While House of Cards looks at politics from a more serious point of view, Veep extracts more laughs by lampooning this world.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Selina Meyer), currently spotted on Comedy Central which is airing reruns of Seinfeld, is the Queen Bee of the show.
But she has a stellar supporting cast at her disposal.
We’ve witnessed Selina’s journey from vice-president to president – watched her numerous emotional outbursts, joined her in her struggles and celebrated her wins.
As for the reasoning behind Selina no longer being in political office at the start of this season, executive producer David Mandel explains: “We both (Louis-Dreyfus and he) said: Forget about how we resolved it ultimately. Where did it have to go? It was based on the idea that she certainly could win, but that was not as funny. It is the thing she most wants in this world, to be an honest-to-God elected president of the United States. And so, maybe the show would be over if she actually got that. That was why we went the other way. Also, she’s funny when we dump crap on her.”
Louis-Dreyfus adds: “Yeah, when Dave and I first met to talk about him taking on this gig, that was the first thing we said. Constant failure is our comedy friend." Tony Hale, who plays Gary Walsh, Selina’s personal aide and confidant, offers: “I like the fact that they still call it Veep, because she’s always second to something.”
Mandel chips in: “Well, in her soul, she’s Veep.” She responds: “It’s a chip on her shoulder, it’s a bitterness.”
With regards to how far ahead they work with the storylines, Mandel reveals: “I always like to think a little ahead, just in general, because it does affect things. When we first started last season, we didn’t know – do we have a season’s worth of the tie? Maybe the tie would end at five episodes, it could always end at eight. There was some flux until we really worked it out. I like to know where we’re going.”
He continues: “What’s cool about season six is the question of how she is going to react to the five years that we’ve seen, which is to say, five years when she defined herself, first as vice-president, and then the desire to be a president. Those five years of having watched what she was, and now we’re stripping those five years away from her. What does she become and what does that do to everyone around her?”
The cast of Veep are back with more caustic humour in season six. Picture: Supplied
Louis-Dreyfus expands further, saying: “Yeah. But now there’s a lot more fight, too. Last season, her mother died and the money was not left to her. So she’s got some challenges ahead.”
Hale notes: “And how does she stay relevant? Because she’s out of the limelight and so much of her identity was about being in the limelight, so that’s terrifying for her."
Mandel points out: “That’s been the other nice thing in these two seasons – getting to peek a little bit under the hood, perhaps more than the earlier seasons, just because she can. It’s not something you’d necessarily want to do in season one. I wouldn’t want to do it in season one. But season five and season six, you can dig a little bit deeper, because you have the four or the five years preceding to base it all on.”
Hale’s character has always been loyal. Will that devotion waver this season?
He notes: “My character can’t leave her. He doesn’t know what to do without her.”
She adds: “But people do scatter.”
“In episode one, there’s collateral damage for having worked for her, and her loss. In the real Washington DC, probably staff wouldn’t have stayed quite as long as her staff stuck around. And you’re going to be a little bit shocked by where everybody is – in a good way,” the executive producer offers.
Louis-Dreyfus adds: “I will say that the fact that Selina is a women-hating woman gives us a real chance to be misogynistic from a very unusual place, which I like.”
Either way, viewers will love the razor-sharp wit and shenanigans of this season.
* Veep airs on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) on Mondays at 9.30pm.