We have been watching a new HBO show called Veep, a comedy that stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a fictional Vice President. The show isn’t about politics (we never see or hear from the President, although a goofy jerk is his liaison to the Vice President’s office). Instead, it’s about office dynamics. Louis-Dreyfus’ character is the ultimate narcissist, and those who serve her are manipulative, narcissistic, cruel, and pathetic. Humor derived from such an unsympathetic group of malcontents kind of eludes me.
Aside from finding the show un-amusing, I also find it somewhat offensive insofar as the “F-bomb” constitutes about 25% of the script. The staff in the Veep’s office is almost as obscene as a gangsta rap song.
What’s interesting about a show that presents a Veep’s office as chaotic, narcissistic, mean-spirited, and obscene is the fact that Louis-Dreyfus spoke with Al Gore to help prepare for her role:
“Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus got some help from famous friends before taking on her new role on HBO’s “Veep” (premiering Sunday, April 22 at 10 p.m. ET).
In a new The New York Times Magazine interview, Louis-Dreyfus, who plays “Veep’s” Vice President Selina Meyer, revealed she spoke to Al Gore, various chiefs of staff, speechwriters for vice presidents and fellow “Saturday Night Live” veteran Senator Al Franken about everything — including whether the Secret Service goes to the bathroom with them.
I’m sure a lot of the information Louis-Dreyfus got was indeed of a practical nature, such as info about the Secret Service and potty breaks. I wonder, though, how much of the show’s mean-spiritedness and potty mouth is also attributable to information gleaned from the Gore Veep House.
Incidentally, Louis-Dreyfus is very good in the role. I just happen not to like shows in which the characters are too unsympathetic. Even if there’s real humor there, I’m so uncomfortable spending time in the presence of such people, fictional or not, that I’m not laughing. This is why I don’t like Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. I get the jokes. I’m just not laughing because I’m so revolted by the icky, mean premise.