Monday, April 23, 2012


"Nobody puts Baby in the corner", says Patrick Swayze's Catskill resort dance instructor in the movie "Dirty Dancing". Unless- Baby is a US Vice-President such as Julia Dreyfus' character in HBO's "VEEP". Not only is this Baby in the corner, she is abandoned in near empty ballrooms, ignored in lobbyists' offices, and forgotten by the man who chose her to be his running mate. She interests only the comedy writers, who turn this thirty minute series into a relentless stream of one liners by characters embodying Irony, Smirk, and Twitter-ing cuteness.

No one thinks much of that office, but the men who have held it esteem it least. Daniel Webster refused to take the job, saying he did not"intend to be buried until I am dead". If I read Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson, I might know what the Texan thought of living entombment, but for him it ended up being transient- courtesy of Lee Harvey Oswald. Had Kennedy lived, Johnson would never been photographed picking his beagle up by the ears, and reporters would have been denied the chance to get interviews while Johnson sat, pants down, on the toilet seat, haranguing them.

I was entertained briefly(for 15 minutes)by this show, but I think wit should be sprinkled sparingly, for it is as precious as saffron. Too much comedy, too many smart remarks, and the priceless unexpectedness of something really funny is lost.

I have read that the series will never show the President. Perhaps because the Presidency is not funny, or maybe because it is unappealing for viewers to see a man turning gray and lined and defeated in a matter of months.

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