Selina Meyer is heading back to the West Wing — only this time, as a scorned ex-president.
In this sixth season of HBO’s Veep (Sundays, 10:30 ET/PT), “you’ll see her in an office, and you will in fact see her in the White House,” says Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays her. “Not as president, needless to say, but she will be making a visit or two to that building.”
When Veep returned April 16, the incorrigible Selina was floundering a year after a knotty election tie ousted her from the Oval Office. With her team largely dispersed — save for her bedeviled bagman Gary (Tony Hale) — Selina now calls a cruddy office in the Bronx home base, where she manages her charitable Meyer Fund for Adult Literacy (and AIDS) with her financially endowed daughter Catherine (Sarah Sutherland) and ex-body double Marjorie (Clea DuVall), now Catherine’s wife.
When her idea to run for president again is shot down by family members and advisers, Selina becomes feverishly obsessed with what’s next.
“The idea of somehow not being relevant or in the political zeitgeist is a nightmare for her,” Louis-Dreyfus says. “She’s very ambitious and power-driven and egocentric, so trying to stay alive as a contender is her utmost desire.”
Undaunted, she raucously dives into a handful of legacy projects that will be explored in upcoming episodes, such as establishing a presidential library and writing her memoir.
“At some point that memoir is actually going to be due, so she and Mike (Matt Walsh) are going to have to figure out what kind of book (they) are actually going to write,” says executive producer David Mandel, who took over for Veep creator Armando Iannucci last year. In Sunday’s episode, we also see “the beginnings of an official portrait being made. At some point, that painting is going to have to show itself.”
Like last year’s “Mother” episode, which craftily humanized Selina at her mom’s deathbed, this season will continue to peel back layers of the rancorous ex-commander-in-chief, with new insight into her upbringing and her late father.
“You take more of a path in the head of Selina, and the baggage of Selina’s psychological and emotional history,” says Louis-Dreyfus, who’s won five consecutive Emmy Awards for the role.
Ex-members of Selina’s team will also get to shine (or screw up) in their respective new careers: Dan (Reid Scott) as a co-anchor on CBS This Morning; Amy (Anna Chlumsky), running a gubernatorial campaign in Nevada for her fiancé; and Jonah (Timothy Simons), smarmier and smuttier than before as a New Hampshire congressman recovering from testicular cancer and speaking out against the Healthy School Lunch Act.
“(We wanted) Jonah to be very interested in a few topics, and have one of them be incredibly stupid and small, and to be on the wrong side of it,” Simons says. But “as the season goes on, you see him get involved in much bigger national and international issues” and “fail upward into a little bit of clout on (Capitol) Hill.”
Despite the current political climate, Veep will continue to be non-partisan. The new season was conceived and written last summer, although President Trump’s election still reverberated on set in November. When the results came in, the cast was shooting a scene in a polling place filled with chickens and women in babushkas, as Selina monitored the first open election in the country of Georgia.
Shortly after hearing the news that Hillary Clinton had lost, “I had to deliver the line, which was written months and months in advance: ‘Jesus Christ. Democracy, what a (expletive) horror show,’ ” Louis-Dreyfus says. “It was the most uncanny thing.”
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