Veep - The Complete First Season
I grew up in Northern Virginia; Julia Louis-Dreyfus in suburban Maryland. In the middle lies the familiar territory and common ground of Washington, D.C., specifically the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the setting of the HBO series "Veep."
Producer (and real-life billionaire, with a "b") Louis-Dreyfus plays Vice President Selina Meyer, a convincing mess a heartbeat away from the presidency. This dissection of internal political machinations is peppered with bald-faced bon mots, like "I’m fluent in bastard," "sucking up isn’t going to fix a fuck up," and notes that Secret Service agents should behave like "robot geishas."
The cast is solid and showcases its improv chops under the helm of Armando Iannuci and a mixed U.S./U.K. creative crew. Chicagoans Matt Walsh as schlubby communications director Mike McLintock and Sufe Bradshaw as comely commander of the calendar Sue Wilson especially shine as the team racing around the city in escorted motorcades, arguing inside their cramped offices, or putting out fires and forever yearning for contact with the POTUS. Second banana Selina’s running question (and eternal hope) throughout the eight episodes of Season One is "Did the president call?" to which Sue always replies "No."
The only missteps in the spritely series are casting Anna Chlumsky as the harried chief of staff, as she lacks facility with this type of rapid-fire comedy, and an overabundance of profanity, sometimes so thick the zingers get buried. But the excellent "Hail to the Chief"-inspired music smoothes any rough edges.
Bonus features - alongside episodes "Fundraiser," "Frozen Yoghurt" (photo op), "Catherine" (neglected daughter), "Chung" (possible rival), "Nicknames" (blogosphere criticism), "Baseball" (Orioles op), "Full Disclosure" (scandal management), and "Tears" (manipulated op) - include "The Making of Veep," audio commentaries, deleted scenes and outtakes, and Selina’s uncomfortable obesity PSA.
Louis-Dreyfus’ work is exceptional, and she gets some of the best lines, such as "I’m a political leper and an emotional bombshell. Let’s put me on stage."
"Veep: The Complete First Season"
Blu-ray & DVD Combo Pack