‘Veep’ Creator Talks Season 5, Leaving the Series After ‘Election Night’ Finale
Game of Thrones wasn’t the only HBO series to bid a temporary farewell last night, as both Veep and Silicon Valley also closed out the current season, the former of which facing a game of thrones all its own. Now, with Selina’s presidential future in doubt, creator Armando Iannucci shares the reason for leaving the series behind after Season 4, and what the Meyer administration might bring next.
Youre warned of potential spoilers for last night’s Veep Season 4 finale “Election Night,” but questions of whether or not Selina loses the presidency and goes back to her titular title will remain on hold, as a 269 electoral vote put Madame President in a tie with Bill O’Brien (Friday Night Lights alum Brad Leland). Worse than that, should Congress fail to break the tie, the presidency might revert to vp-elect Tom James (Hugh Laurie), who half-jokingly offered Selina a position as his “Veep.”
Of course, Veep has much bigger changes in store for Season 5, as series creator and showrunner Armando Iannucci steps down from travel exhaustion and creative fatigue. In addition to avoiding ideas being spread thin, Iannucci spoke to The Hollywood Reporter of abdicating the throne to new showrunner David Mandel:
There was a mischievous part of me that knew this would be my last season anyway, so I rather liked the idea of leaving that constitutional dilemma to my successor. In terms of the four seasons that I’ve done, it felt like a solution I wanted to make because so much [in politics] is that gridlock that actually the finale has to be in gridlock too. […]
It just unleashes a whole new area to investigate — the exploration of the comedy [and] comic implications of the American constitution — because you’ve got potentially the Supreme Court involved, you’ve got Congress involved, you’ve got obviously lawyers involved and you’ve got state involved. Each season we’ve been widening our zone of investigation. Season one was very much about the small, benign operation of the vice president’s office. In season two, she got a bit more involved in working with the White House, and season three she was campaigning, and season four, she was in the West Wing. She was the president. So, season five should be about how the entire American political process works when it’s faced with constitutional crisis.
As to Iannucci’s decision to step away from the series:
As I was doing season three, I thought in my head that I had one more season in me. It’s two things. [First], it’s just the practicalities of flying backward and forward between London and Baltimore. As you get older, you think jet lag would become easier, but it gets harder, and when you find yourself on set practically falling over with exhaustion, you feel you’re not giving it your best (Laughs). Also, I’ve been doing Veep for four years, and prior to that doing The Thick of It in the U.K. for five or six years, so it felt like 10 years of doing a political comedy show, [so] it’d be good for someone else to inject some fresh energy and fresh ideas.
When you are a showrunner and you’re in all of the show, four or five seasons is the maximum you can do before you start to feel a little bit — you come up with an idea and you say, “Oh hang on, we did that in season two. Oh no, we did that in season three.” You end up overcooking ideas, heightening [them] because you try to stretch things. I fired myself off the show. It shouldn’t be me doing the next [season]. I like the idea of going out on a high other than when you’ve exhausted it to its absolute final [breath]. This has been the strongest season so far, and it allows David to come in with this energy already there and the positivity already there.
It could prove a while yet before Veep shows off any change in tone of Season 5, but did Season 4 close out on its strongest half-hour yet? How might Veep continue to evolve without its central creator at the helm?