Epic and unprecedented mock fly-on-the-wall sitcom that purports to pull back the curtain on the White House corridors of power and show you what’s really going on. The focus is the administration of fictional female Vice President, later President, Selina Meyer, played with gusto by Seinfeld’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as she navigates election campaigns, scandals, press junkets and internecine office rivalry alternately abetted and thwarted by every conceivable caricature of Washington’s parasitical lobbyist and political advisor swamp-life in her attempt to stay one step ahead of the competition.
This foul-mouthed but hilarious series is the brain-child of Italian-Scottish satirical genius Armando Iannucci, whose resume includes many similar razor-sharp political offerings such as ‘In The Thick Of It’, ‘In The Loop’ and ‘The Death Of Stalin’. Iannucci was ‘stepped down’ as showrunner after series four, presumably because of egos in Washington dented by the show’s relentless tirade of coffee-spewing verbal bombshells and insinuations lobbed at White House hangers-on and the ‘political class’ in general. Consequently the quality takes a rapid nose-dive after about series five, but the first five seasons are solid gold. Indeed, the rarity of such an unfiltered window into this world is only highlighted by the later series’ sad lapse into Hollywood’s usual slapstick, saccharine, inoffensive and anaemic mush.
Selena is aided in her daily political machinations by a colourful assortment of sycophants, political scientists, lawyers, campaign veterans, journos and interns and really it is the realpolitik between them, the unspoken ‘greasy pole’ system of Washington’s internal career advancement and preferment that is the central theme of this kaleidoscopic, rapid-fire entertainment.