight to Selina’s face, “You have achieved nothing, apart from one thing: The fact that you are a woman means we will have no more women presidents because we tried one, and she fucking sucked.”
This scene was a turning point for the show. Up until this moment, Veep never fixated on the fact that the President was in a power red dress and heels, instead of a suit and tie, which I found refreshing. Selina’s staff aren’t role models by any means, but they are progressively light years ahead of us in the feminist movement.
However, the idea of a woman presidential candidate picking a female running mate is considered outrageous in both reality, and in the Veep world. This notion makes Selina nearly explode. “Are you trying to blow up the universe now? Who’s going to go for two women on the ticket?”
“ME!” I yell at the TV. Why can’t we? Why does this seem so ridiculous? For so long, we’ve only had male running mates for a major party, so spare me the “You want a ticket that represents both men and women” speech, Senator Dianne Feinstein. If Mrs. Clinton announced that Sen. Elizabeth Warren would be her running mate, I’d be ecstatic, and I don’t think I’d be alone feeling this way. If America can rally to support Bruce Jenner’s journey to becoming a female (go Bruce!), I think we’re ready for a double-woman-powered democratic ticket in 2016.
Has Veep successfully foreshadowed that Mrs. Clinton will pick a “safe” white male to be her running mate in fear of sharing her female-fueled spotlight? If so, I can only hope she picks someone as wonderful as Tom James. Much to Selina’s chagrin, the public response to Tom James is exactly like the viewers’ response to seeing Hugh Laurie killing it in a comedic role: we love him! This doesn’t mean we want less of you, Queen Selina, but we do want more of Tom James. Much more.
Oh, how I long to hear the title “Madam President” outside the realm of TV and movies. Until then, I enjoy watching Team Myers fight and piss their way around the nation’s capital. It remains to be seen if Selina will be able to hold on to her presidency, but if me, and all the ladies in my dream TV panel could vote, it would be a unanimous “Yay.”