In the week before the premiere of HBO's Girls an average of 23 articles were published about the show every day. Veep, the network's other new half-hour comedy, was the subject of an average of 3.1 articles per day. (Data via Google Trends.) And yet Veep drew 1.7 million viewers for its premiere, while Girls picked up 1.1 million.
Who knows what this means? We do: it means that the internet is not real life, and people might actually relate better to — or at least recognize — the narcissistic, unscrupulous, incompetent politicos on Veep than they do the narcissistic, unscrupulous, incompetent young city-dwellers on Girls. Also, it means that it's time for us to start shitting on Veep. Below, a preview of the coming week's editorial schedule:
Nepotism: Girls has been criticized for the extensive pedigrees of its stars, each of whom has at least one famous parent in the world of the arts. But Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is heir to an enormous shipping fortune — and more importantly is married to powerful former Saturday Night Live actor Brad Hall. Writer Will Smith has the same name as a world-famous leading man. And show creator Armando Iannucci's father ran a pizza factory. A pizza factory. 'Nuff said.
Depiction of sex: Some have claimed that Girls' sometimes-dark sex scenes reveal a generation whose sexual expression has been crippled by shifting gender roles, casual sex and pornography. But Veep has no sex at all. Does Veep hate sex? Is Game of Thrones the only HBO show to show a positive and healthy attitude toward sex in its appropriate context (i.e. only when someone else in the room is giving an extended expository monologue)? Someone call Katie Roiphe.
Treatment of race: Critics have taken Girls to task for its lack of diversity and tone-deafness on race issues, both on- and off-screen. But Girls is just a show about some kids in New York. (I think it's satire? Isn't one of them British?) Veep, as the ratings prove, is the voice of a generation, and it doesn't feature a single inept, venal political operative who isn't white — just a single black executive assistant. How can Veep claim to represent the full diversity of the Washington, D.C. political class when it focuses almost exclusively on ambitious and power-hungry white folks? (Seriously, though: what's Harold Ford up to these days? He could probably use the gig.)