“Scandal” Breaks: Enter “Veep”


“Veep” wins 3 Emmys: Photo retrieved from HBO.COM

“Veep” may provide a humorous sitcom outlet for loyal fans of Shonda Rhimes television Drama “Scandal” who will need to fill a viewing void since a new season of Scandal will not be released this fall. Where Rhimes uses politics as a dramatic extension in her show”Scandal,” Armando Lannuci uses the political arena as a funny foundation for many of his jokes. Selina Meyer is now the Vice President of the United States and her and her team try to make a lasting impact on the country. However, her team is not nearly as witty and warrior-like as Olivia Pope’s “gladiators,” to say the least. No matter how explicit her instructions, Meyer’s associates always find a way to “veep” something up.

Initially, the vulgar language seems to be a little much but soon after seems necessary. It would seem, in today’s political climate, that this show would be all too easy to produce. Yet, many of the jokes are refreshing and add a much needed outlet from serious political news. The show is undeniably well done: as the main actress Julia Luis-Dreyfus, who also was a main character in the popular sitcom “Seinfield,” won an Emmy on Sunday. In her speech, she comically apologized for the current political situation in America.

The show proves that there is a silver lining to the political fiasco between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – which is plenty of comical material for “Veep” writers to spin off of in the show. Further, as Laura Linder noted in her interview, it is important to remember the social and historical context that surrounds situational comedies when they are created. “Veep” is definitely a show that is created in-context and does not attempt to deny it’s connection with the 2016 election. Thankfully for viewers, though, it still accomplishes a certain distance from each political candidate. It almost seems necessary for “Scandal” to pause because that may be too much drama and craziness for viewers, like myself, to handle. “Veep” is an awkward, but compelling switch-up from more serious politics like “Scandal” and current, all too real, American politics.


~ Karoline Summerville

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5 Responses to “Scandal” Breaks: Enter “Veep”

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I love this blog post! I feel like television approaches politics in two ways: it either overdramatizes it or satirizes it. Your distinction between the two with these different television shows is spot on, and I agree that the “Veep” approach is much more enjoyable and even more believable at times!

    Stephanie Rubin

  2. mediaphiles says:

    Veep feels like the cynical cousin to Parks and Recreation: while the latter is very hopeful and optimistic about what can be accomplished in politics across party lines, the former creates a darkly pessimistic portrayal of the federal government in which every single person in Washington D.C. is working their job for one reason and one reason only: themselves. No one on the show is above back-stabbing their coworkers or abandoning their ideals for their own self-gain. And part of why this show works so well is because it is surprisingly successful at remaining unbiased. Parks and Recreation gave us a lovable libertarian in Ron Swanson, but die-hard leftist Leslie Knope was the real protagonist, and most of her antagonists were of the far-right persuasion. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (and I certainly enjoyed such a setup based on my own political leanings), but Veep, despite being infinitely more misanthropical, does a great job at avoiding an inherent bias, even better than Parks and Rec, because everyone is terrible. For the first 3 or so seasons of the show, Selina Meyer’s political affiliation remains unspecified. It’s not until the writers are forced to reveal her party that they do (in season 4, if I’m not mistaken). In a way, this establishes a notion that everyone in D.C., regardless of political affiliation, is the same: awful. It’s a show that works because it doesn’t say as much about one party versus the other as it does about the political climate in general across the aisle.

    –Kevin Pabst

  3. mediaphiles says:

    Honestly, I am a loyal Scandal fan, but with the current election cycle I can only take so much political drama. Veep is a necessary presence in broadcast television. I feel that most, if not all, television shows about presidential politics are dramas. Veep is a sitcom that should be able to find its spot to shine in the 2016 presidential election. I come to television to escape, not to be reminded of the country’s turmoil, unless I am watching a documentary. – Andrew Guido

  4. marymdalton says:

    I have a former student who is a political correspondent (currently with The Daily Beast). He says that VEEP is horrifying accurate. Sigh!

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I was surprised by how many awards Veep won during the Emmy’s, and I never considered watching the show until now. Scandal seems like the type of series that dramatizes politics while Veep demonstrates the ridiculous side. I wonder how this show would have done if it was produced 10 years ago–would it have been as successful?
    – Ziba

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