Television is about to get a whole lot grimmer when the master class in comedy that is Veep concludes its final seven-episode season. The series has been a highlight of HBO’s programming since its inception in 2012. After a satisfying run that has taken Julia-Louis Dreyfus’ iconic Selina Meyer and her team into and out of the White House and back again.
In spite of how Veep is a terribly cynical and bitter show, this final season brings a very real emotional quality to it. There’s always been a heart to this show and even though the insults and vitriol never stop flying, that heart gets to beat louder than ever as the show comes to a close.
To celebrate the start of the show’s seventh season, we got to touch base with some of the talented members of the show’s cast as well as Veep’s creator, Armando Iannucci. It’s definitely been a whirlwind of a final season, but everyone involved couldn’t be happier of the story that’s told and the job that’s done on these final seven episodes. In many ways it seems like it’s the ultimate distillation of what the show’s really all about.
Veep may have been created by Armando Iannucci, he gracefully passed the showrunning duties over to David Mandel after the comedy’s fourth season. Iannucci isn’t involved with the show creatively any longer and admits that it’s a little surreal and exciting to watch his series get finished by someone else, especially when he never had a plan for the show’s ending.“I never thought that far ahead. We always looked towards the next season and would try and set it up with some big twist at the end of the year, but never beyond that,” says Iannucci. “When I handed the show off to Dave we discussed where it all might go, but in the end I made it clear that it was his show now. I think I know how it might end, but I don’t know for sure,” muses Iannucci.
The surprise of this final season has been satisfying to Iannucci, but just getting to appreciate the cast through fresh eyes has also been illuminating to him. “What’s been really good is to be able to watch it for a viewer as the first time,” says Iannucci. “The first episode of David’s that I watched I got to appreciate how amazing the cast was in a whole new kind of way because I didn’t know what they’d be saying for once.”
The star of Veep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, may portray a venomous character, but she couldn’t say enough positive things about the experience of playing Selina Meyer for seven seasons and how bittersweet saying goodbye to her has been. “I’m going to miss playing a hyper functional, narcissistic, undeveloped, ruthless human being,” laments Louis-Dreyfus. In spite of how important this character and her growth is to Louis-Dreyfus, it’s going to be even harder for her to say goodbye to something else. “What I’m going to miss the most is all of these people,” says Louis-Dreyfus. “I’m going to miss them more than I can possibly articulate.”
One of the many veteran actors who makes up that cast is Gary Cole, who plays the numbers-heavy political strategist, Kent Davison. While Cole’s Kent and much of the rest of the show’s cast can be cynical at times, he reinforces the optimistic nature of the program and how it’s important to a show like this. “Somehow they’ve managed to find fun in all of this vulgarity,” explains Cole about the show’s beleaguered characters. Iannucci also agrees with this perspective, but puts it much more bluntly: “Please God, go for the laughter.” Iannucci adds, in response to Trump’s Presidential term, “We have a punch line in the White House, so comedians like John Oliver and Samantha Bee have to become journalists in the process to tackle all of this.”
While this final season is also largely a time of catharsis for most of the cast, Kent Davison remains comfortably stagnant through the show. “I never view my character as changing much. Other characters around him go through great changes, but he’s kind of baffled by such things,” clarifies Cole.
One character that has certainly changed plenty throughout the run of the show and experiences some real growth during this final season is Selina Meyer. Louis-Dreyfus teases both Selina’s evolution as a character and the series’ finale by saying, “She’s evolved in a way that—not to give anything away—but by the end of the final episode she is at her very essence.”
Veep Season 7 is currently airing Sundays at 10:30 p.m. (ET) on HBO
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and he’s always game to discuss Space Dandy. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.