Although I love Armando Iannucci, and I was a complete devotee of his previous series The Thick of It, I've never been the world's biggest Veep fan, chiefly because the characters are so incredibly vile and awful that I find myself rooting against them at every turn and basically cannot stand to see Selina win at anything.
I've continued to watch it because the show does occasionally manage to make me laugh in spite of itself, simply because the insult humor and delicious contortion of language isn't something you'd hear out of the mind of anyone else. But you can imagine how it felt to watch an entire season of Selina Meyer, the world's most despicable person, now ascended to the highest office in the land, a feat that she pulled off by accident of course, but nevertheless, she's now the world's most powerful person in the show's universe and boy, is that horrifying. I almost couldn't get over the very idea of it, which made me want to vomit in my mouth every time we cut to her in the Oval Office. Interestingly, the season of Selina's presidency made her somehow even worse that I was expecting (and my expectations were pretty high that she'd repulse me at every step), as she displayed once again, now more than ever, zero competency, zero sympathy, zero compassion and not an ounce of character, as she glories in her power while screwing up at every turn.
It was almost enough to make me tune out, but as always, Julia Louis-Dreyfus' incredible acting saves the day, as I cannot imagine anyone else ever being able to pull off such a horrible character and still manage to impress you with the sheer range of ways in which she expresses her awfulness. Julia is the Queen of Awfulness, people and that in itself is something to be admired in a strange way (I guess all those years on Seinfeld honed her chops for this role, especially the weirder, later seasons). Also, the supporting cast this time out really shined, as both Dan (Reid Scott) and especially Jonah (Timothy Simons) stepped up to the plate with some fantastic one liners and in Jonah's case, a storyline where he was relentlessly sexually harassed by prolific guest star (on anything) Patton Oswalt, and then mocked mercilessly for it the rest of the season. Jonah himself is not any more sympathetic than most of the characters on this show, but Simons somehow managed to turn him into the highlight of the series this season, as I was always ready to cut back to any one of his scenes of humiliation, played in a pitch perfect tone and matched with a fitting sidekick in the form of last year's annoying Richard (Sam Richardson), a character I never thought was funny at all, but now paired with Jonah, is also somehow reinvented as an amusing foil.
I couldn't stand anything having to do with Selina until about halfway through the season, when Hugh Laurie's Tom James showed up to be her new running mate, and of course becomes more popular than she could ever be, showing her up at every turn with his charisma and (comparative) competence in relation to Selina and her team of idiots. His addition gave some of the characters leeway to actually notice Selina's vileness, culminating in an Emmy-worthy breakdown scene from Anna Chlumsky's Amy, who launches a vitriolic (and genuine) diatribe at her boss over how terrible she is in every possible respect, thus quitting her administration (however temporarily it turns out to be) and giving verbal onscreen confirmation of my own anger, which acted as a kind of primal scream therapy to endure the rest of the season. A later episode that duplicates almost every bit of Iannucci's inquiry episode of The Thick of It is far too uninspired for me to relish the glorious dialogue like most critics did (Thick of It did it better), and as always, I simply cannot ever buy that a president as blundering, unlikable and unelected as Selina could even come close to winning the White House in her first election, but I will say that the constitutional crisis the writers come up with to justify that outcome is sufficiently clever enough to leave me wondering what's going to happen next (she can't stay president forever, right? I mean, the show's called Veep for god's sakes).
Armando Iannucci has announced that he is leaving the show, and this was the last season to bear his name in the writing, which is fairly alarming, considering that, much like Aaron Sorkin, he's a showrunner who has always been extremely hands on and involved in every creative aspect of his series. The decision to continue the show without him may prove to be consequential in some major ways (could they actually soften up Selina, as Americans are wont to do, without Iannucci around to keep it as cynical as possible?). I'm a little curious as to how the show will fare without him, so I'm still in, but Veep continues to be something that alternately amuses, infuriates, and repulses me, often many times in the same episode. If I were ever somebody to actively hate-watch a show, this is probably the one, because for some reason, I still can't quit it.