Veep is about to unleash its sixth season and its first in the age of Trump. But just how much did the new president influence the new season of HBO’s beloved political satire? On Monday, the cast and creators sat down with Meet the Press host, Chuck Todd, at SXSW and addressed that very question. The answer? Not much at all.
“All of the [sixth] season was basically written and put together,” before Trump won, said showrunner David Mandel. “Way before he won, Hillary lost, [and] had it gone the other way… this is basically what we were going to do,” he added.
Despite Mandel’s attempt to distance his show from Trump, he did admit that there will be “occasional jokes” aimed at or inspired by the president. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays the former vice president-turned-president, Selina Meyer, is happy that the show basically ignores the Trumpverse altogether. “I think that we’ve set up this premise for our show which is this alternate political universe,” she said. “And we don’t have any real-life celebrities on the show, we don’t have real-life journalists, and frankly, in terms of actual political history, we don’t really reference anybody beyond Reagan.”
If there is one president the show will be looking to for inspiration, it’s former President Barack Obama, who has far more in common with Meyer than our current POTUS, says Mandel. “Keep your eyes on Obama, and I mean this in [generally] a good way,” he explains. “What’s very exciting for us, and this is not giving away stuff, but as you’re seeing him sign his book deal for a lot of money, don’t be surprised if Selina signs a book deal for not quite so much money. I know the press is, ‘Trump, Trump, Trump,’ but as you watch Obama over these next couple of years as you watched Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, there’s an incredible role they’re playing.”
Does this mean we can expect to see Meyer kitesurfing with Richard Branson? While there’s no sign of that happening in the just-released full-length trailer, our fingers are crossed. Veep returns Aril 16 on HBO. Watch the trailer above.