VEEP For President!May 04, 2012
Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: "VEEP" (HBO).
A Woman for All Seasons
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is great. Just try to imagine “Seinfeld” without Elaine. “The New Adventures of Old Christine” would never have even gotten the greenlight without her involvement (I certainly hope!). I know I never would have watched it. As it was, JLD’s delightful presence was the only worthwhile part of “Christine.” Now, finally, a show that stars Louis-Dreyfus that lives up to her talent! Julia Louis-Dreyfus is Selina Meyer, Vice President of the United States, in “Veep.”
Surrounded by a staff that all seem to have an agenda of their own, Madame Vice President is multi-tasking her multi-tasks. Cooly efficient Sue (Sufe Bradshaw), laser-focused and ambitious Dan (Reid Scott), harried but keenly observant chief of staff Amy (Anna Chlumsky), and “looks like a police sketch of a rapist” White House liaison Johah (the creepily good Timothy C. Simons) all juggle their competing and complementing interests while stepping on and/or over each other to get to the top. In addition to trying to manage her staff, and her agenda, Selina has problems of her own with a neglected daughter who can’t seem to get her attention, except as an additional agenda item.
While this is not a laugh out loud sitcom, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is comic gold. She never goes for the obvious (this is NOT a Sarah Palin impersonation, nor a Nancy Pelosi, nor a Hillary Clinton). JLD is mesmerizing, especially when there is a chance that the President is seriously ill, and she has step into his shoes. The myriad of emotions that fly across her face as she tries to keep it straight on concerned is truly amazing.
The style of “Veep” isn’t quite faux-documentary, but the hand-held, low-budget video gives you that same fly-on-the-wall feeling, including the claustrophobia and frustration that comes with being too inside the Beltway. With only a half-hour per episode, the time flies by. I watched three episodes and felt like I had only watched one. And that’s commercial-free!
Executive Producer Frank Rich (who is also an Editor at Large for New York Magazine and a popular political columnist) has added a nice layer of authenticity while not sacrificing the comedy. There are no references to political party affiliation, and we are left to assume that both/all sides are equally manipulative. This has gotten some criticism, but frankly, I think it’s more fun without having to choose a side. Frankly, it’s a relief to watch something political without being emotionally invested with years of political baggage.
Jean Tait is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. Currently the Director of Programming for the Connecticut Film Festival, Jean has programmed for the Jacksonville Film Festival and Sundance Channel.
Look for VEEP on HBO On Demand
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