This double shot of comedy on HBO has long been must see TV for me. If you have never seen either show, I implore you to go back and catch up. They are both hilarious shows and you’ll be able to binge back through a few seasons very quickly.
Veep has been on longer, but it is showing no sign of weakness in my opinion. The 6th season just wrapped up and I still find myself cracking up out loud while watching it. Luckily not as hard as this guy. It’s created by Armando Iannucci, most known to US audiences for In The Loop. A film version of his BBC series The Thick of It, for which Veep is loosely based. The writing is hysterical, and very R rated. Once put in the hands of Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld), she works her magic. She has created an iconic role as Selina Meyer, the sometimes Vice President and very shortly serving first woman President. No one could play this role better. There is also a lot of ad-libbing done while filming also which makes much of the off the cuff comedy and reactions work even better for the show. It is an absurdly funny show and is, sadly, very realistic of how things really are run in Washington, D.C.
Although JLD gets most of the credit, the supporting cast can be just as hilarious. Anna Chlumsky (My Girl), and Tony Hale (Arrested Development), are great as part of Selina Meyer’s inner circle of advisors/staff. As well as Kevin Dunn (Transformers) and Gary Cole (Office Space). Timothy Simons and Sam Richardson have really put their names on the map after their hilarious roles on the show. Dan Bakkedahl and Nelson Franklin are 2 of my favorite characters. They play a congressman and his assistant that sometimes work with Selina. Their characters are hilarious, R rated, and are probably mostly ad-libbed, which I really enjoy.
There have also been many mini character arcs by Hugh Laurie (House), Patton Oswalt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat), Diedrich Bader (Drew Carey Show), John Slaterry (Mad Men), Martin Mull (Roseanne), and Isiah Whitlock Jr.(Sheeeitt guy from The Wire) through the 6 season run that have all been equally fantastic and add to the quality of the show’s humor.
Season 6 in particular did a great job of freshening up the storyline of the show, while also propelling us forward to set up season 7. They have used flashbacks, as well as jumps forward to help provide depth and to move the story along. While the concept for season 7 may seem a little too familiar (another election run), I’m excited to watch and see how funny they can make it.
Silicon Valley has only been around 4 seasons, but it has also become one of my favorite comedies that HBO has ever had on. It’s created by Mike Judge (Office Space, Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, Idiocracy) and focuses on a group of nerds who start a tech startup company. It may sound off-putting at first and too technical, however the R rated humor helps bring levity to all of that.
Thomas Middleditch (Captain Underpants/current Verizon TV commercial guy), Martin Starr (Knocked Up), Kumail Nanjiani (Big Sick), Zach Woods (The Office), and T.J. Miller (Deadpool) are all hilarious as this group of guys struggling to make it, and the various adventures they get themselves into along the way.
Season 4 featured a hilarious cameo role by Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense). It also sadly was the last season with T. J. Miller featured. I hope losing him doesn’t ruin the chemistry.
Sure it’s a similar formula to many HBO comedies; Entourage, Ballers, How To Make It In America. Each season focuses on a goal, they struggle to reach it, then at the end of the season…success. Even though it may seem clichéd, I still enjoy tuning in to hear the hilarious insults they throw at each other every week, and seeing more ways they can screw things up. I am starting to wonder if there is an endgame planned though. We can’t just keeping having season after season of minor failures leading to sucess before it grows too tired.
I highly recommend both Veep and Silicon Valley, you’ve got a year to catch up…you can thank me later.