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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Boss and Veep- Lessons in how good lead actors can save shows

Boss- season one
We know many of you have been waiting for us to finish the first season of this show. We finally did. While we didn't love it, we were impressed with Kelsey's performance, and it is absolutely the best original show we've ever seen on Starz. We didn't think that channel was capable of making anything of this caliber, especially after Camelot (ugh, we've hardly ever hated a show as much as that one). It's a smart show about corruption and a powerful man losing control. So why didn't we love it? We just ended up not caring about the characters. We were impressed with the script and acting, but the show never pulled us in to the point where we had to know what happened next. Also, we didn't care about some of the subplots. It's a cold, cynical show, and whether you like that is a personal taste thing. 

We always mention Breaking Bad when we talk about joy in gritty shows. Breaking Bad handles very dark material, but you always feel good after watching it. There's a dark, maniacal humor running underneath it. Boss is the opposite of that. Dark material, flatly dark tone. We recognize that this show is quality, but it's not something we would recommend to anyone we actually know. If you like it, we certainly won't make fun of you (because it's a good show), but we're going to know that it's 90% personal taste. It gets boring in places, and it's often work to watch it. We thought the pilot was one of the slowest pilots we'd ever seen. We don't like the way the show handles sex at all, ever. Everything to do with sex on this show is dumb. If you love this show though, we get it. 
Season grade: B
Update: Boss was cancelled by Starz this week. Regrettable, but we understand how it might have been too gloomy for most people

Veep- season one
Was this supposed to be funny? We can't believe it was so recognized at the Emmys. Like Boss, this show has a dark outlook on politics, but rather than taking notes from Boss and using that outlook to be intriguing and smart, this comedy just ends up feeling mean, petty, and elitist. We love Julia and think she's gorgeous and talented, but she's better than this show. She completely saves it in every way. Everything that's good about it comes from the performances, not the writing. The show is not mean in a risk-taking way like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia either. Its material is very safe. The jokes are unoriginal and sometimes pointlessly raunchy. The plots are dull. You don't root for anyone. Wow, we hated this show. 
Season grade: D+


  1. Have you seen "The Thick of It"? This is the UK show that VEEP is based on. I didn't mind VEEP but it was really very mild in comparison to the UK show, which has the best insults ever. And yes, you are not meant to like anyone on VEEP.

    The purpose of VEEP and The Thick of It are to contrast the with the portrayal of politics as seen in West Wing with the dirty tricksters that politicians and advisors are in a closer reality. Does that make sense?

    My sisters work in government and the abuse and bullying occurs, unfortunately Aaron Sorkin's world of the West Wing isn't quite so accurate.


    1. Sad to hear. Leeard loves TWW and I'm just now starting to watch it. And no, we haven't seen the UK show. The purpose makes sense. A show like that is needed in the US, but it needs to be funny

      I know you're not supposed to ADMIRE anyone on Veep, but sometimes you get baddies you kind of like. Examples: GOB in Arrested Development, Dwight in The Office, George in Seinfeld. That's the kind of thing Veep needs. A despicable character you love and root for even though they are the worst.

  2. Buster from Arrested Development in VEEP is probably the most likable.