TV Review: Veep, ‘Some New Beginnings’ (Season Premiere)

Written by Megan LaBruna

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Veep is back, and it’s the sh*t. Sorry if that was in your face, but anyone who watches the Armando Ianucci’s satiric political comedy, Veep, would expect nothing less. The gang is back for their third season of back-stabbing, insult-throwing and general publicized debauchery all in the name of politics.

There are noticeable differences from the first season to now. In the show’s beginning, the cast themselves were more of a backdrop to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character, Selena Meyers. They were still full of the snarkiest of comments, but the delivery was somewhat muted. Season 2 ushered in a few small changes that made a big impact. Much like how The Office, started expanding their secondary characters, Veep started putting more focus on Selena Meyers’ core group. The plot lines of the story were also upgraded during the season. They went from trying to pass a bill in Season 1 to tackling issues such as government shutdown and furloughing of employees, which is an issue the U.S. actually faced later that same year. (Maybe these writers have more insight than we know.) The biggest plot point however came about towards the end of the season when, after much flip-flopping, it was officially announced to the Veep’s team that the president would not be running for a second term allowing Selena to run for president in the next term.

Photo Credit: HBO/Paul Schiraldi
Photo Credit: HBO/Paul Schiraldi

Cut to season 3! Selena and her not-so-merry band of cynical aides are back and more high-strung than ever. I actually really loved this first episode. The team themselves are at Mike’s wedding being forced to turn over their cell phones during the service, while Selena is on her book tour with a less than incompetent assistant. With the president set to make an official statement about not running for a second term, Amy (Anna Chlumsky) and Dan (Reid Scott) are in a race to become Selena’s campaign manager. Not even the fish bowl full of guests phones will keep either of them from receiving any kind of updates. Dan packs a second phone in his jacket, which Amy is quick to mock, only to pull a secret cell from under her dress in a very Bond Girl-esque fashion later that day.

The separation of the team from Selena allows for the audience to catch some nice bonding time between Selena and the president’s chief of staff, Ben Cafferty (Kevin Dunn), whom I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of this season. It also allows for us to see yet another instance of how politics can sometimes boil down to a person’s ability to bull-sh*t their way through a situation. This is something that fans of the show have seen done copious amounts of time during the prior seasons of Veep. Usually someone has re-vamped Selena’s speech or crossed out virtually everything in it and she has to then “just go with it.” The result: a moderately terrible speech and the immediate need for an apologetic press release; however she nails the eulogy at a congressman’s funeral even while taking a jab at his height. Running off the high from her successful speech, she then attempts a varied version for Mike’s wedding, which doesn’t go over quite as well, but no one seems to care, probably because they’ve hit the open bar and are celebrating the expedited presidential statement, all courtesy of Jonah (Jonah Ryan).

Oh Jonah. He’s just a character you love to hate, and he makes it so easy when he says things like how he “can’t wait to crack open” perfectly nice young ladies at a wedding. Yes, that was his sad attempt at hitting on women. His effort at being an online gossip blogger under the guise of “West Wing Man” however, may be even worse than his attempts to seduce women. So much so, that the blog (SPOILER ALERT) leads to his termination. I couldn’t help but smile a little…I’m lying, I smiled a lot. I know he’ll weasel his way back into the plot, but for now, I can revel in the fact that he finally got the swift kick to the rump that everyone has been waiting for since the first season.

Based on prior seasons, I think it’s safe to say we can expect the continuation of quick witted insults, a lot of f*cking swearing (because who doesn’t love a country represented by a staff with the mouths of sailors), and the potential for the first Lady POTUS! With an episode such as “Some New Beginnings” to set the pace for the rest of the season, I think audiences are in for one hell of a ride. So jump on the campaign trail and catch Veep Sundays at 10:30pm on HBO.

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