Veep: Season 1, Episode 8

Tears (10 Jun. 2012)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 178 users  
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Season One Finale. Selina travels to Ohio to support a gubernatorial candidate who no longer wants her endorsement; the Clean Jobs bill comes back to haunt Dan; Mike and Amy open the floodgates after they play up Selina's tears.

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Title: Tears (10 Jun 2012)

Tears (10 Jun 2012) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Megan Anderson
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Chuck Baron ...
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Harold (as Rob Caton)
Michael Delaney ...
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Nancy Leroy
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Season One Finale. Selina travels to Ohio to support a gubernatorial candidate who no longer wants her endorsement; the Clean Jobs bill comes back to haunt Dan; Mike and Amy open the floodgates after they play up Selina's tears.

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Comedy

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10 June 2012 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Season 1: Funny dialogue but badly needs more cynical harshness and edge
5 August 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Although I tried not to pay much attention to the hype this show was getting ahead of screening, I was both looking forward to it and curious to see how the sense of humour of The Thick of It would translate into American politics. Much like that show, Veep doesn't focus on the highest office or the sharp edge of politics but takes a side step to find a much more workaday version of politics where there are very few "big" decisions to at least make up for all boring appearances, non-issue press releases and constant missteps that come with life in office. The unhappy Vice President and her very sub-West Wing staff are a good setting and it allows for much confusion and misunderstandings.

Unfortunately this is just what it allows for and much of the comedy is very much about small problems and people doing embarrassing things. This isn't to say that it isn't funny though, because it frequently is. The dialogue has the pace of The West Wing but is full of great barbs and digs between the characters – there aren't any particularly likable characters, but their unlikeability is funny. For some reason the swearing took me a minute to get hold of because it did sound odd to have these attractive Americans saying these words – for some reason it just sounds more natural in UK accents. The problem isn't with the dialogue though, the problem is with the general material and tone of the show.

It is far too gentle; even though it contains heavy swearing and the dialogue is harsh, the show itself isn't, and this detracts from its impact. The situations are comic but not particularly cynical, or at least not when compared to the view of politics in In The Thick of It; they do rather feel like typical sitcom sort of stuff. The banality of it all is there but the edge is missing, the harshness of tone and the cutting commentary that exists behind the comedy; it is the difference between the safe social world of Friends or the more cutting social interactions of Seinfeld. This surprised me from Iannucci, since political satire is his home ground and I'm not sure if this is his doing or if it was a compromise for HBO; either way it does limit the material and it keeps it in sitcom territory (albeit foul-mouthed sitcom territory).

The cast are mostly good. Louis-Dreyfus gets the humour really naturally and takes to the role and the swearing with ease. Chumsky and Scott bicker quite well but Simons and in particular Walsh tend to get the bigger laughs. Nobody in the cast really makes a massive impact though and, although I was trying to not compare the shows, there are plenty of times where you wish there was a Malcolm Tucker energy that would sweep across them and shake the characters up a little bit – as it is, as harsh as they are, they all have a very gentle tone that limits the overall tone of the show.

If Veep was the first thing I'd seen from Iannucci, I would probably have been more taken by it than I was, however in the shadow of better works, this is rather weaker than I would have liked. There are a good handful of laughs in each episode and the dialogue still have a poetic crudity about it, but the lack of bite and edge in the material is a real limiting factor – it feels too much like a sitcom rather than really good satire. Season 1 was good enough to make me hope for a second season, but this is joined by the hope that it returns with much more of the cynicism and sharpness that I'm used to seeing from Iannucci.


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