Veep aired season 5 in 2016, and it was among the show’s best seasons to date, seemingly not missing a beat despite the departure of series creator and showrunner Armando Iannucci. The series, on the strength of that season, pulled in Emmy wins for Best Comedy Series and for Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Going into season 6, however, Veep faces some big challenges. It pretty much blew up its premise at the end of last season, driving Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus) from office and making her, for the first time in the run of the series, neither the vice president nor president. And in even more concerning news for the show, in the past year real-life politics have very much surpassed Veep’s world, in terms of absurdity, cynicism, and unintentional comedy. Now, we have our first look at how Veep is going to thread that particular needle.
On Sunday night HBO, in between its broadcasts of the premiere of Big Little Lies and the latest episode of Girls, debuted the first teaser for Veep season 6, where we got our first hints of how the series in the age of Selina Meyer out of the White House.
The teaser, running 30 seconds, begins with the ex-president comparing being an ex-president to “being a man’s nipple,” so we know right off that this is the Veep everyone remembers. We see Meyer trying to adjust to post-White House life and create a legacy for herself as the first female president, albeit one who served a short time and was never elected president.
Just as the Iannucci-directed In the Loop was, by far, the best movie made about the lead-up to the Iraq War, Veep has often been called the most realistic show about American politics. Rather than depict high-level political types as starry-eyed idealists (in The West Wing’s mode) or as ruthless Machiavellian masterminds (like House of Cards), Veep supposes that top politicians and their staffers are a combination of bumbling incompetents, craven and self-serving political hacks, and sympathetic people with the opportunity to do the right thing but usually don’t.
Will the new era in real-life politics make it harder for Veep to be Veep? Perhaps, but having to show a post-presidency Selina Meyer, and making it feel like the Veep everyone remembers, is an even greater challenge for the show’s creative team. After all, being an ex-president is a position of some power but not enough — just like being vice president, as Meyer was at the start of the show.
Veep season 6 premieres Sunday, April 16 on HBO.