'Veep' taps deeper into D.C.'s dysfunction for third season

Wed Apr 2, 2014 7:54am EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif (Reuters) - Armando Iannucci, the creator of HBO's political satire "Veep," remembers a visit he made to the U.S. State Department for research on the show. Behind the imposing facade of the Harry S. Truman Building, the furniture in the bosom of international power was pathetic, he recalls.

"The chairs don't quite match the desk because (the government) went for the cheapest, so you can't actually pull your chair in under the desk because the arms are too high," the show's Scottish creator told Reuters in a recent interview.

That incongruence of power juxtaposed with its foibles and imperfections lies at the heart of "Veep," the send-up of political ambition in the Washington fishbowl that enters its third season on Sunday with Vice President Selina Meyer eyeing another run for the presidency.

Selina has got to fend off rivals, take a concrete stance on abortion and court voting blocs, while still currying favor with the power brokers.

The series on the Time Warner Inc-owned premium cable network stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina, the divorcee restless with her lack of real power and surrounded by a coterie of yes-men and yes-women who try to balance the demands of their job with their own agendas.

There is Amy, played by Anna Chlumsky, the impatient chief of staff with tunnel vision, and Dan (Reid Scott), the deputy director of communications who is always looking for a better gig. Communications director Mike (Matt Walsh) can never clean up his boss' messes or prevent them from leaking.

Then there is Jonah (Timothy Simons), the young, gangly and arrogant White House liaison that everyone finds repellent.

Chlumsky, best known for her roles as a child actress in 1991 film "My Girl," said she learned the ins and outs of the D.C. staffer psyche after picking the brain of California Senator Barbara Boxer's chief of staff, Laura Schiller.   Continued...

Armando Ianucci, creator and executive producer, of HBO series "Veep" poses at Sunset Marquis hotel in West Hollywood, California, March 26, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian