It’s said that the second term for a politician tends to run much smoother than the first, and that can only bode well for the already popular show Veep — which returns Sunday at 10pm ET for a second season on HBO.
Political shows have been a tough sell to viewers since The West Wing dominated the ratings many years ago, as witnessed by the canceled USA series Political Animals and the now-struggling NBC sitcom 1600 Penn. Veep, however, hit all the right buttons in its initial campaign for a number of reasons.
First, it cast the brilliant Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose rare ability to disappear into whatever role she plays was acknowledged with an Emmy Award last year for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for Veep. While many of her former Seinfeld cast members have struggled to adapt due to being typecast as their former characters, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been able to reinvent herself time and time again.
Second, Veep focuses on the office of the vice president, which lends itself to many funny storylines due to its second-banana status to the most powerful and prestigious job in the country.
“Let me put it this way, I really don’t think anybody who finds themselves as vice president started their political career thinking, ‘One day I will be vice president,’” Julia Louis-Dreyfus told Channel Guide Magazine in a previous interview.
Veep Season 2 opens with the mid-term elections approaching and Vice President Selina Meyer faring better than the POTUS in several popularity polls. While she hopes that will curry her more respect at the White House, viewers of the show know that Meyer will somehow find a way to muck things up. Louis-Dreyfus explained to us that politicians are human and just as susceptible to mistakes as the rest of us.
“We put these folks up on pedestals or we look down on them with disdain, but in reality they’re just people like we are who are for the most part trying to do the best they can,” she said. “So we’re trying to bring a kind of humanity to playing these people and depicting the world of Washington. It’s about political behavior.”
Much like Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfus realizes that having a great ensemble cast is a must on a hit show — and she certainly has that with Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, Timothy C. Simons and Sufe Bradshaw. Joining in on the fun this season will be guest stars Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn and Jessica St. Clair.
Now we just need to come up with a song for the vice president that rivals “Hail to the Chief.”
Veep Season 2 airs Sundays at 10pm ET/PT on HBO beginning April 14.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep Season 2: Lacey Terrell/HBO