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TV Series Review

Dan Quayle summed up the most important duties of being the vice president of the United States in two words: Be prepared.

Selina Meyer, also a former vice president, would likely add a few more adjectives to the motto … but we can't print any of them here.

Selina, once the titular veep in HBO's Veep (and currently the president, even though HBO shows no signs of renaming the show Prez), has built her political career on the three p's: patriotism, panic and profanity. Her language might make LBJ blush. She uses the f-word more than the entire crew of the USS Kennedy. After one unremarkable staff meeting, Selina instructs her video cam-carrying daughter, Catherine, to "not use any of the vulgar parts" in the documentary she's working on.

"But that's, like, all of it, Mom!" Catherine says.

And indeed it is.

Hail to the Bleep

Selina wasn't always in a position to shock the Oval Office staff with her language. She was once a lowly senator from Maryland who was plucked out of relative obscurity to serve as the vice president for Stuart Hughes. She was just a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Or, as it turns out, a nice, juicy scandal. After Stuart’s ignominious fall from grace, she struck “vice” from her title and was able to launch a scandal or two of her own before she, in turn got kicked to the Beltway curb.

But abject failure can’t keep a woman from dreaming, can it? Selina longs to make her triumphant return, to serve the great citizens of this great country—no matter how many of them she has to squash to do it.

Of course, she’s never lurked in those halls of semi-power alone. Oft-overlooked, sometime abused Amy Brookheimer is Selina's right-hand woman—the ballast that helps keep Selina's often wayward vessel from capsizing. Gary Walsh serves as a devoted (if somewhat clingy) personal aide, always ready with a tissue to wipe Selina's nose and a trash can for her to throw it in. (The tissue, not the nose.) Ben Cafferty works as her campaign manager and gruff yes-man. And I shouldn't forget to mention Dan or Jonah or Kent or Marjorie or … well, let's just say that keeping this politician functioning and focused is a big job.

Pull the Lever

Veep is an over-the-top satire of the country's inner political workings—like Netflix's House of Cards. Only instead of politicians killing off their political rivals, here they accidentally send them dirty pictures.

The show has, over its run, become one of television's most lauded comedies. Star Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won six straight Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy (2012-2017) to become the award’s most awarded awardee in history, and the show took home Best Comedy Series in 2015.

None of those laurels, though, can obscure tawdry underpinnings or block out sky-high levels of profanity. This is, after all, an HBO show, and for whatever reason, the Home Box Office channel has never outgrown the juvenile thrill of goading would-be watchdogs (like me) with oodles of out-there content. Veep is far from a civics lesson. It's not even, really, civil—and I suppose that's the point.

While politics has always been a pretty down-and-dirty game, many pundits still wonder how we got to this point. How did we—a nation founded under some of the loftiest ideals set to paper, a nation created by the likes of Washington and Jefferson and Franklin, and preserved, over time, by Lincoln and Roosevelt—get to this point? Why does our political system look more like a television show these days?

Could it be that television has taught us to expect it?

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

March 31, 2019: "Iowa"
Veep: May 8, 2016 "Nev-ah-da"



Readability Age Range





Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer; Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer; Tony Hale as Gary Walsh; Reid Scott as Dan Egan; Timothy Simons as Jonah Ryan; Matt Walsh as Mike McLintock; Sufe Bradshaw as Sue Wilson; Gary Cole as Kent Davison; Kevin Dunn as Ben Cafferty; Sam Richardson as Richard Splett; John Slattery as Charlie Baird; Martin Mull as Bob Bradley






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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