By BILL HARRIS
Special to The Lede
“New. Selina. Now.” That’s Selina Meyer’s campaign slogan in the seventh and final season of HBO’s hilarious political comedy VEEP, which debuts Sunday, March 31 at 10:30 p.m. ET, only on Crave.
Yes, Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has won six Emmy® Awards for her role as Meyer, wants to be President of the United States - again. But is this really a new version of Selina, whose previous brief stay in the Oval Office did not exactly go smoothly?
If Selina’s rise has been rocky, the same cannot be said of VEEP, which has broken ground as a TV comedy that often leaves viewers breathless with its outrageous take on the world of politics. As the acclaimed series enters its final campaign, both literally and fictionally, here’s what Louis-Dreyfus had to say at the recent Winter Television Critics Association (TCA) tour:
Q: Is it harder to do this kind of comedy in today's political atmosphere, rather than the atmosphere that existed when the show debuted?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: "The answer to that question is kind of a yes. Given our current political climate, it has been more challenging for us to push boundaries, so to speak. Yes, there are plenty of times when I think (the news) is actually too extreme for our show. But bear in mind that I play a character who was in office, a female President of the United States. That boundary hasn’t been pushed yet (in real life). I think just the fact that I played a female President of the United States was boundary-pushing in and of itself."
Q: When average people talk to you these days, what do they ask you about?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: “They ask me what I think of (U.S. President Donald) Trump, to be honest. That's the question I get. I mean, people recognize me for all of these crazy characters that I've played in my life, including, you know, really silly ones, like Christmas Vacation and all the rest. So it’s always very lovely. But first and foremost now, they want to know about Trump. That's the truth."
Q: What did it feel like as you were filming the final episodes of VEEP?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: "In terms of the bittersweetness, I was so overcome with joy and grief, a joy and grief mash-up, as this show ended, and it really was very surprising to me. I mean, I'm an emotional person anyway, but I will say that it really caught me by surprise. I think that's because this show, frankly, has been my baby (since it debuted in 2012), and I've felt fiercely protective of it, and proud of it. To be part of something this gratifying on a creative level, it’s not lost on me that it's not something that comes along with frequency. So saying goodbye to it was a very hard thing to do, even though it was our decision to do it."
Q: Does Selina Meyer evolve at all in the final season?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: "Well, I'm not going to say that Selina evolves, except to say that she’s truer to herself, as true to herself as she can possibly be, by the time this season ends. I'll leave it for you to determine whether or not that's a good thing. But I'm not sure that evolution is necessarily her game. And I would also add that I think where our show ends up, ultimately, is a place I'm very happy about, and I think it'll surprise viewers, too."