If anybody was expecting the cast and showrunner of the most acidly cynical show on television to unload on the current presidential administration, Monday’s South by Southwest talk might have been a disappointment.
Not only does the upcoming sixth season of HBO’s “Veep” not deal directly with the gigantic shifts in D.C. right now (it was written and filmed last year before Donald Trump won the 2016 election), it exists in an alternate political reality that makes it difficult to be topical except by accident or careful planning (say, in a past storyline about a presidential election tie).
But the SXSW panel did allow a huge chunk of the cast to occupy many, many chairs on stage at the Austin Convention Center flanking Emmy-winning star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Moderator Chuck Todd (”Meet the Press”) seemed ill-equipped to handle such a large group of panelists, including Anna Chlumsky, Gary Cole, Sam Richardson, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, Timothy Simons, showrunner David Mandel, and MVP (besides Louis-Dreyfus) Tony Hale, who got the biggest applause in the introductions.
Todd ran out of questions about midway through and kept trying to draw parallels between the show’s reality and today’s Washington, a comparison that in 2017 suddenly seems to have skewed further off-kilter than even “Veep” is able to address.
What attendees did get was a few really dirty jokes (one, about a reproductive bodily fluid, caught Todd off guard and made him lose it), a great trailer for the new season that HBO made public during the talk, a limited-edition poster distributed to those who attended the panel, and some details about what the new season, premiering April 16, will be about.
“We have found a way to blow up the premise yet again,” Louis-Dreyfus said. The characters of the Selina Meyers administration will likely be scattered as Meyers enters post-presidential life.
Mandel said that looking at what Barack Obama is going through now and how the Clintons spent time after being in the White House offers clues as to the kinds of things that will be dealt with on the show: book deals, charitable foundations, that sort of thing.
For a show that’s had such a long run, there still appears to be no end in sight, at least according to Louis-Dreyfus, who says she’s not looking ahead to any other future projects (especially not for network TV).
“My head is in this show. It takes a lot of thought and energy,” she said.
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