Matt Smith reviews the second episode of Veep season three…
With last week’s episode of Veep getting things running as fast as it could while maintaining the positives of the show’s tone, it was the turn of this second episode to let the one liners fly and push on as Selina Meyer continues on her way to running for President.
Unfortunately, this week was merely dedicated to showing the negatives of the show’s tone. While the first episode was plot-heavy, it had to be to reintroduce the situation to viewers. It had some funny moments, and every so often cut back to Selina sitting in a hotel room with Ben Cafferty, showing Selina and the show itself could be relaxed and laid back when it came to its criticisms of American politics.
This week showed the cynical side to Veep, presenting barely a funny line nor look, while giving us a bunch of intolerable idiots running round and saying things quickly.
The plot for this second episode concerned abortion in politics and where Selina Meyer stood. POTUS came out and proudly announced where he stood, which along with other candidates making announcements, made Selina paranoid. She had to decide whether she was pro-choice, pro-life or just wanted to say nothing. Which was what she was saying all the time it took her to deliberate before going on Good Morning America.
Veep has had the difficulty of separating itself from its sibling The Thick Of It while at the same time maintaining the same principles. Taking politics from the chosen nation and dismantling it all in a wave of hilarious satire that couldn’t be touched. Along the way everyone is shown to be a hypocrite. But in The Thick Of It, when the jokes made way for the dramatic moments (such as spin doctor Malcolm Tucker being arrested or Glenn Cullen’s breakdown), the investment in the characters meant we cared about those moments. Even though Tucker was a detestable character, we still saw his side to things. It may have been just spin, but he made the argument that you couldn’t get anywhere in politics without someone like him giving up his life to the party.
Meanwhile, in Veep, everyone seems kind of sad, besides Mike on his honeymoon. This may be how politics is, but the second episode of Veep was not a comedy. It was a great look at how self-serving and self-destructive American politics can be, but this show needs to decide on its identity. If it is indeed a quasi-drama based on what politics is really like, then applause is warranted. With Jonah’s interview on MSNBC truly summing up what abortion is in politics, it could be a series that relies on deadpan to deliver what politics really is. But so far it’s been marketed as a comedy and this week Veep truly falls down, top heavy with its concerns to showing political realism.