HBO's winning 'Veep' delivers a landslide of laughs

Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars in new comedy series, which premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday.
BY JOHN CROOK Published: April 20, 2012
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If you hold the opinion, as many of us do these days, that Washington, D.C., apparently is a combination of lunatic asylum and day care center for petulant infants, HBO's new comedy series “Veep,” which premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, probably won't change your mind. It just may relieve your frustration with some healthy laughter, however.

The political sitcom, which marks the welcome return of Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus to series television, views events in the nation's capital from the perspective of former Sen. Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus), a career politician who seemed to be on the fast track to the White House until she was elected vice president. Since then, her political life has become a series of comic missteps in which even her best-intentioned efforts get lost in a maze of red tape and personal politics.

In the first episode, for example, Selina is hopeful that her clean-jobs bill is sailing toward an easy approval, thanks in part to a revolutionary new line of eating utensils made from cornstarch. Unfortunately, someone forgot that cornstarch has a tendency to melt in hot liquids, and worse, the new disposable cutlery is threatening to alienate the plastics industry. And far worse yet, where does plastic come from again? Oil.

Uh-oh.

Although HBO is the home of “Real Time With Bill Maher” and such right wing-riling original movies as “Recount” and “Game Change,” “Veep” is refreshingly nonpartisan in the glee with which it picks its targets, largely because neither Selina nor any of her Washington colleagues are clearly identified by their political party. Series creator Armando Iannucci previously had similar bipartisan fun in his Oscar-nominated 2009 political comedy “In the Loop,” and Louis-Dreyfus says the show can be enjoyed by viewers regardless of their personal politics.