HBO’s sublimely snarky political sitcom Veep returns for an expanded 10-episode second season on April 14, but the wait is over today for fans who want to revisit the critically acclaimed season one, which earned star Julia Louis-Dreyfus her third career Emmy Award for her spectacular performance as embattled U.S. vice president Selina Meyer.
HBO Home Entertainment’s new two-disc Blu-ray set includes all eight episodes of season one, as well as a total of 12 commentary tracks by Louis-Dreyfus (who’s also a producer on the show), series creator Armando Iannucci and other members of the creative team, plus the actors making up Selina’s staff: Anna Chlumsky as Amy, Selina’s chief of staff; Matt Walsh as weary spokesperson Mike; Reid Scott as ruthlessly ambitious political aide Dan; Tony Hale as Selina’s feverishly devoted personal aide, Gary; and Sufe Bradshaw as Sue, Selina’s intimidating executive assistant. Timothy C. Simons also is featured as Jonah, the perpetually irritating and inappropriate young White House liaison.
Even if you don’t generally take time to listen to commentary tracks on sets like this, trust me, you’ll want to check these out. They’re a treasure trove of fascinating and funny background info on all the staggering detail that has gone into making Veep look and sound as authentic as possible to inside-the-Beltway life in Washington, D.C.
As Louis-Dreyfus mentions on one such track, that’s one of the reasons the show’s dialogue trends toward the blue so often, to differentiate how these incredibly stressed-out politicos behave and speak when they’re not putting on their best faces for the public cameras and microphones. And Iannucci, who scored a comparable success in his native Great Britain with the similarly themed political Britcom The Thick of It, knows how to elevate profanity to literally breathtaking comic heights (admittedly, fans who know Louis-Dreyfus exclusively from her network TV work on Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine may find themselves a little dazed initially as she drops one f-bomb after another, but while the cursing flies freely and frequently, it’s never gratuitous).
Other extras on this generously packed set include a behind-the-scenes look at how the show is put together, as well as outtakes and deleted scenes.
By the way, if you want to take a look at how Iannucci skewers politics on the other side of the pond, you’ll find all four seasons of The Thick of It and a companion feature film called In the Loop, in which Chlumsky has a supporting role, streaming on Hulu Plus.