I feel like I’m not alone in denial/despair that HBO’s Veep is ending. This is a show with no likeable characters, with the exception of a few standouts (heart eye emoji to Richard Splett) and Veep has made this season all about characters and consequences, often seeing them being paid back for years of what we have laughed at - from lies, deceit, deep insults, to murder. Week by week leading up to a totally tragic episode 5 that sacrificed Andrew, the show began the process of breaking open each of the characters, and last Sunday’s episode showed us the effects.
Trying to encapsulate my feelings about Veep is as complicated and almost as chaotic as the insults the characters have been exchanging for the past 7 years. I’m jealous of anyone who hasn’t watched the show, because bingeing it is the most fun. We met Selina the same way she is leaving us: selfish, dangerous, funny, brilliant, and unforgiving. I suppose I will miss her the most because Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a genius who constantly elevates the script and her co-stars, but it’s the ensemble and perfectly cast guest stars who stand out too. Everyone from clueless Karen Collins to Jonah’s heartless uncle Jeff to the always incriminating Minna Häkkinen have made me realize how much I’m going to miss this show. That everything has come full circle and crashed down on Selina now makes perfect sense.
I’m happy that while season 7 is short, it’s all about the characters’ relationships with each other and the high stakes of their behavior. To me, Selina’s most important relationship has been with Andrew-her ex-husband, father to her constantly panicked and insecure daughter Catherine, and unapologetic con artist. Andrew has stolen from Selina, cheated on her for the duration of their marriage, put her in totally political precarious positions, damaged her legacy by sleeping with a feminist artist who painted Selena’s presidential portrait, and at the show’s conclusion, colluded with the Chinese government by washing money through their foundation. None of that made it hurt less when he was accidently executed by Selina making the wrong order. All of the men Selina has been in romantic relationships with have been as vicious about using her as she is with them, Andrew being the worst. But to me, that’s how Selina loves. Her dysfunctional family is still her family. Even as Andrew and Selina plot to save their asses by throwing their daughter’s partner under the bus, and Marjorie notices their intentions and calls them shameless- I see family in their evil desperation.
Selina Meyer is, obviously, horrible example of a true feminist, often poking fun of liberal democratic tropes she uses to capture votes but her steadfast dedication to self-preservation is kind of feminist. Being likeable not only doesn’t matter to her, but she scoffs at it. The way all of the characters were either designed as her servants, fluttering around her in constant fear and panic- or her adversaries, openly plotting against her- is pretty boss. And while all this is happening, the show gives us satire and slapstick humour all the time.
I’m so into the show that I’m not fuming that Jonah and Amy have transformed from neurotic opportunists to Donald Trump and Kellyanne Conway, respectively. Selina and her team toy with racism to appease whatever voters they need at any given time, but Jonah and Amy court Trump-style racism, xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, and hate with finesse. It’s tragic to watch but entertaining - and because it’s Veep, I gladly go down the hole with the characters - they have earned every evil stripe. I never thought I’d be able to properly say goodbye to the show, but the plot has given me no choice but to know it should be over- and I love it.
Attached - the cast of Veep at a 92nd Street Y event last night in New York.