“Veep” isn’t trying to eviscerate any one politician — not even an easy, tiny-handed target — but history is doomed to repeat itself. And David Mandel, the “Veep” showrunner since Season 5, takes his history very, very seriously.
Before each season, the writer-producer gets his staff together with political advisors to break down new arcs and study the relevant history related to them. Presidents — and vice-presidents — set precedent for each other, and knowing as much can create stories with unexpected topicality.
Take, for instance, the vagi-brary.
In the Season 6 finale of “Veep,” Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is shown the design for her presidential library, invoking a quick realization — and fun new nickname for it — from the staff. A few days after the episode aired, a photo surfaced of George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art and there were… similarities.
These kind of coincidences aren’t necessarily the result of Mandel’s thorough research, but they embody his series’ relationship with the real world. It’s coasting alongside it, skewering and commenting on the inanity of our culture, without taking pot shots at specific people. We’re all to blame for the world we live in, and “Veep” takes no prisoners.
Perhaps that’s why so many politicians from both sides of the aisle think the series skewers the other party far more than their own. Or it’s why “Veep” doesn’t bring in actual politicians for cameo roles, or why the series caps history at Ronald Reagan before setting up its own backstory after the Gipper.
Mandel stopped by the Very Good Television Podcast to discuss all these things, as well as tease Season 7. The writing staff is underway as you read this, tackling a new season where Selina Meyer may make another bid for the presidency.
Mandel’s not promising she’ll run, just that “she wants to run.” That coincides with another nugget: the Meyer clan will be spending a good chunk of time in Iowa, where candidates hone their messages and voters weed out those who want to be president from those who actually can be.
Listen to the episode above, and don’t forget to subscribe via Soundcloud or iTunes, and follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for all your pertinent TV news. Check out Liz and Ben’s Twitter feeds for more, more, more. Plus, don’t forget to listen to IndieWire’s other podcasts: Screen Talk with Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson, as well as Michael Schneider’s podcast, Turn It On, which spotlights the most important TV of each week.