Louis-Dreyfus draws laughs in 'Veep' 0
Julia Louis-Dreyfus in "Veep."
Politicians have a sign language all their own, according to Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
"Politicians tend to do this," said Louis-Dreyfus, gesturing with her hand, thumb locked on top of a clenched fist. You know, it's the movement Bill Clinton perfected.
"It feels like an incredibly unnatural human gesture," Louis-Dreyfus continued. "And I think it's because (politicians) are afraid of pointing, for fear that looks too aggressive, or gesturing like this (making a fist), which is, of course, incredibly aggressive.
"There's something about a kind of minimized thumb on top of a clenched fist that is a middle-ground gesture."
Louis-Dreyfus' new series Veep, which debuts Sunday on HBO Canada, doesn't aspire to the middle ground comedically, even though it exists in the landscape of national politics.
"I remember (Veep executive-producer, writer and director Armando Iannucci) said once that in Washington, there are so many good people doing the wrong things for the right reasons, and the right things for the wrong reasons," Louis-Dreyfus said. "This show sort of speaks to that middle area."
In Veep, Louis-Dreyfus stars as vice-president of the United States Selina Meyer, a woman who balances good intentions, professional ambition and the responsibilities and humiliations that accompany her so-close-and-yet-so-far existence.
Selina repeatedly asks her secretary, "Did the president call?" You can guess what the answer usually is.
"This is not the job (Selina) expected it to be," said Louis-Dreyfus, who is best known for her award-winning portrayal of Elaine Benes on Seinfeld.
"(Vice-president) a very powerful position, and yet at the same time, I don't think there's a politician out there that you would say aspires to be vice-president. So it's a strange paradox in that sense."
It never is specified whether Selina is a Republican or a Democrat, and it doesn't matter in the world of Veep.
It's more about how Selina and the people around her bounce between micro and macro issues on a day-to-day basis. Problems include everything from Selina bargaining with powerful people to forward her "clean jobs" initiative, to over-analyzing what flavour of frozen yogurt she should order during a photo-op.
Favourites among the cast include Tony Hale -- aka Buster Bluth on Arrested Development -- as Selina's nervous and looming personal aide; Matt Walsh as Selina's director of communications, who may or may not have an imaginary dog that gets him out of various functions; and Timothy C. Simons as a condescending White House liaison, who never lets Selina and her staff forget that he works in the same building as the president, and they don't.
"I guess I'm a little bit cynical (about politics), but I choose to be more hopeful than cynical, because otherwise I'd collapse into a crying heap -- we wouldn't want that," said Louis-Dreyfus, 51. "So I would like to be hopeful, but it's tough out there right now, for sure."
While humour is a very personal thing, we have to say that we find Veep hilarious.
It starts a little slowly, but stick with it till the end of the first episode and you may feel as if you've been given a plum patronage appointment.