Veep season 7: why your universe has Hamilton and 9/11 but no Obama


Perhaps theories about the multiverse are not the first thing you think about when you think Veep. HBO's caustic satire on narcissistic politics Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her group of miserable employees began their seventh and final season with an episode in which Meyer's campaign begins to derail for incompetence and news of shootings in pasta. The show seems, sometimes, a bit also real.

But while VeepThe reality is very much like ours in many ways (even the bunch of characters addicted to politics), there are some big differences between the two. Somewhere around the 1980s, Selina Meyer's universe seems to have separated from us in significant ways. There are no Clintons or Bushes in the world of Veepand no Obamas either.

The show is more interested in dividing the politics itself than specific parties and people. Therefore, it is always consciously distanced from the details of the real world. No real politicians appear on the show, and VeepThe writers try to prevent the public from knowing which political party the candidates also belong to.

But sometimes there is a link, regardless. And I'm a nerd multiverse enough to start getting slightly obsessed with figuring out where VeepThe universe and ours divide, and why some historical events seem to have happened in both places. So I thought it best to take my questions to the source: David Mandel, VeepCurrent showrunner, who took the place of the creator of the series Armando Iannucci after the fourth season.

I spoke to Mandel over the phone the night before the opening of the seventh season. We discussed the writers theory of the series for Veep schedule why Hamilton exists in your world, as the program continues to predict things that happen in our own political reality, and what is the role of Beyoncé in all of this. Our conversation, which has been slightly edited for clarity, is below.

(Very mild spoilers for two episodes of Veep the seventh season follows.)

Alissa Wilkinson

I was watching again the sixth season of the show, and sometime Jonah Ryan starts talking about Hamilton. I was like, wait a second – Hamilton exists in the world of Veep? So I knew I needed to ask him about the relationship between Veep universe and our own.

So, first of all: their world separated from ours around Ronald Reagan, right?

David Mandel

I believe that before they took over, they had come to Carter. And at some point or another, I think we've added Reagan. And I'm not going to lie: We've added a lot of Nancy Reagan jokes; which may have been one of the main reasons.

So we went so far as to appoint presidents. We never name anyone else [from our world], but we have appointed other presidents [from theirs] in the "Library" episode. So along with Hughes, I think Selina found Stevenson. I mean they made reference to a third name as well. But they are all white men looking very similar, as you might imagine.

We do not necessarily talk about it in the writing room, but I'm going to get really super nerdy on you.

The Veep world is like ours, but it's not the same world.

The world of Veep it's like ours, but it's not the same world.

There are a couple of different theories of time travel. But the first key is to accept that time is like a stream or a river. Time is flowing in one direction. Sometimes you put a large object – say, a rock – in the flow of time, and the water flows around it. If you lock enough, you can create a split. Is very Back to the future part II, if you are looking for conceptual backup. It is where I learned most of my science, Back to the future part II.

So there is this idea that basically, at some point, the flow of time did split But because it is a raging river to begin with, there are certain things that will happen no matter what. So, although we are in different Veep9/11 happened in your world. It's just that George W. Bush was not president.

Whoever was president ended up acting similarly, though. We mentioned Osama bin Laden, and [9/11 attack ringleader] Mohammed Atta gets a message this year. But we also talk about long wars in Afghanistan, that sort of thing.

So specificities have changed in this unfolding of our world, but the general flow of time has caused certain things, such as Hamilton. Now, I can not tell you that Lin-Manuel Miranda is the author of Hamilton [atthe[inthe[no[intheVeep universe]. But there is a popular musical called Hamilton in your world.

This is our kind of joke. [in the writers’ room]. We laughed a lot about the different time flows and other possible time flows.

Of course, everyone is always asking about Donald Trump. Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Is there a Trump character? Veep flow of time, there may be a Donald Trump, living on Long Island. But he is the manager of an athletic sneaker shop. Some people exist, but they have very different lives in the Veep world than they do in our world. Years ago, I wrote the episode "Bizarro Jerry" by Seinfeld. There is a bit of that kind of bizarre thinking for the whole thing, the idea that people end up in very different roles.

The only thing we did for any reason – we really screwed up one day writing about it, which I'm sure HBO really wants to hear – one thing we're sure of is that Beyoncé can exist on all the various timelines. But it's just 1 Beyoncé, who has the ability to travel in between different schedules. She's the only one who knows what's going on. Veep world, and our world, and also in 14 other schedules.

I am sure that at this time, your readers are closing their computers and canceling the subscription of anything that can cancel your subscription.

Alissa Wilkinson

I think a lot of people could understand the idea of ​​Beyoncé being omniscient. But it is interesting to entertain a world where Hamilton happens, but Obama does not.

David Mandel

Hamilton is popular and is clear about certain things; I think Jonah makes a joke about a black guy shooting at Hamilton, which means they have a similarly fluid cast to the race – one of the wonderful things that makes Hamilton what is it. But, technically speaking, we do not really know all the details about the musical in our world.

But what this means is that, just like September 11, Hamilton it had to happen. No matter what. And I think there's something cool about it. Obviously, it's awful for the bad things. But it's cool for the good stuff. I'm sure Einstein would be good at it: if you accept multiple sets of time and space, Hamilton It's still a great play.

Alissa Wilkinson

In this new season, it is obvious that the #MeToo movement also happened.

David Mandel

Yes, 100% I think we'll never say "Me too," but in episode two, Selina is talking to one of the new characters, Senator Kemi Talbot (Toks Olagundoye). Selina asks her what happened to another male senator. She asks, "Is he still taking your ass? Did he try to get his ass? "Selina, of course, kind of liked it [when that male senator grabbed her butt]because he was very complimentary about his ass. Of course, Kemi is horrified and says something like, "No, he was censored and removed from office."

Selina says, "Why?" You know, very innocently – and then she says something like, "Oh, right, because that's bad right now."

So yeah: the #MeToo movement definitely happened. I'm guessing it happened a lot the way it happened in our world. But I can not swear 100 percent. I'm guessing Veep world, instead of masturbating in potted plants, maybe Harvey Weinstein masturbates on waffles. This can be one of the differences in the timeline. We're not sure where he masturbated.

Alissa Wilkinson

Have you seen the new Spider man movie, On the back of the spider?

David Mandel

I have indeed. Yes, exactly – maybe there's a kind of president of different presidents from different universes. But yes. Same idea.

Alissa Wilkinson

Is there anything that happened in our world that you really would like to have access to, to write jokes? I was thinking that Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" would have provided a lot of material Veep world.

David Mandel

Usually yes. But I'll be honest, if we need to, we'll figure out our way.

By the sixth season, Jonah was trying to date – his counselors felt that, as a congressman, he really needed a spouse. [in order to reach] the next level in Washington. I do not know if you remember – it was not a Bookbinder Full of women, but Kent put together a spreadsheet and a slideshow of available women.

Jonah Ryan in Veep

He is running.

But you're right – it's a wonderful phrase. But we can always find something like that. In that case, obviously, we have our own sub-movement of the #MeToo movement, which is in episode two [of the final season], the movement "It's not me". It's sort of unfolding if you want.

Alissa Wilkinson

I personally was really surprised, watching the upcoming episodes of the seventh season, that Selina suddenly comes up with the idea of ​​announcing an early racing buddy as a political tactic. That had only was on the news that day, as something Joe Biden could try.

David Mandel

We are proud of that. So: We have these wonderful consultants in the program. Norm Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute. Eric Lesser, formerly of the Obama administration. Jeremy Bash [who was chief of staff at the CIA and the Department of Defense under Obama] is available to us. Anita McBride, who was incredibly close to the Bush White House. [Veteran TV executive] Tammy Haddad is a show advisor. If these people can not answer my questions, they will get me someone who can. Mitt Romney came to our offices. People come to our offices – it's really cool. I can call them on the phone.

And so, somewhere, coming back maybe two years ago, that was a rumor: someone told us that [choosing a running mate early] It was something Biden could entertain. But it was not public.

I thought it was great and I wrote it because it was a very interesting snack. And it was perfect and exciting, and also, I dare say, something desperate for Selina to do in that episode.

We put it, as we do with many of these things, hoping that it would break us. If the idea of ​​Biden was released two years ago, we would probably have changed it to something else. In this case, we write, so we kind of forget it. It was just a beating in history.

And then, a week before our debut, it's a front-page story.

Now it seems, of course, that we see the future. But this happens a lot with Veep. We put the research on we'll do something like "Jonah hates daylight saving time." Then cut it now: it's almost a dominant antipathy, as opposed to Jonah's thing.

I wanted to do a story about the anti-vax movement and the continuing war on science and facts. I did not imagine that in our world, New York and parts of the West Coast were falling sick and dying of measles. But we have a line coming, I believe, in the sixth episode, in which Amy tells Jonah something like "This question united the orthodox Jews," and I think something like "yoga moms who eat kombucha." just the most punctual thing you can draw on that map now.

Sometimes we play in the office which is a bit like – you know the movie Candy manwhere you say his name three times and you call him? It's as if, if we wrote it in a script and said it a few times, that would happen.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, who is back on the campaign in the seventh season.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, who is back on the campaign in the seventh season.

Alissa Wilkinson

What brings what's funny about the Veep universe: Two women managed to become president accidentally. But no one by heart has been president, unless you count on Laura Montez, although the program makes it clear that her background is a bit bleak.

David Mandel

Well, Laura Montez tells herselfCertainly.

I hate to say that, but if the Veep universe at this time had a president who was a person of color and several female presidents, I think we would be worried if we had built something like a Valhalla Asgardian or a nirvana of some sort. People began to ask themselves, "Where does this show happen? In Paradise?"

Maybe the price of not having Obama in Veep was an accidental female president. Because even in Veep world, they are not quite ready for a woman to win.

Alissa Wilkinson

This season begins with a group of candidates who dispute the nomination of their party. I know the parts in Veep they are not the same as in our world. But it looks a lot like the current Democratic nomination race for 2020.

David Mandel

Right. But you have to always remember that it was – well, just two years ago – there were 20 Republicans on the screen doing the same thing.

It's a constant thing, and it's going to look a little more democrat this time around. It's about pioneers. And, I would say, if anyone wants to scale Jonah in a specific role, it becomes clear that he is the kind of candidate that people do not think has a chance, and then he starts to amaze people. Now that sounds very republican. But he may also feel a bit democrat. At the Veep world, it is not, and it is both. Do you know what I mean?


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