What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that strong language is the biggest concern in the HBO comedy series VEEP, with "f--k" (and every imaginable variation of it), "bitch," "t-t," "s--t," and "dick" being the major offenders in the anything-goes dialogue. Sex and drinking are lesser concerns but do arise, though more as conversation points than anything else. Clearly this content isn't appropriate for most teens, who probably won't fully appreciate its satirical take on the political process as a whole anyway. But for adults, it's a scathing, laugh-out-loud glimpse at what might go on in one of the most questionably effective political offices in the country.
What's the story?
Veep is a satirical comedy that centers on Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a former senator with aspirations for the presidency who's instead recently ensconced in the office of vice president. Neither she nor her lackluster staff is particularly thrilled with the position, since the impressive title belies surprisingly little influence. Bent on pushing through a few pet projects to make a name for herself, Selina must constantly temper her surging frustration with her staff, including her snarky chief of staff, Amy (Anna Chlumsky); her loyal right-hand man, Gary (Tony Hale); and the ambitious newcomer, Dan (Reid Scott). Oh, and it might help if she could get the president to return her calls, too.
Is it any good?
She's no commander in chief, but Louis-Dreyfus takes command of this role as the harried, cynical Selina, who might find the time to actually study the issues if only she could get her staff to stop arguing and get something accomplished. But even the seemingly bulletproof choice of promoting biodegradable spoons can devolve into a media frenzy when you're dealing with special-interest groups, power-hungry politicians, and jockeying operatives. To say there's a wealth of possible material for this political comedy to exploit is an understatement, and with Louis-Dreyfus at the helm, and a stellar cast and razor-sharp writing backing her, nothing is safe.
Veep leans more toward The Office than it does The West Wing, and there's little care given to political correctness or even an accurate representation of the legislative process itself. You won't walk away feeling confident about the goings-on behind the political doors, but it's fair to say that this might be a reflection of the current real-life state of affairs the show parodies. Ultimately this isn't a good choice for teens because of the copious cursing, but it's bound to find a receptive audience among grown-ups, since the coworkers' outrageous banter and ongoing head-butting with their common enemies isn't a stretch from generic office politics either.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about politics. In what ways does this series reflect citizens' impressions of the shape of the current U.S. political system? Is it fair to take such liberal jabs at a system that's not entirely transparent? Do you think real politicians would find its commentary amusing?
Language is the main reason this series has a "TV-MA" rating. Do you think the profuse cursing is necessary in the show? How might its absence change the show's tone? Do you think the language simply goes hand-in-hand with content that's best understood by adults?
How are powerful women generally portrayed on TV and in movies? Does Selina uphold or break any stereotypes? What messages does her characterization send about women in politics?