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HBO’s New Comedy Is Political Loser


HBO’s newest comedy, “VEEP,” is pretty much horse bleep. Except the bleeps aren’t bleeped.

The fictional incompetent vice president of the United States, Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), has a pretty foul mouth along with most members of her equally job-challenged staff.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus attending a ceremony to re...

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Created by Armando Iannucci (“In the Loop”) and produced by him, newspaper and magazine critic Frank Rich and Christopher Godsick (Take the Lead”), “VEEP” (HBO’s press materials capitialize all the letters) is a  satirical look inside the insular world of Washington, D.C. politics where covering your ass is the No.1 job qualification.

I am as cynical as anyone and still didn’t laugh once during the pilot, which airs at 10 p.m. Sunday before HBO’s “Girls.” I know this is HBO, but the idea of politicians using the F word repeatedly gets old real fast.

The cast has a likability and foolish quotient similar to the boys that Louis-Dreyfus played with in “Seinfeld.”

Tony Hale (“Arrested Development” is right-hand man Gary, who puts the names of senators that the vice president doesn’t recognize on her coffee cup when he isn’t whispering them in her ear. Ann Chlumsky (“In the Loop”) is Selina’s seemingly competent chief of staff who occasionally makes big embarrassing mistakes. Reid Scott (“My Boys”) is the good-looking political aide who gets his job partly by criticizing the vice president and becomes Amy’s nemesis. Timothy C. Simons is Jonah, a charmless and clueless White House liaison. Matt Walsh is the veep’s spokesperson, who constantly worries about walking his dog. Sufe Bradshaw is the veep’s executive assistant, who seems the most competent of the bunch.

Louis-Dreyfus plays the veep with characteristics that seem to be a combination of the goofy elements of Elaine on “Seinfeld” and Christine on the CBS comedy “The New Adventures of the Old Christine.”

As vice president, she deals with a variety of low level political issues and pompous senators and congressman that can make Washington so exasperating. Meanwhile, the unseen president doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with her. Smart president.

In one episode, the veep is worried about upsetting the plastics industry. I didn’t get to the end of the episode in which she fears the damage control needed if someone finds out she had a staffer sign a sympathy card meant for the loved ones of a sexual harassing politician.

These things undoubtedly happen but I imagine the reality is much funnier than “VEEP” without even trying.

“VEEP” tries  too hard and fails to deliver so often that I can’t see it getting a second term after the initial eight episodes run. My sympathies to Louis-Dreyfus. Rating: 1 and a half stars out of 4

Speaking of stepping in it, CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s Dyngus Day dis last week turned out to be good business for his Buffalo viewership. The day of his RidicuList laughing fit, his program had a .7 rating in Buffalo. The rating more than doubled the day of his apology to a 1.8.


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