7 March 2018
How “the S team” keep Selina on top in Veep
From small-state senator to US Vice President, career-driven powerhouse Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) couldn’t have climbed to the top without her diligent staff in HBO’s satirical political comedy series Veep (2012-current; Seasons 1-7 are available on Showmax). Her crew of misfits have pulled strings, lined pockets and burnt bridges to keep their boss in charge – and it’s something lead star Julia says gives her character the space to make her power plays. “Her staff can be dysfunctional… they are dysfunctional! They keep her going but they are a mess.”
Selina is incompetent at the best of times but thanks to her crew, she’s always in the spotlight. “Zeroing in on the Vice President’s role is funny because it’s a position of power and yet, it’s a position that no one necessarily seeks,” adds the Emmy Award-winning Julia. “I believe that ambitious politicians don’t aspire to the Vice Presidency. Although it’s a powerful position, it’s powerless – so close and yet so far. The show is a big comedy and everyone involved makes it a great team to be a part of”. Watch now »
Except if you’re Selina… because then it’s all about the “I” in “team”…
As the Vice President’s right-hand-man, Gary (Tony Hale) ensures that Selina stays alive. Although she nags him all day, he still runs everything past her and would do anything to keep her happy. Gary describes himself as Selina’s “calendar, I’m your Google and I’m your Wilson the volleyball”. Without him, Selina wouldn’t know where the little girl’s room is, let alone what everyone on her team does. And it’s a thankless task, laughs Tony: ” “Even when Selina talks bad at him or verbally abuses him, he doesn’t quit. Not only because the gig is too good, but they have been working together for years and he latched onto her identity – he doesn’t have an identity of himself and leaving his job would be emotional suicide as he wouldn’t know what to do with himself.”
By the time Selina is running for the Presidency and is later tied with her opponent in Season 4, Gary assures her that he will work even harder to get her the win, crying out, “I have broken my body for you, I have let myself be laughed at, I have let myself be humiliated, and I’m happy to do it!” Watch now »
The dream team
Similarly to Gary, Chief of Staff and campaign manager Amy (Anna Chlumsky, Vada Sultenfuss in the iconic 1991 movie My Girl) is devoted to her job. She’s put her life on hold to focus on saving Selina’s reputation but resigns in Season 4 after a disagreement with her boss. “Usually, Amy doesn’t let her emotions affect her decisions but after suppressing her feelings for a long time, she finally lets it all out,” explains Anna.
Like a loyal servant, Amy returns to help Selina with her campaign but one thing is for certain, she isn’t one to be messed with and her self-absorbed ex-boyfriend Dan (Reid Scott) is well aware of that. As Deputy Director of Communications, Dan is in charge of everything said by the Vice President’s office. He’s ambitious and although he enjoys working for Selina, he also wants political power.
His boss Communications Director Mike (Matt Walsh) is the opposite and unlike his colleagues, his life doesn’t revolve around working for Selina. But while everyone around him thinks that he lacks ambition, he knows how to juggle his personal with his work life, as he gets married to a journalist in Season 4 and goes on to become the White House’s Press Secretary. Watch now »
And who better to keep Selina and her crazy crew in some sort of shape than Selina’s personal secretary Sue Wilson (Sufe Bradshaw)? She’s brash, straight to the point and doesn’t take nonsense from anyone, Selina and the President included. That’s because she’s the “third most powerful person on the planet because I decide who sees the President and Vice President and in what order,” jokes the actress. And thanks to her by-the-books performance, there’s a promotion in store by Season 4 because she’s good enough to plan “two military invasions before lunch – and still be able to organise any meal you want”. Watch now »
So you see: there’s more to any team leader than just the face you see. Often behind that cool, calm, composed exterior lies a team of hard-working minions scrambling to get the finer details taken care of. And more often than not, that team is packed full of crackpots who belong in nut houses thanks to their own zany idiosyncrasies.
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Sources: BuildSeries.com, NewYorkTimes.com, TheMediaDirectory.com