ByDavid McDermott, writer at
TV Reviews with a Scottish flair...which is code for moaning a lot. Find more of my stuff at
David McDermott

Veep is a classic example of the mess that is American comedy, where you get a show which is sharp, witty and intelligent, wins lots of awards and is considered highly by critics and fans alike but then doesn’t get the viewing figures it deserves. Of course what else would you expect from a show which was developed by and based on something British? Naturally like pretty much every remake it isn’t as good as the original.

I could of course sit here typing away about all the American TV shows which have been developed off of British shows and inevitably end up being a water down poor excuse of the original (like when you go abroad and the Looky Looky Men have designer gear for buttons but obviously it’s shit) but I will only use [Veep](series:720997) as an example.

May I point out that I don’t think that Veep is shit, quite the contrary; it is one of the best comedies currently on TV. Now this is partially down to a lack of quality comedies available but also because as I said earlier it is smart, sharp and witty three things which tend to make a good comedy. You have a really good cast which is led by Julia Louis Dreyfus and everyone in the show holds their own. You never feel when watching Veep that one of the cast members isn’t a good actor or that they aren’t quite as sharp as their co-workers and in a comedy where insults and put downs are coming every three seconds that’s important, there’s really great chemistry amongst the cast. Julia Louis Dreyfus and Tony Hale get all the plaudits because they are the biggest names but who in their right mind doesn’t think that Dan is awesome, that Mike has a lovely moustache or that Jonah’s a dick? Exactly, and what makes it better is that each character is well defined and can stand on their own. Another example of clever character production is Amy who could easily have slipped into a generic female role which many other shows would have placed but rather she is a cold, cut throat, take no shit dealer who is more than capable of hanging with the men.

As you may have guessed (or not…you’re not psychic after all!) I’m not an American so I see American politics very much from an outside position. Not that I am going to sit up on my high horse and preach to you about how ridiculous your political system is (because my country’s political system is stuffed full of toffs and dithering idiots) but America’s political system is pretty fucking ridiculous. It always amazes me the people who are elected to office in America but worse than that it amazes me the people who think that they are capable of running for President, which is why Joe Thornhill is such a great character, it is preposterous that he could run for office but somehow in America he can become a legitimate contender. The run for Presidential nomination was a nice touch and added something different to what we have seen before from the show and it gave it a fresh jolt and a good story arc for the season as a whole and going forward. Veep is a great parody of American politics (parody a term used very loosely) and it hits more than it misses but when it does miss it can be frustrating. Examples of this would be when the Veep is forced to make an announcement she didn’t really want to make because the ex-Finnish Prime Minister pushed her to or when something happens and the snappy headlines start coming out over the littlest things (newspapers aren’t that clever, trust me). These are little gripes but it is a forced area which Veep tends to fall into.

Now onto the far superior original version of this show The Thick of It. I doubt many people will have seen The Thick of It because it is very niche. Naturally the Thick of It is based on British politics which is a totally different beast to American but the biggest difference between the two shows is that in Veep the star is the politician whereas in the Thick of It the star is the civil servant (Peter Capaldi who plays the Doctor in Doctor Who). You really have to watch an episode to truly appreciate the genius of the character Malcolm Tucker as any combination of words comes trickling off his tongue and he alone makes the show worth watching. The stars of the Thick of It are the people behind the politicians, the ones who are actually running the country and they don’t cut the shit when they shell out their opinions, in comparison Veep is more about who can like Selena Meyer’s ass the most. Don’t get me wrong American politics (and society) is more along the arse licking spectrum so in that sense it is accurate but I think the Thick of It’s style is better. The Thick of It also tended to follow real political conflict and events within the country whereas Veep tends to follow its only little made up world which makes it seem less lifelike and more fiction. Not that this is a big deal but one of my final gripes is that Veep feels scripted, that the actors are delivering line for line what has been written for them and that at times they could deliver funnier lines but don’t because they don’t want to offend, whereas the Thick of It very much says fuck you to offending people and feels like everything is said off the cuff.

Veep is one of the best comedies currently on TV and is another in the short but ever developing cable produced American comedy series but give this highly acclaimed comedy’s superior predecessor a look because trust me if you haven’t seen it you really are missing something. As a side note who thinks that Veep is a fairly accurate representation of Joe Biden’s life? Yeah, I know, probably not because Selena does a lot of stuff and Joe Biden probably just sits in his office playing Pac-Man and eating Oreo’s…what a life…

Leave a comment about what you thought of Veep season 3 and how you think it compares with The Thick of It. Are you too dreaming that one day Obama stands down and allows Joe Biden to take his rightful place as the most powerful man in the world? We can only hope one day our dreams will come true…You can find more of this excellent writing (term used loosely) by checking out bm23 tv reviews or the Facebook and Twitter pages which also contain some of my musings and shit that I generally say.


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