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Julia Louis-Dreyfus is elected 'Veep' in new HBO series

January 13, 2012 | 12:11 pm

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is second-in-command in HBO's 'Veep'
In HBO's new comedy, "Veep," Julia Louis-Dreyfus is hardly a pitbull with lipstick. She's more like a confused poodle who wants to be a pitbull with lipstick but, instead, got elected as the vice president of the United States.

Minutes before Julianne Moore took the stage to discuss inhabiting the role of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for the upcoming HBO film "Game Change," Louis-Dreyfus was on deck at the Television Critics Assn. media tour to discuss her role as Selina Meyer, a former senator who finds herself as second-in-command of the United States. It's a position nothing like she thought it would be -- the president is nowhere to be found, her speeches get redacted, leaving her with nothing but prepositions to recite, and she's somehow always running down halls. 

We don't know what political party Meyer belongs to and she's not as calculating as real-life politicians. And she, like the rest of the country, has embraced a "green" initiative.

"She doesn’t have a phony set of ideals," the former "Seinfeld" star said during Friday's panel. "But she wants to stay alive as a political animal."

The series, which is set to premiere April 22, has a bit of the romanticism of "The West Wing" but also hints at the "cynical, corrupt, sinister" world of politics, said creator and executive producer Armando Iannucci, who wrote the British film "In The Loop"-- which was also a satirical look at the world of politics.

"I'm a big fan of 'The West Wing,' " Iannucci said. "At this particular point, that portrayal of Washington as a clean and noble heartland just wouldn't wash with the public. We've seen too much."

So why a show on the unglamoruous position? "For me there was something in that role that had comic potential -- not the comedy you would initially think about," Iannucci said. "The thing about it is your so near and yet so far. You're so close to power and yet your removed from it. Your identity is entirely in the web of the President. If he likes you, he’ll give you power. [The vice president] is not in control of [his or her] own destiny."

But sometimes there are moments of hope. In one scene from a preview of the show, Meyer gets word that the president has had a heart attack. Her reaction is more of what could be than actual worry.

“There’s a lot of disappointment," Louis-Dreyfus said of her character. "But there are moments of glory -- though I must say they are not long-lasting moments.”

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-- Yvonne Villarreal

Twitter.com/villarrealy

Photo: Julia Louis-Dreyfus receives her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010. Credit: Getty Images

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