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"Veep's" Third Season Hits the Campaign Trail in High Gear

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire April 6, 2014 at 10:31PM

Without the hype of "Game of Thrones" or "Silicon Valley," the Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitcom has to settle for being one of the best shows on TV.
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Veep

The premiere of "Veep's" third season has been overshadowed a tad by the return of "Game of Thrones" and the premiere of Mike Judge's "Silicon Valley" (the latter, unusually, getting the prime post-"Thrones" slot" while the returning show gets sloppy seconds at 10:30). So "Veep" will just have to settle for being one of the best comedies on television.

"Some New Beginnings" finds "Veep" starting from the second season's climactic high and continuing to move upwards, with Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) hitting the shadow campaign trail. The president hasn't officially resigned, so she can't openly vie for his job, but the machinations behind the scenes are as vicious and occasionally fumbling as ever. As Selina is stuck in Iowa, pimping her ghostwritten campaign book, the rest of her staff is attending the wedding of her press secretary, Mike (Matt Walsh), an uncharacteristically joyous occasion on a show that traffics in painful failure. But then you see Selina's body man Gary (Tony Hale) fumbling through the "Love is patient, love is kind" reading as he makes a terrible go of fumbling discreetly with his cell phone, and all is right with the world.

More reviews of "Veep's" "Some New Beginnings"

Brandon Nowalk, the A.V. Club

"Veep's" refusal to tie Selena to any particular belief is part of the joke. Selena's only real conviction is to win. But where the generality keeps previous seasons a bit flaccid, season three steers into the skid. The campaign trail is no place for stating actual positions. 

Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

The show's as cynical as ever, but it doesn't feel nearly as empty. Selina's more of an actual character -- and has become an accomplished slinger of four-letter verbiage in her own right -- and even if the team's screw-ups remain inevitable, the ways in which they screw up feel far less predictable.

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

I didn’t think it was possible for this deliriously profane show to get any more cynical, but now that Selina Meyer is running for the Oval Office, the stakes have gotten high enough that even the nuttiest joke has the weight of real consequences behind it.

David Wiegel, Slate

Armando Iannucci’s "Veep," which returns for its third season Sunday night on HBO, has always been a tough watch for political reporters, or TV critics, or anyone who strings words together for a living. It’s a smartly written comedy about the meaninglessness of words and rhetoric -- a sharp take on the no content of content.

Ben Travers, Indiewire

"Veep" isn't about picking sides so much as it's about painting every politician as a manipulative, heartless, sleaze ball.


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