I’m in love with the vice president. I’m not talking about Joe Biden, though he is adorable. I’m talking about Julia Louis-Dreyfus on HBO’s new comedy series Veep. Louis-Dreyfus stars as a bumbling United States vice president, and it’s a smart, foulmouthed, incredibly funny trip through Washington’s corridors of power, hypocrisy, and appalling incompetence. It makes an appearance on our Must List this week, and it makes you recognize the gaping hole in pop culture when Louis-Dreyfus isn’t on TV. After Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine, she has already traveled deep into that rarefied realm of leading actors with a résumé full of hit series. She’s a genuine star who lightly carries a consistent persona (hers has a dizzy, endearing air of desperation) from gig to gig, and she possesses the formidable acting skills to do it convincingly. She’s magically, immensely likable, even when her characters’ behavior is grotesque — like when, as a J. Peterman underling, she went crazy with her corporate credit card and charged an $8,000 sable hat, or when, as the nation’s second in command, she struggles to contain her selfish joy upon hearing the president may have had a heart attack. She’s genius, and so’s the show.
But as you may have noticed from the cover, this issue is all about the big screen. And the upcoming summer movie season looks like a doozy. In our annual Summer Movie Preview, our sharp and tireless movie editors — Jeff Giles, Jill Bernstein, and Thom Geier — and their team take you behind the scenes of major-studio behemoths like The Amazing Spider-Man, and they point you toward some smaller gems — like Celeste and Jesse Forever, an irresistible romantic comedy starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg that warmed my heart at Sundance earlier this year. While I’m at it, a shout-out goes to those same editors for taking home the gold at Time Inc.’s Henry R. Luce Awards last week. Their farewell Harry Potter issue (”Thank You, Harry,” July 8/15, 2011) won in the Special Interests category. (It was also a huge seller; as a moviegoer and a magazine editor, I miss Harry Potter very, very much.) And a big round of applause goes to the entire staff, since EW also won the Henry R. Luce award for Magazine of the Year. When I signed on here more than three years ago, I made a deal with myself: No matter how stressful things got (and believe me, reading parents’ angry letters about that cover with the naked stars of The Vampire Diaries isn’t fun), I would remember to be grateful for the greatest job in publishing, and working with the greatest staff in the world. Like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, they are genuine stars, and magically, immensely likable.