On a recent afternoon, Louis-Dreyfus and the rest of the cast and crew are putting in a long day finishing the last few scenes in“Veep’s” much-anticipated second season, which begins airing Sunday night. During a short break, Louis-Dreyfus is wearing jeans, a snug black top and comfy boots. She is curled up in the sort of enormous reclining chair you see only in VIP trailers and man caves.
From the neck up, she is veeped-out and ready for the rest of the day’s scenes, sporting the careful, chin-length tresses of her character, Vice President Selina Meyer. It’s a wig (It’s a wig?), which has the appropriate effect of making Selina’s head look a tad too large.
Speaking of hair, at one point in Sunday’s season premiere, Selina must endure a grueling round of 27 satellite interviews on the local affiliate morning news show circuit. She’s working on no sleep, having spent the night watching midterm election losses that have sent the White House into a tailspin. To make it just that much more taxing, Selina’s hair has been blown out into a hideous Lady Bird helmet. It’s another tiny but perfect detail in what has to come feel like the only show that has ever gotten the mundane absurdity of Washington.
In “Veep,” Selina is mainly the victim of her own hubris, casting about on a sea of political whim and raw ambition. Her frequent public gaffes travel at the speed of tweet, leaving her in a perpetual state of damage control.
But what the public sees of Selina is nothing compared with what goes down in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where the vice president is a foul-mouthed, egocentric boss surrounded by an inept and panicky staff, all but one of whom are more concerned with their careers than Selina’s political agenda. The exception would be Gary Walsh (played by Tony Hale), Selina’s loyal “bag man,” who follows at her side and anticipates her every need — whether it’s a quick squirt of hand sanitizer, the reapplication of a particular shade of coral lipstick, or whispering the name and personal details of the muckety-muck seconds before Selina shakes his hand (an act of lip-syncing the veep’s staff refers to as “Gary-oke”).