The end of Veep is near: HBO announced on Friday that the premiere date for the comedy’s final season will be March 31 at 10:30 p.m. Star Julia Louis-Dreyfus and showrunner David Mandel appeared at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour (the actress via satellite) and dropped a few cryptic hints about how the Emmy-winning political comedy centered on former POTUS Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus) will wrap up its story.
“I’m not going to say that Selina evolves except to say that she’s as true to herself as she can possibly be by the time this season ends,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “I’ll leave it for you to determine whether or not that’s a good thing. But I’m not sure that evolution is her game. And what I would also add is, where our show ends up is a place I’m very happy about. And I think it will surprise viewers, too.
“It’s the right ending for America,” Mandel quipped.
Season 7 of Veep, which follows Selina on her bid to to return to the White House, will consist of seven episodes, which is a few episodes shorter than normal. But Mandel promised no shortage of laughs in this season. “They’re crazy-jam-packed episodes,” he said. “I think you’ll find there’s more than 10 episodes worth of material jammed into them.”
What was it like to film a final chapter to Selina’s story? “I was so overcome with joy and grief, a joy and grief mashup, as this show ended, and it was really surprising to me,” shared Louis-Dreyfus. “Saying goodbye to it was a very hard thing to do.” Added Mandel: “I was a crying wreck.”
Louis-Dreyfus acknowledged that today’s absurd, alarming political climate did make it harder for the show — which began in 2012, in much different times — to mine comedy and plot. “Given our current political climate, it’s been more challenging for us to push boundaries,” she said. “Having said that, we have this great virtue of having not identified party in our show… We’re in an alternate universe, and that’s helpful, particularly now. It’s in many ways why the show has lasted as long as it has, because it kind of invites everyone to party… In a way, it’s more apt than it’s ever been, given the current insanity we’re all living in.”
She also noted that while there are plenty of events going on in today’s political climate that are even “too extreme” for the show, she notes that this year, as in the past, the show will “touch on things that happened or are happening purely by coincidence.” And in talking about pushing boundaries, she noted that her character was a female President of the United States.
Veep went on hiatus last year while Louis-Dreyfus underwent treatment for cancer, and the political turmoil going on allowed Mandel and the writers to recalibrate the season. “It did give us a chance to sit back and try, even though we don’t have historical perspective, to go, ‘What are politics about?'” said Mandel, who made Louis-Dreyfus crack up when he quipped that he “gave her cancer” by poisoning her. “And we did actually make some changes not to where we got to, but some of the journey and some of the details at the end. Which I’m so happy he did, and that’s something I’ve never really done, ever, is deviate a little from the plan.”
Veep also stars Tim Simons, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Matt Wash, Kevin Dunn, Sam Richardson, Gary Cole, Reid Scott, Sarah Sutherland, and Clea DuVall.