Veep adjusts to life after The White House seamlessly, even if Selina Meyer refuses to

Gregory Wakeman
[Image by HBO]

Much has changed since ‘Veep’s’ final episode of its fifth season aired. Not just in the real world of politics, too, because the sight of Selina Meyer trudging out of The White House, Laura Montez stepping in as her replacement, and the rest of ‘Veep’s’ political posse seemingly going their separate ways suggested that the show’s sixth season would be more of a fond farewell rather than the start of a prolonged batch of new seasons.

It was hard to imagine how Selina Meyer and her troupe would all be brought back into the fold without it seeming forced and contrived. So it speaks volumes of Omaha, ‘Veep’s’ opening episode of its sixth season, that the show manages to bring us up to speed with the core brunt of the cast, be just as outrageous and hilarious as we expect, while teasing exactly how the show will remain relevant and move forward beyond its illustrious past.

As per usual it’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus that manages to make ‘Veep’ not just tick, but stand above the rest of the comedic crowd like a man on stilts competing against a group of toddlers in the pole-vault. By this point Dreyfus is so in sync with the character that every little grimace, stare, cough, and forced smile is so perfectly pitched that it doesn’t just create a laugh where one wasn’t even present, but it also allows an extra window into the character, too.

Especially because Omaha finds Selina Meyer in a rather dark place. It has been a year since the election, and Selina has decided to make her first public appearance since her defeat on ‘CBS This Morning’, which just so happens to now be co-hosted by Dan Egan (Reid Scott). After plugging her memoir, which she’s actually six months behind on, Selina announces her foundation: The Meyer Fund For Adult Literacy. Recognising that it is lacking a certain je ne sais quoi Selina Meyer suddenly throws AIDS into the mix live on television, too.

After the show we learn that Selina’s entourage now just consists of Gary (Tony Hale) and Richard, her offices are located in a particularly harrowing part of South Bronx, while she also has no choice but to live off an allowance from her daughter Catherine (Sarah Sutherland), since she was the sole beneficiary of Selina’s mother’s fortune. But all of this is just a brief set-back in the eyes of Selina Meyer, because she’s priming herself for another run at the presidency.

That’s why she is so adamant about finding a speaking engagement in Omaha, because this would allow her to drive to the nearby Madison Monroe dinner, which is where you go “if you’re gonna run for president again.” But after running her presidential plans by her family and friends, Selina is reminded that she doesn’t have the support both politically and at home to make a run for office. Selina still boards the commercial plane to Omaha, where the tight and sticky conditions act as a firm reminder of how much she has fallen.

What about the rest of the gang, though? Amy (Anna Chlumsky) is engaged to Nevada state governor hopeful Buddy Calhoun, whose campaign she is running in an overly aggressive manner. Ben (Kevin Dunn) is working and making racist jokes at Uber, Mike (Matt Walsh) is at home looking after his three kids, one of which is definitely older and sassier than he’d hoped for, and helping Selina with her memoir, while Rep. Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons) is pretending to still be bald after his cancer treatment was successful, and with the support of Kent (Gary Cole) is petitioning against healthy school lunches. Jonah even follows Selina onto ‘CBS This Morning’, where Dan learns of his trickery and forces him into an enraged response live on-air.

But while Omaha seamlessly continued ‘Veep’s’ run of stellar episodes, and possessed a dark edge and depression to its characters and their put-downs that was even more caustic than usual, this scene suggested precisely why it may have to go to new heights in order to compensate for the current political climate. Before the recent Presidential election, Jonah storming out of his interview would have been regarded as hysterical but unrealistic. However, considering the press conferences, statements, actions, and responses of the current US regime it actually felt a little low-key.

Reuniting with the cast of characters, and hearing its ornate and borderline poetic profanity again, meant that Omaha still possessed the edge and humour that sets ‘Veep’ apart from every other show on television. But since there’s a new big-bad wolf in town, there’s a chance that it might need to sharpen its claws even further in order to eclipse the satire that has depressingly crossed over into modern-day politics.

Funniest Lines

  • Ben saying that people who use Uber are just “too lazy to learn how to drink drive.”
  • Selina on her South Bronx office: “The worst place they’ve ever stuffed a president, and I’m including JFK’s coffin.”
  • Selina:On the Anni-f*****g-versary of the historic House vote. I feel like we’re celebrating my frat house gang rape.”