I should be excited. Veep season 6 is around the corner, and it’s a show I love. The HBO political comedy arrived in 2012, the final year of President Barack Obama’s first term. At that point, we had a man in the White House who was a constitutional law scholar, former Illinois state senator, former United States senator, and one of the most measured speakers in the known world. It was the perfect time to watch an alternate reality comedy where the government was led by hapless — but not malevolent — dimwits who were more interested in insulting each other than improving the lives of the American people.
Then, Tuesday, November 8, 2016 came to pass.
On that day, American nominated a former reality TV judge and at-dawn tweeter to the highest office in the land. We nominated the kind of man who praised sexual assault, seemingly mocked the disabled, and used racial insults like “Pocahontas.” Watching a show about unqualified people running the federal government no longer felt very funny.
As Donald Trump, who is technically still a credited Celebrity Apprentice producer, put together his cabinet, the Veep vibes didn’t diminish. During current education secretary Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing, the businesswoman cited grizzly bears as a reason to have guns in schools. Somehow, that’s not a desperate line from someone on Veep president Selina Meyer’s staff — that’s something the person in charge of our actual school system said.
The last few days have brought an onslaught of Veep vs. actual, real-life White House comparisons with two disturbing moments from the Trump team. First up is press secretary Sean Spicer, who made a number of uninformed and insulting comments about Adolf Hitler. "You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," the presidential spokesperson said on the Jewish holiday of Passover. "He was not using the gas on his own people the same way that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is doing. He brought them into the Holocaust center, and I understand that.”
“Holocaust center,” for the record, is a disturbingly flippant way of saying “concentration camp.” And Hitler did use deadly chemical weapons to kill millions of his own people, in said concentration camps.
The upsetting moment was soon given the Veep credits sequence treatment with the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-led comedy’s music and half-screen format. Housing and urban development secretary and luggage loser Ben Carson got Veep ed only one day after Spicer, when the neurosurgeon ended up trapped in an elevator during an affordable housing tour. The baffling visuals play exactly like a Veep closer.
After witnessing these alarming antics from actual decision-makers, it’s hard to be excited about watching similar ineptitudes for laughs on TV — especially since Veep ’s first woman president suffered a brutal presidential election loss of her own. Thankfully, there is an upside to Selina’s season 5 exit from the White House, since it’s unlikely everyone making ridiculous mistakes on Veep will still be in charge of America’s future.
At least that's true on TV.
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