Saturday, February 13, 2016

Veep: The Binge

julia louis-dreyfus

There's a moment in the third episode of season 2 of Veep that the series really revealed a whole other level to me. After a series of ridiculous incidents surrounding a hostage rescue operation, Vice President Selina Meyer played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus learns that one of the soldiers on the mission lost a leg. To see this hard-edged, sarcastic, narcissistic career politician take the news as hard as she does winds up elevating everything that came before and after without losing any of the comedic brilliance. Make no mistake, this is not a "very special episode" type of moment, but it does show a human depth to her character that might be easy to forget given some of the insanity of the rest of show. And it's not the last moment where this happens. It comes up in different ways as the series progresses which I think is why this show is ultimately so great.

Everyone is just fucking perfect on this show, but the balancing act that Dreyfus pulls by playing someone who is shallow and mean as fuck but also somehow likable is a feat unlike any I can think of. Plus the whole show is tightrope walk between smart and over the top slapstick that somehow works every time, perhaps because deep down it's grounded in relatable human characters. When you break down some of the most horrible fiascoes Meyer and her staff go through, it's almost like they fail because they are too honest, too idealistic, in spite of themselves. And also because, like most of us, they second guess themselves. The political machine chews them all up because they aren't ruthless enough, no matter how hard they try to be.

Near the end of season 4, there's another scene involving Meyer and her body man Gary played by the genius Tony Hale that is absolutely beautiful. I won't describe the scene because it really should just be seen in context with the appropriate seasons long build up, but once again it was unexpectedly touching. It might be my favorite scene of the whole show, and that's saying a lot. It took me a while to start this show, but I fucking inhaled the 4 seasons in like 3 weeks and now I'm ready for Season 5 on April 24th. Can't wait.

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