Veep, season 4, episode one - TV review: With such brilliant performances, who could vote against this?

This is without doubt one of the most consistently excellent comedies on TV

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The Independent Culture

Maiden speeches don’t have to be a big deal – look at the SNP’s Mhairi Black.

In the season four premiere of Veep however, Selina Meyer’s first – and possibly last - joint session address to Congress is everything, reducing international incident briefings to bullet points delivered by the glorified work experience dogsbody.

“Yeah, because I'm the President. Everything's my fault now,” POTUS (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) sasses to herself, resisting the urge to throw in a self high-five, after being informed a US warship has smashed into a Greek fishing boat.

Vanity aside, Selina’s political expediency does at least bend more to her good intentions rather than self-preservation, even if her entourage remain grounded in the grubby realities of the ongoing battle for the White House – and how her Families First bill could sink her chances of being the Prez, proper.

 

Faced with helping poor working mothers or making cuts to spending elsewhere, pollster Kent Davison (Gary Cole) reasons: “But they only ever vote with their phones. Usually for other poor young moms who can't sing.”

“You can absolutely do two contradictory things at once. For example, I love my mother. But I had to put her in a home and it's actually better for her if I don't visit,” Selina attempts to convince herself as dipping into the military’s budget is broached.

Remarkably, the Joint Chiefs of Staff offer up fifty billion dollars of funding for an outdated Cold War submarine program as solution to avoid having their c**** cut off to spite their thumbs – an impressive sum Selina intends to wow Congress with.

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Sarah Sutherland as Catherine (HBO)

But by the time Congressman Roger Furlong (Dan Bakkedahl) has threatened her staff over the implications of junking the subs scheme will have on local economies that produce parts, Selina has already pressed the flesh and is in position to spout forth from her teleprompter. To make it worse, faithful bag man Gary Walsh (Tony Hale) has her glasses.

Even with her people flapping to make a swathe of real-time changes and Selina managing to convert stalling and blagging into believable rhetoric - or “Bebop speaking” according to Dan Egan (Reid Scott), to which Kent replies: “I detest jazz. But this is impressive” – the farce seems a little dialled down, but remains wickedly funny. Of course, the revisions are cocked up and an increase of an additional ten billion is given the thumbs up.

“This speech was supposed to perfectly define my Presidency. Whole cities of children were going to be saved from poverty. Instead now that money is going to fund obsolete, metal, giant dildos,” Selina seethes, in another stupendous performance from Louis-Dreyfuss.

Without doubt one of the most consistently excellent comedies on TV, ‘West Wing wiretap’ Jonah Ryan’s (Timothy Simons) laugh-free sexual harassment by the new Veep’s enforcer Teddy Sykes (Patton Oswalt) strikes an odd note. But with such brilliant writing, direction and performances, who could vote against Veep?

Veep airs on Sky Atlantic, Wednedays, at 10.10pm

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