HBO's first season of Veep, an R-rated answer to The West Wing, is out on DVD Tuesday, giving potential fans three weeks to catch up on the eight hilarious episodes before the season two premiere April 14. Showrunner Armando Ianucci has created a fine piece of television, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is as funny as ever in her Emmy-winning role as Vice President Selina Meyer. There are a lot of things to like about this show, so here are the top reasons to check it out before season two drops.
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus Drops a Great F-Bomb
No one can do it better than Al Pacino, no one, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus makes excellent use of HBO's four-letter-word freedom in Veep. Watching Vice President Meyer's struggle to maintain the composure expected of her office, as well as the domesticity of a lady in a society dominated by old-money patriarchs, makes her private outbursts all the sweeter. Add the fact that Louis-Dreyfus has spent the majority of her career on the largely cuss-less major network primetime circuit, and it's a bit that doesn't get old fast.
2. Chain Of Burn Command
Seasoned character actor, Matt Walsh, plays communications director Mike McLintock. When he's not putting out fires, he's dishing severe burns to his new deputy played by Reid Scott. Scott in turn lights up the vice president's ineffectual and eccentric body-man, Gary, portrayed expertly by Tony Hale. Everyone dumps on White House liaison Jonah Ryan, who only makes it worse for himself when he tries to fire back. Inventive insults are always flying, and many of them are refreshingly vicious. My personal favorite is “Gold-plated shit-gibbon.” Zing!
3. Tony Hale
Did I mention that Tony Hale is on this show? In his finest role since Arrested Development, Hale displays all of the awkward charm and hilarity that made Buster Bluth such a memorable character. I particularly love his ability to play the straight man and absorb the most devastating tirades with comedic aplomb. He manages to keep even completely uncalled for outbursts on the hilarious side of crazy by being the ultimate punching bag. If you just can't wait for Arrested Development season four, Veep is undoubtedly your best source for Tony Hale.
4. It's Just the Right Length
Unlike some other HBO shows that come highly recommended, (The Wire, Game of Thrones) Veep is not an hour-long investment for dozens of episodes. Still, you get a healthy dose of action in each episode due to the 30-minute run time. HBO's unconventional episode length is part of what made Curb Your Enthusiasm so enjoyable, and it serves Ianucci's creation well. The 22-minute standard of current network television is too short, and shows like The Big Bang Theory seem to end out of nowhere. Veep flies directly in the face of this trend with extended scenes even as the credits roll, making for a full half-hour of entertainment.
5. It's the Good Kind Of Predictable
Veep doesn't seek to reinvent the comedy genre, and succeeds for it. It has a certain amount of predictability, but mainly because the characters are internally consistent and don't just do crazy things. There is a certain sitcom vibe at times, but sitcoms are funny, aren't they? Not every show needs to be like Community or 30 Rock in order to be worthwhile. Veep won't push any envelopes, but it will make you laugh.