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Sucker Punch Squad: Is the Script for HBO's 'Veep' Aimed at Sarah Palin?


Editor’s note: Script reviews of upcoming projects have been around for as long as there’s been an Internet. Therefore it’s no secret that a television show can evolve into something quite different from its original script. Please keep in mind that this article represents a look at a particular script and not the final product.

Author’s note: There are a couple of spoilers in this review. If you are dying to watch this show when it eventually premieres, don’t read any further.

BH editor John Nolte has already told you about HBO’s greenlighting of a comedy called Veep. It’s set in Washington and follows the life of Selina Meyer, a former senator who campaigned for the presidency, lost out to a competitor, and is now his vice president.

I’ve read the pilot script. In a word, blech. VP Selina Meyer is portrayed as somewhat of a dimwit whose biggest project is getting as many government buildings as possible to use biodegradable cornstarch cutlery in place of plastic, which gets the plastics industry in an uproar. No one in Washington really gives two hoots about her, as is evidenced when she is pointedly ignored during her pathetic speech at a fundraising event – where she makes a further gaffe in saying she and her staff were “hoist[ed] by our own retard,” which then forces her to make a preemptive apology to someone from a mental health charity.

Meyer is aided and abetted in her ridiculous role by the sharp-tongued Anna, her chief of staff; Mike, her slobbish press secretary; and Gary, her bodyguard. Other characters we meet along the way are the sleazy and ambitious Dan, a senator’s aide who isn’t averse to throwing his boss to the political wolves if it benefits his own career; and Jonah, the liaison between the President and VP’s offices – a man who is extremely unattractive and creepy but hopes his role as a White House “big shot” will someday impress the chicks.

None of the characters have any redeeming qualities. They’re all either sleeping around to climb the ladder of success or being needled for being rejected in the sleeping around department despite their professional success. Profanities and sophomoric jokes about genitalia fly left and right. No one can trust anyone else. Veep provides a truly revolting and un-funny view of the Washington DC fishbowl as written by two Brits. It’s like that Brit comedy Coupling, which I considered not only not funny, but uncomfortable to watch. The Veep script has that same creepy vibe. Maybe I just don’t get British humor…

Okay, I admit I laughed at one joke. Sue me.

According to John’s post linked above, this lemon of a pilot script has been sitting on the shelf, gathering dust, since 2007. So why the sudden interest? Why is the New York Times’ Frank Rich, not exactly Palin’s biggest fan, interested in producing this project? Why is big-time Dem supporter Julia Louis-Dreyfus in talks about the starring role?

Could it be…Sarah Palin?

Maybe John and I are stretching it. But consider that no one gave a rodent’s patootie for this dreadful project three years ago, when Palin was a relative nobody on the national radar. Flash forward to 2010. Despite not having won with John McCain in 2008, Palin’s star is on the rise: two successful books, a deal as a Fox News a contributor, her Facebook post making headlines, and a reality show about her life in Alaska that will, in all likelihood, burnish that star further with her fans and – just maybe – show others that she’s not a monster.

Palin didn’t go to the “right” schools. She’s handy with a shotgun and enjoys fishing. She didn’t have a politically powerful family member behind her rise in politics. Heck, just the sound of her voice drives the left bonkers.

She. Must. Be. Stopped.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the pickup of Veep has nothing to do with the hope of undermining Palin’s credibility further, and that the folks at HBO thinks it’s just a hilarious show of which the viewing public must not be denied any longer. I say, in response, that based on what I’ve seen, this show is a big fat loser and deserves to die a quick and painful death.

Not for HBO’s sake, but for ours.

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