Top positive review
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"Did The President call?" "Actually, he did."
on 19 February 2014
In my review of series one, I surmised that Veep was less hard-hitting than The Thick Of It, the UK series it was based on. So I was pleased to find that just as the UK series evolved & sharpened its satirical teeth as it went on, so has Veep. Series 2 gets more political & while the self-serving nature of some of the Vice-President's more pathologically career-oriented staff remains a source of comedy, it's now also shown as something more distasteful. This is due to members of her team alternating between supporting Selina to the hilt & schmoozing her political opponents in order to find a new job, depending on her current position in the ever-shifting political landscape. Conversely, Selina proves to be just as self-serving herself...
Like all Vice-Presidents real or imagined, Selina complains that she doesn't have an active enough role. But she quickly learns to be careful what she wishes for when the President gives her some measure of responsibility in Foreign Policy. This grants Iannucci greater scope to put her in awkward situations, such as an embarrassing encounter with the Finnish Prime Minister, deftly played by Sally Phillips ("Europe used to be my favourite continent," says Selina. "Now it's not even in the top five").
There are also events inspired by real-life news stories, like Selina overseeing a military operation & later having to choose an official photograph of the ops room - like the iconic one of Obama & his staff watching the killing of Bin Laden. Except the one which shows her best side also makes POTUS look "jowley"... And there's some fun moments between the characters too, like Selina forgetting on a lifestyle TV show that her daughter is vegetarian & coercing her to eat some chicken to cover up the mistake. Meanwhile Danny & Mike follow Jonah (now AKA 'Jonad') because "it's as pointless as everything else we do".
Like the previous series, the pace is sometimes bewildering & on occasion my lack of familiarity with the USA's political system initially left me confused. Yet as with series one & The Thick Of It before it, I found these elements give the series a high re-watchability factor which led to me enjoying it just as much the second time around. It's also nice to see a few of the American actors from In The Loop turn up in new roles as the ensemble of characters increases. And there's still bucket-loads of swearing & creative insults, which have never bothered me personally but are inevitably not everyones' cup of 'cawfee'.
Series 1 was good - series 2 is great. There's more of what I liked about series 1, coupled with some interesting developments & situations. Highly recommended.