Season 5 of Veep ended catastrophically for Selina Meyer (Emmy-winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus), with the Senate bringing the presidential crisis to an end, by handing the job to Laura Montez (Andrea Savage). The season finale (which put a ribbon on a season many think was one of the show’s best) had the feel of a true ending, with Meyer getting kicked out of the White House and her loyal staffers all going off to pursue other gigs. Nevertheless, Veep soldiers on into a sixth season which will attempt to mine Selina’s post-presidential life for comedic gold.
It may be hard to conceive of Veep, a show that depends so heavily on political satire, existing outside the bubble of Washington but that’s exactly where the series will try to go. Veep survived the departure of original creator Armando Iannucci but can it continue to remain vital, now that it’s turning over its entire premise and in many ways starting over?
As the new trailer for Veep demonstrates, the show may be attempting a re-invention, but it won’t be a total head-to-toe makeover. For one thing, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is still front-and-center as Selina Meyer, and she will still have to struggle with a lot of the same image-related issues that plagued her as Veep and POTUS. She will also still be surrounded by the same gaggle of loyals friends and/or bitter enemies, including Gary (Tony Hale), Amy (Anna Chlumsky), Jonah (Timothy Simons), Mike (Matt Walsh) and Ben (Kevin Dunn).
Two moments stand out in the trailer: One is the scene where Selina vows to destroy now-Congressman Jonah Ryan so creatively that she’ll get a Kennedy Centers Honor for it. The entire sixth season of Veep could center on just Selina trying to annihilate Jonah and it might be brilliant. The other stand-out moment, at least in terms of hinting at the show’s on-going themes: Selina is standing for her portrait and suggests to the painter that they should focus more on her decolletage and less on the (boring) rest of her dress. Gary emphasizes this point in his typically creepy way (“Give the people what they want,” he gleefully exclaims), and Selina quickly jumps in to express disgust, while subtly indicating to the painter that her buffoonish assistant is right on the money.
Very often in Veep, Selina’s attempts to maintain a proper, dignified image conflict with the realities of being a human being. But in Selina’s case, this ever-present dilemma takes on a more heightened urgency simply by virtue of her being a woman in a world dominated by men. Even though Selina is no longer president or vice-president, she will still have to struggle with these conflicting needs. And in some ways, the character could become even more hilarious, freed as she is from the requirement to maintain a presidential level of dignity.
Veep may be setting off on a new, uncharted path by dealing with post-presidential Selina Meyer, but the trailer reassures us that the show’s preoccupations will be the same, and its humor will still be occasionally and marvelously obscene. Most importantly all the key players are in place, including the most important of all, Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Veep season 6 premieres on HBO on April 16th, 2017.