The Daily Rundown
updated 6/12/2013 1:18:42 PM ET 2013-06-12T17:18:42

Armando Iannucci, creator of the HBO series, says that while fictional VP Selina Meyer shares some similarities with current and past vice presidents, she isn't based on one political character.

It may not be the only television show set in Washington, D.C. these days, but beltway insiders agree it may be the most realistic. HBO’s “VEEP”, which has gotten the nod from real Vice President Joe Biden, stars “Seinfeld” alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, the vice president often overlooked by the White House.

Meyer spends her days trying to gain back the influence she once had as a senator from Maryland. However, when she asks aides if the president has called, the answer is always the same, “no.”

Currently in its second season, the satirical series is the first comedy about American politics from Armando Iannucci, the executive producer and self-proclaimed political geek. Prior to “VEEP”, Iannucci created and co-wrote “The Thick of It”, a comedy series about modern British government that aired on the BBC.

Iannucci said on Wednesday’s The Daily Rundown that Meyer shares some similarities with current and past vice presidents, but that her missteps shouldn’t be taken as a bad reflection of women in politics.

“We decided when we wrote the pilot script to make it a female vice president simply because we didn’t want people to think, oh, is this all about Joe Biden or Al Gore,” said Iannucci. “So we thought, let’s make her female. Once we made that decision, we decided not to make the show about being a woman in politics. It”s actually irrelevant what gender she is.”

Video: Does ‘Veep’ mimic real life politics?

  1. Closed captioning of: Does ‘Veep’ mimic real life politics?

    >>> the u.s. senate characterizes the vice presidential office as, quote, the least understood, most ridiculed and most often ignored office in the government. thanks to a hit hbo show, maybe that's starting to change. or is it?

    >> angry birds.

    >> and why is it so angry?

    >> because it wants to destroy all of the --

    >> oh, of course. angry birds.

    >> it is an -- a computer game . it is successful. we give to you to reflect our place as a pioneer of software innovation.

    >> i'm a huge fan.

    >> you have played it?

    >> yes, yes. although violence in games is a concern.

    >> that was the fictional vice president selena myer during an awkward encounter with the fictional finish prime minister. how much fiction reflects fact? joining me now is the creator and executive producer of the hbo show "veep. "welcome.

    >> good morning. it's someone who worked in the bush --

    >> is one of your --

    >> told me how terrible it is when you go on foreign visits and you get a gift completely wrong.

    >> president got grief for that first gift he gave the queen, the first time he met the queen of england. a set of dvds. everybody's going, you think you've got it wriright and the protocol stuff, the hard et job in any government. so what inspired you to say, okay, i want to do a show on politics. and i'm going to use the veep as the character?

    >> well, two-part question. first, politics. i'm a bit of a political geek. as a comedian, you always write about what you know and interests you. i'm one of those kids --

    >> we welcome, we love that. welcome to the club .

    >> i was one of those in the uk who stay up very late to watch the u.s. election results when i was 12. but also there's something -- to the outside world , america and american politics play such a -- has such a wide role, such impact that it's inevitable you're going to be drawn to that. i think there's also something funny about the way the constitution works. if there's bipartisanship, it functions. the moment people start to segregate into their own areas and ideologies, it breaks down. and that's the area i wanted to tap into.

    >> what's interesting, in the first season, i'm a viewer. the first season, you didn't -- i didn't get the sense you were trying to write about the current day issues of american politics . in this season, a dramatic change.

    >> well, yes. i mean, stuff is happening in this season, then happening the following week in real life . the season is overshadowed by a spy scandal and who knew what and what senate --

    >> i know, the spy scandal. like, there you go.

    >> right. i think the first season we wanted to get to know her and also the role of vice president. she describes as a very strange -- there are only two constitutional functions you have as vice president. one is you take over if the president's incapacitated. the second one is, president of the senate . anything else you have is entirely dependent on how well you get on with the president. that can vary from day to day .

    >> let's talk about your choice of having a female vice president. i can tell you in my household there is cringing. is she the best portrayal of a future woman vice president? worried they're playing into too many stereotypes, too erratic, too this or too many air headed.

    >> if it was a male character, i wonder how many people would say that. it's interesting, we decide when we wrote the pilot script to make it a female vice president simply because we didn't want people to think, oh, is this all about joe biden or al gore . so we thought, let's make her female. once we made that decision, we decided not to make the show about being a woman in politics. it's actually irrelevant what gender she is.

    >> do you think as though this show gets more popular and we get closer to some other woman running for president that the comparisons are going to pop up?

    >> probably. you can't win.

    >> you cannot win there other than making it funny which you do very well. keep writing about politics. this is good. political culture , fun. proves that maybe we're all not wasting our time here in washington. thank you so much. we'll be back with our gaggle. first, the white house soup of the day . we know you care. it's chicken noodle . the president's away so everybody's getting cozy with chicken noodle . we'll be right back.


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