Does the need for jokes really outweigh the need for characters? I ask because the entire appeal of “VEEP” seems to be about nothing more than political officials spouting obscenities behind closed doors. Sure, that can be funny for a while, but after a few minutes the jokes gets old real fast. At that point you start looking for any likable characters you can latch onto that are not just vehicles for stupidity. Except once you start looking for something outside the crass humor and mean-spirited nature, there’s just nothing there.
Julia Louis-Dreyful once again plays the vice president who ends up being thrown into uncomfortable political situations. Some times they’re unavoidable and some times she walks right into them without any foresight. Her tactical team is just as inept and dumbfounded at both making smart tactical decision and generating a proper public image. Their angry frustration is mildly warranted by how the vice president just doesn’t take her job that seriously or stumbles into traps. At one point she ends up talking about Middle Eastern politics at a pig roast with a skewered hog directly behind her. Most political figures wouldn’t be able to recover so easily from such a fiasco, but the veep manages to come out of every disaster with few scratches. It sounds like her team works a miracle for this to happen, but it’s really just an unexplained miracle of wiping the slate clean for another troublesome scenario.
I kept trying to find something likable about any of these characters to make me route for them, but there is just nothing to them. Every single one if manipulative and only in the political game for their own gains. Most of these characters hardly bat an eye if given the opportunity to run for a higher office if they can sell out the vice president. And the vice president isn’t all that likable either given her awful mistakes, berating of her staff, constantly cussing and making some rather awful assumptions. There is nobody in this show to root for at all. In the season finale, it looks as though the vice president has a shot at being the actual president. Honestly, who cares about that if all the characters are vile messes? The only way these scripts could have been entertaining is if these characters got their just desserts in the end, but, again, they all come out of these incidents with flying colors. So, once again, who cares about them?
You can have a show with deeply flawed main characters that happen to be antagonists. Just look at “House of Cards”, “Breaking Bad” and “Archer”. However, those shows managed to be enjoyable simply for how well their little schemes were executed and the layered nature of their characters. “VEEP” has none of that; just jokes. Yeah, I laughed once or twice, but that was between long stretches of being bored and tired of the venom these characters spit at each other. It’s much more like “The Office” where it appears more focused on telling a real good joke no matter how out of place or inappropriate it appears for a story.