When HBO’s VEEP began its sixth season, the political comedy was in uncharted waters. Season five had ended as President Selina Meyer left office following a disastrous election that tested the electoral college. Midway through its current run it is apparent that VEEP’s writers have reinvented the comedy, allowing it to continue as one of television’s funniest shows.
VEEP is at its best when irrelevancy is in play. The constant state of almost possessing all of the power, waiting for the President to call, and the chaotic mingling scenes provided a wealth of material in previous seasons. While still funny during her tenure in the Oval Office, VEEP had lost Selina Meyer’s agitation of being a number two and her staff was no longer at odds with D.C. operatives more powerful than themselves.
The element of irrelevancy has returned in season six and has demonstrated that a comedy about an accidental president can sustain itself after she is no longer in office. Selina is desperate to run again, but no one wants her to. She wants to start planning her presidential library. Nobody seems to want Meyer to have one.
Amy Brookheimer is running a fledgling campaign in Nevada and appears desperate to steer the career of a bigger politician. Dan Egan has landed a handsome gig on CBS, although the lead anchor is constantly dismissive of him. Kent Davison and Ben Cafferty seemingly went from the White House to the outhouse as aides for Congressman Jonah Ryan. Mike McLintock returns to work for Selina, although pay has been an issue. Fortunately, Gary and Richard have retained their perpetual enthusiastic haplessness.
By landing in roles where almost none of them want to, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and the show’s ensemble cast are perfectly situated. Their characters’ bid for importance has already landed them in hot water both at home and abroad. Whether it be a sex scandal, seedy fundraising, or monitoring an election in The Republic of Georgia, VEEP has given old characters fresh material. The characters are no longer bound to the daily grind of government and can find themselves in a wide range of story lines.
It is unknown how much longer VEEP will continue. The show has already sustained a remarkable run on HBO, but season six has revealed that the show has the ability to stick around beyond term limits. As long as it is able to generate these sticky spots, VEEP remains funny even for those characters who are no longer tethered to Selina. The possibilities for how the show can proceed or to create spin-offs are endless.
VEEP has also raised its stock through the creation of some must-read websites for Congressman Jonah Ryan, staff member Richard Splett, and the Meyer Fund For Adult Literacy & AIDS & The Advancement of Global Democracy. Like Selina, it is becoming obvious that VEEP has so much more of itself to give.