The recent premire of Aaron Sorkin’s latest The Newsroom reminded me of two things my complete lack of reviews for Veep and the problem of Veep‘s seeming ‘meh-ness’.
First let me address the review slackness. Upon the year of our Lord 2012 dawning I was way too excited about exactly 3 things on TV that upcoming year: 1) The final season of Breaking Bad, 2) The Newsroom and 3) Veep. Sure there were other things like Louie and SoA but these were to an extent known quantities. These three things were exciting for their potential and also for the unknown that shrouds them. This shroud was first lifted on Veep and my initial reaction was hardly one of shock and awe.
From the creative team behind such masterpieces of political comedy The Thick of It and In the Loop not to mention non-political gems like I’m Alan Partridge and a cast to die for Veep seemed a shoe-in to be one of HBO’s great comedies. Unfortunately what we got was a show that never seemed to realise it was on HBO except for the occasional F-bomb or the ability to discuss the VP’s potential for an abortion (something I’m sure with this team would have been allowed on basically any network these days). There was very little about the style that pushed anyone in any new directions and the content was basic at best. Before you start sending m hate mail realise I am not saying it wasn’t funny, regularly it had great lines or great moments but it was hardly the biting social commentary or even incisive character study pocked with hilarious moments that I had hoped for.
When I see the fuzzy welcoming screen of HBO I expect a little more. That is hardly an unreasonable expectation considering that it exactly how they’ve branded themselves and a few missteps not considered the brand has been incredibly well managed to produce some of the greatest and influential television shows of the past 10 years. (Disclaimer nothing in the previous paragraph should be news or considered and original or creative thought on this writer’s behalf). So what happened with Veep? There simply didn’t seem any reason for it to be a part of that brand other than Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’ expressed desire to say the F word (see: Curb Your Enthusiasm, a show that not only works on HBO but takes full advantage of the creative and artistic freedoms allowed them).
I should also say I have nothing against what Veep brought to the table it simply didn’t fit my expectations of a show on HBO. Had this been on Fox or NBC’s Thursday Night Comedy line up I would have perhaps celebrated it as a triumph of the artistic in the face of business. Are these expectations unreasonable? Was your experience a similar one or did you find Veep to be all you had wanted and more? Let’s chat about this guys and girls.