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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, June 21, 2024

'Veep'

The recent weird weather made for a perfect week for binge watching. I switched from my warm weather habit of watching television on the front porch of my off-campus house to watching from my comfy bed during the rain over the weekend. This week, I was lucky enough to focus on "Veep" (2012 - present), a comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who you probably remember as Elaine on "Seinfeld" (1989 - 1998). Dreyfus plays fictional Vice President Selina Meyer, who (spoiler alert!) later becomes president.While it isn’t on Netflix streaming yet, I was able to binge watch all four seasons on DVD box set.  

Selina is a pretty foreboding character. She likes things done her way and done immediately. One amusing element of the show is the myriad ways Selina doesn’t get her way -- the result of her own fumbles combined with those of her staff, which includes friends, enemies and people she’s just waiting to fire at any moment.

The relationship between Amy (Anna Chlumsky), Selina's Chief of Staff, and Selina is probably the funniest element in the show. Amy is there to help Selina try to organize her duties as vice president as well as responsibilities in her personal life. Amy basically runs everything for Selina and keeps her out of one troublesome situation after the next. For example, she even helps Selina remember facts about her own daughter (Sarah Sutherland). While Amy's dedication to Selina is the most extreme, it definitely represents how the other members of Selina’s staff go about their jobs. Everyone is always trying to compensate and figure out how to deal with Selina’s stumbles, like the memorable moment when Selina worries that she might be pregnant, and her staff has to figure out how to hide it from the press. Each episode is filled with different punchlines, but there are also long-running jokes that are noticed more through binge watching. In one recurring joke, Selina often asks her secretary Sue (Sufe Bradshaw) if the president has called her. The punchline? He never has.

Overall, the show is really entertaining. I don’t think that I would have enjoyed it as much, however, if I hadn’t binge watched it. There is a lot to keep track of in this show: Selina's immense staff, presidents, not to mention family members, ex-spouses and affairs. It’s really difficult to remember everyone and what their positions are in the White House and in relation to Selena. I think if I hadn’t binge watched it as quickly as I did, I would have forgotten characters between episodes. In addition, the show is geared toward single-episode plot lines and narratives, like a sitcom, so there are few of the multi-episode arcs that make a series prime for binge watching.

I think "Veep" is a great show because it deals with a challenging environment that few television shows have ever tackled in a comedic way. While it may not give one a sense of what it’s really like to be vice president, it’s certainly entertaining.

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