I didn’t watch last night’s debate (sue me), but I have seen all seven seasons of the incredible Julia Louis Dreyfus-vehicle Veep, and isn’t that enough? Louis-Dreyfus, apparently, couldn’t watch all of it either—the whole thing felt too close to the show’s depiction of the toxic narcissism and pettiness of Washington, D.C.
“I’ve learned a lot about politics, and I’ve got a sense of the true anxiety that probably a lot of these people feel, going in and trying sell themselves, as a candidate, as a brand, and make a stamp—as themselves but quickly,” she says. (The lines between art and life were further blurred when Marianne Williamson plugged the Elaine Benes catchphrase “yada, yada” in one of her responses.)
But that’s actually a pretty good summation of what this year’s Democratic primary debates have been like. (I did watch the first one and the ones last month, okay?) Because there’s roughly eleven billion people on stage, they each get about five seconds to really sell their candidacy. It’s a faulty system, and while it may be one notch above having the candidates arm wrestle while simultaneously trying to roast each other, it often feels, well, exactly like that.
Which is awful! Even Louis-Dreyfus couldn’t watch the whole thing: “As I was watching the debate tonight, it gave me a lot of anxiety, I had to kind of turn away.” When Kimmel asks if D.C. is really like Veep, Louis-Dreyfus gleefully mock-whispers: “It is.”
Either she’s just saying to keep my conspiracy theories about how awful politicians are alive (and thus, keep nurturing my love of her show), or she’s telling the truth. I hope it’s the latter, but if it’s the former, that’s some Selina Meyer-level thinking, and I’d respect that too.