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If COVID Happened in ‘Veep,’ Showrunner Says Selina Meyer Would Actually Be Competent

David Mandel imagines that Julia Louis-Dreyfus' diplomatically challenged POTUS would probably do a better job than most real-life world leaders.

Veep Season 7 Episode 1 Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “Veep”

Colleen Hayes/HBO

While we’re all inside marathon-watching television until our eyeballs bleed and the bedsores take hold, it’s fun to imagine what certain shows might look like in the time of the coronavirus. This week, Vulture did just that, polling 37 TV writers on what their characters in series new and old might do in a pandemic.

The lineup includes Tina Fay and Mike Schur, writers from “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Riverdale,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Frasier,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “One Day at Time,” “You,” and many more of your at-home comfort favorites. The standout, however, and the one that feels most inherent to the series’ established DNA, is executive producer and showrunner David Mandel’s spec take on what the world of “Veep” might look like today, and how perennially incompetent V.P. turned POTUS Selina Meyer would actually… pull it off and save the day? (She did free Tibet, after all, even though the credit went to her arch-nemesis Laura Montez).

This bit of “Veep” fan-fiction is written in the form of an excerpt from Selina Meyer’s biography “Size 2: The Year(s) of Selina Meyer,” “written” by Robert A. Caro, who’s penned tomes charting the lives of such political figureheads as Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert Moses.

“On the morning of January 3, President Meyer received her usual intelligence briefing and was informed of disturbing discussions between the Chinese government and the head of the CDC, her former physician, Dr. Hector Abernathy. This was the first on-the-record mention of the virus which had been spreading in the Wuhan province of China. According to contemporaneous notes, the president initially remarked ‘Ruh-roh’ but then quickly lost interest and instead asked Dr. Abernathy a series of extensive follow-up questions on “what he could do about a real national crisis: her neck.'”

But it turns out, in “Veep: COVID Edition,” Meyer shocks everyone by being astonishingly prepared for the crisis at hand, thanks to her trusted staff, including Richard Splett and his background in veterinary medicine.

“Meyer and Splett, with an almost three-month head start, had millions of COVID-19 tests waiting, with multiple testing centers set up across every state, which allowed them to track the virus and beat it back.” Imagine that!

“In one of her few successful speeches to the nation, Meyer demanded citizens in every state practice social distancing. Meyer told the nation that she herself would ‘stay at least 30 feet from her daughter Catherine’ if she could.”

Finally, the story goes, “when it came to the coronavirus, Selina Meyer, who some historians would argue was the most incompetent president since James Buchanan, did what any sensible politician with a brain — from either party — would have done.”

Head over to Vulture to read more speculative coronavirus episodes.

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