Don't Expect “Veep” To Tackle Trump Next Season

1. Veep, arguably one of the most political shows on TV, premiered the trailer for Season 6 during a panel at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas today. Showrunner David Mandel and most of the cast were in attendance, taking questions about the forthcoming season.

Moderator Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s Meet the Press, led the SXSW session with actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Matt Walsh, Gary Cole, and Sam Richardson.

2. Unsurprisingly, the panelists first addressed how much President Donald Trump has influenced the show’s new season, which centers on the inept former Vice President-turned-President, Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus).

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3. It seems that — partly because of timing and possibly because of creative choices — Trump hasn’t (and won’t) influence the show going forward. As Mandel explained, the sixth season was already finished when Trump was elected in November:

All of the [sixth] season was basically written and put together — we filmed it in October — but a lot that writing and what we were doing with the story came basically last June. Way before he won, Hillary lost, [and] had it gone the other way…this is basically what we were going to do. There are the occasional jokes, but we’re not Saturday Night Live. If we try to make a joke about what Trump did yesterday on Veep, by the time it [airs] in May, it would seem like the oldest, stalest joke in the world. And so I think for us, tragedy Trump plus time equals comedy. We like to space if out a little bit.

4. Asked if she wished there were more Trump-centric topics in the show, Louis-Dreyfus replied, “No, I don’t.” She explained why it wouldn’t make sense:

I think that we’ve set up this premise for our show which is this alternate political universe. And we don’t have any real-life celebrities on the show, we don’t have real-life journalists, and frankly in terms of actual political history, we don’t really reference anybody beyond Reagan.

5. The show splits into a fictional timeline after Reagan, and only includes fictional presidents through the present. However, Louis-Dreyfus also voiced a desire to keep the show politically non-partisan:

We don’t identify party on our show, which has been very useful for a lot of reasons and is certainly useful now. And it’s a lot of fun because when we’ve gone to Washington and talked to people — as we have on a number of occasions on both sides of the aisle — whoever we’re talking to thinks we’re making fun of the other party. Which is great, everybody can come and laugh and make fun of the other guy.

6. The show may, however, include some more direct parallels between Meyers, who is no longer president this season, and another well-known former president by the name of Barack Obama:

Keep your eyes on Obama, and I mean this in [generally] a good way. What’s very exciting for us, and this is not giving away stuff, but as you’re seeing him sign his book deal for a lot of money, don’t be surprised if Selina signs a book deal for not quite so much money. I know the press is, ‘Trump, Trump, Trump,’ but as you watch Obama over these next couple of years as you watched Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, there’s an incredible role they’re playing.

7. “For the most part, I think we’re sort of equal opportunity cynical,” Mandel concluded. “We’ll just as soon do a joke about cutting an arts budget as we will a gun joke or something. We go both sides.”

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8. The sixth season of Veep premieres on HBO April 16.

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