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Veep: Elaine Benes Is a Heartbeat Away from the Presidency!


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#31

toogoodtobetrue

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:35 AM

It was way too busy to be funny. Hope it improves. I expected better.
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#32

Scrb

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:35 AM

Yeah no real story arcs yet to sink your teeth into yet.

I don't think they claim this is a realistic look at the inner workings of Washington.

The UK guy is known for sending up politicians over there so is he claiming any insight into American politics? Doesn't seem likely.
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#33

tacitus

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 3:29 AM

I was a huge fan of "The Thick of It" -- the precursor BBC show "The Veep" is modeled on -- and I think they did a very good job of translating the show to Washington. The original show was centered on one of the lesser government departments getting into various messes and having to bail themselves out (or get bailed out) and using the VP's office as the focal point of this show works very nicely.

The acting was excellent and the script races along -- you have to pay attention if you want to catch all the jokes -- and it's very profane -- but that's Armando Iannucci for you.

It might not be terribly realistic, but I bet the staffers working on the Hill will find plenty to laugh about all the same.
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#34

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 6:57 AM

I'm looking forward to some backstory about how the Veep was picked in the first place and how she originally met her staff.
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#35

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 7:14 AM

I really liked it. Great cast, great jokes. I'll be watching again.
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#36

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:43 AM

I liked it. Sure, it wasn't laugh out loud funny the entire time. But "Glasses are like wheelchairs for eyes" cracked me up; there were a couple other things that made me chuckle. The cast is great (I love JLD and am always happy to look at Reid Scott).

Jonah kinda reminded me of a dorky Jean Ralphio, and Gary was kinda like a more competent Buster. I'll be surprised if Amy and Dan don't hook up.
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#37

Rickster

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:02 AM

It was way too busy to be funny.


I sort of agree. I thought it was funny for the first 5 minutes, but then got tedious. I also refuse to believe that everyone in Washington curses like Rahm Emanuel all the time.

Edited by Rickster, Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:02 AM.

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#38

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:15 AM

I agree that it seems rather frenetic, but that's probably the realistic part. I think this show could end up being very, very good with some growth and fine tuning. I like JLD and I think she looks the part, but there were an awful lot of Benes-isms there. (Every time she got really angry it looked like she was doing the Benes dance)

I predict that Sue (that's the secretary right?) will be my favorite. However, I am getting tire of the token non-Caucasian being the secretary (Sue, Lloyd from entourage, Dawn on Mad Men)
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#39

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:50 AM

Cute pilot. I have little interest in politics (I lost interest in "West Wing" after season 1) but I liked the characters and sarcasm. I'll keep watching for now.
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#40

bulldawgtownie

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:47 AM

The UK guy is known for sending up politicians over there so is he claiming any insight into American politics? Doesn't seem likely.

From what I remember from the "Making of" he seems to believe that politics is pretty universal, so no specific insights but we'll be able to laugh at the same themes.

I thought the pilot was what I thought it was going to be, not hilarious but chuckle-worthy. I expect it to improve somewhat once everyone gets their footing as pilots tend to be shaky.
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#41

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:53 AM

Pencil-fucked means what, that most of the speech had words or phrases stricken?

Or a sex reference given the "front and back, no romance" follow through?
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#42

noregrets

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:57 AM

Yikes! That episode got all those good reviews? The scene where Elaine was losing her cool and trying not to raise her voice while "the retard spokesman" was in her office was amusing, but that was about the only amusing thing.

I'll give it a couple more episodes to find some footing, but it's definitely not off to a strong start.
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#43

Candy Moocher

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:38 AM

I thought it was pretty awful. I can tell when a show is trying too hard to be perceived in a certain way, and this reeked of tryhard. I'll give it a couple more episodes but it was so boring, I may not make it.
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#44

Joimiaroxeu

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:48 AM

VP to Dan: "Is there anything you can't do?"
Amy: "Foreplay. Direct sunlight."

Heh. Dan's characterized in three simple words as a self-centered political vampire. I like the writing of the dialogue on this show. It's an interesting counterpoint to the other new political show with a female star, Scandal, which tries to copy Aaron Sorkin's too-smart-for-the-room style and usually comes up short.

A condolence card group-signed like a yearbook? Tacky even if it was just the POTUS and the VPOTUS. They should each send their own condolence card although I guess there was some political "ickiness" attached to this particular expression of sympathy given that the departed was apparently a sleazebag. Probably doing it this way allowed the POTUS to distance himself a bit.

Sue the admin assistant, like her but that was a either a bad wig or hastily-done weave. Hope she got that worked out once they got past the pilot.

Yeah, use of the word "retard" is politically incorrect and offensive to some people but "hoist on your own retard" is a clever turn of phrase. Someone upthread mentioned Larry David; retard/petard was very LD-esque, in a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" sort of way. Too bad they couldn't have found another word that could be mispronounced to rhyme with petard.

It'd be great if they could get JLD's old Seinfeld pals to do cameos. They're all older now and could easily pass for DC-weary political veterans. I'm looking forward to seeing how this show develops.
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#45

bulldawgtownie

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:15 PM

Pencil-fucked means what, that most of the speech had words or phrases stricken?

Yep.

A condolence card group-signed like a yearbook? Tacky even if it was just the POTUS and the VPOTUS. They should each send their own condolence card although I guess there was some political "ickiness" attached to this particular expression of sympathy given that the departed was apparently a sleazebag. Probably doing it this way allowed the POTUS to distance himself a bit

The card was then going to be signed by every member of congress which is why just one card works better. And as I understand it that's true to life although the instance I'm thinking of is with a birthday and not someone's passing.
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#46

Subjunctive

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:24 PM

I was a huge fan of "The Thick of It" -- the precursor BBC show "The Veep" is modeled on -- and I think they did a very good job of translating the show to Washington. The original show was centered on one of the lesser government departments getting into various messes and having to bail themselves out (or get bailed out) and using the VP's office as the focal point of this show works very nicely.

I would also add that the alternate reality movie version of The Thick of It, In the Loop, which was nominated for a best screenplay Oscar two(?) years ago, was also a kind of a bridge between UK and US politics.

I loved this, but I'm a big Armando Iannucci fan. I think it's because I have an affinity for the philosophy that seems to me buried in his shows, that bad things result from people being self-centered idiots much more than from them being evil.

I am missing a Malcolm Tucker, brilliant bastard type character, though. I understand why Iannucci wouldn't want to repeat Thick of It's set up and characters exactly, but I need a character to be in awe of for his or her political moves and swearing ability. It looks like Dan might be a baby brilliant bastard, but it's hard to tell yet.

If anyone is curious about Thick of It, BBCAmerica is finally going to show season 3. I don't think they ever ran the two episodes of season 2.
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#47

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:30 PM

HBO had a Washington insider show with Carville and Matalin playing themselves but with fictionalized stories. That didn't last long.

I guess that was probably a more accurate depiction of Washington while Veep is suppose to be a certain take on Washington, used to extract some comedy and one-liners.
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#48

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:31 PM

The UK guy is known for sending up politicians over there so is he claiming any insight into American politics? Doesn't seem likely.


He is actually very well educated in American politics and history and spends a lot of time with politicians here. I would guess he knows more than many Americans do.
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#49

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:37 PM

We were less than ten minutes in & my boyfriend said it reminded him of the movie we saw a couple of years ago about politics with the guy from Sopranos as a general. He had no idea Iannucci was involved in Veep, but obviously his tone is striking.

I think another hallmark is the incredibly tall gorky guy, like the actor from In The Loop who now plays Gabe on The Office & now someone from Veep who could have been in the same casting call.

I loved Thick of It so much, so I had high expectations. I would like to see a Malcolm character, but so far I'm really pleased with JLD's performance. Her hairdo on the other hand...

The Carville/Matalin HBO series was K Street - George Clooney was producer/director I think. I fell asleep to that nearly every week when it was on.
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#50

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 1:58 PM

New Yorker article linked earlier refers to K Street and other political shows HBO had considered.



There was also a show that this guy was developing, about rich web startup guys, that they had dropped. But with the success of the Social Network, they're bringing it back.
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#51

RoxyMonoxide

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 2:54 PM

I thought it was pretty danged funny myself. Something about the inherent redundancy of her position juxtaposed with the seriousness with which she persued something as stupid as utensils made of corn starch and the repercussions of mishandling it cracked me up.
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#52

ganesh

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 7:02 PM

This was pretty good for a first episode. Most shows don't fly out of the gate as it is, but this looks like it could be a pretty funny show. There were some good moments [the whole shit book monologue was delivered really well.] Lots of little things I liked: poor Tony Hale having to constantly fetch coffee that the VP never drinks. Also very clever of him to write on the coffee cup.

I liked that once she went off the cuff with the speech that she was actually doing pretty well, but then started to try just *too* hard and delivered the retard line. I don't know if they were making a subtle point that politicians need to loosen up a little and that having every word managed makes them too stiff. I could totally see there being a huge fallout if someone used retard for real, and I liked how twitter and blogs were worked into the story.

I actually like that most scenes are walking. I would figure that most of the politicians' days are filled with going from here to there and having to constantly catch up on the way. I can buy that they curse a lot too. With every public syllable being recorded and played somewhere and analyzed to death, I figure in private they need to let loose.

I'd be interested if they do a little backstory on how the VP was selected. They made a few references to her campaign prior to that.

I thought it was pretty danged funny myself. Something about the inherent redundancy of her position juxtaposed with the seriousness with which she persued something as stupid as utensils made of corn starch and the repercussions of mishandling it cracked me up.

Something as innocuous as this was threatening the oil industry! You don't want to be fucked by an oil man. They fuck in an unpleasant way. Not to mention the spoon practically disintegrated in the coffee cup.

Edited by ganesh, Apr 23, 2012 @ 7:04 PM.

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#53

Joimiaroxeu

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 7:34 PM

The card was then going to be signed by every member of congress which is why just one card works better. And as I understand it that's true to life although the instance I'm thinking of is with a birthday and not someone's passing.

Okay, I missed the part where the entire Congress was going to sign it (wouldn't they need a much bigger card?) but IMO it's still tacky to put an expression of condolences on the same level as happy birthday greetings or congratulations for a new baby or job. The card should just be signed something like "From your friends and associates at the U.S. Congress" and the POTUS and VPOTUS should have sent individual cards. Closer friends of the departed would still have the option of extending more personal thoughts on their own. I don't know what Emily Post or Miss Manners would have to say about it but I think it's in bad taste to express condolences in such a casual way. But then again, this show all for yucks, so...

I liked how twitter and blogs were worked into the story

The twitter reference works now but it's probably going to make the reruns seem dated in a few years when everyone's moved onto the next big thing. The writers should be careful about that. Meanwhile, on a shallower note, JLD's clothes were fabulous. I actually think she looks better now than she did as Elaine.
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#54

dustdevil

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 7:55 PM

I'm really pleased with JLD's performance. Her hairdo on the other hand...

The New Yorker story mentioned that she wears a wig, to cut down on styling time.
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#55

LADreamr

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:02 PM

Armando Iannucci had a live chat on HBO.com today and said that the response from people in DC has been very heartening to him and that they seemed to support how accurate it was. He also said that - and I'm not sure this is really spoiler-ish, but just in case -
Spoiler

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#56

braggtastic

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:19 PM

The New Yorker story mentioned that she wears a wig, to cut down on styling time.

Well, it shows. JLD's hair has always been gorgeous, even when it was huge in the early Elaine years. Her Veep hairstyle looks like a lot of the wigs I see on Orthodox women.
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#57

Bunny LaJoya

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:39 PM

[the whole shit book monologue was delivered really well.]


I thought Chlumsky's was the weakest character. She's awful and unlikeable, and I found nothing she said funny. Just a bunch of words strung together that writers think should be funny, but just weren't, for me. There was no warmth or humanity to her eyes like there were for the other characters.
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#58

peeayebee

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:52 PM

I liked it, particularly for the dialog -- I loved the insults and sarcasm. Cracked me up when one guy -- sorry, don't know the characters' names yet -- called Jonah(?) "My Left Foot" and Doogie Houser, or something along those lines... AND Jonah didn't understand either reference.
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#59

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:12 PM

Smartest comedy I've seen in a long time, and there are some smart ones around.
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#60

braggtastic

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:17 PM

called Jonah(?) "My Left Foot" and Doogie Houser

I just watched 50/50 over the weekend, and the main character called his 24 year old therapist Doogie Howser and she didn't get the reference either.

Edited by braggtastic, Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:20 PM.

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