When HBO’s Veep first premiered during the Obama administration, it was touted as being one of the most accurate representations of DC politics on television. It wasn’t the hopeful, liberal fantasy of The West Wing and it wasn’t nearly as sinister as House Of Cards, but rather focused on bumbling, occasionally amoral career politicians and their ceaseless ambition to rule. Things changed, however, with the election of Donald Trump. Suddenly, the politics of the real world became more vindictive and petty than anything showrunners Armando Ianucci and David Mandel had ever put to page. A new video from The Take examines how the show evolved to both reflect and satirize this newfound depravity.
(Spoilers for the final season of Veep.)
Some parallels to the real world are patently obvious. Jonah Ryan’s ascendency as a populist, anti-intellectual politician is meant to mirror Trump himself, while Selina Meyers’ ruthless pragmatism and jaded second-wave feminism has always had echoes of Hillary Clinton. It’s how these two characters ultimately come together, however, that shows Veep’s real satirical bite. As The Take notes, the fact that Selina invites Jonah to be her Vice President “perhaps can be read as a subtle suggestion that establishment liberals are more complicit in bringing about the phenomenon of Trump than they’d like to think.”
In the end, Veep took its characters to the extreme end of their inevitable evolutions in order to show that what was considered laughable during the Obama administration should be genuinely feared in the age of Trump.
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