AUSTIN, TEXAS — The new season of “Veep” is coming at a time where the media is fascinated with the White House, but according to the cast of the HBO comedy, don’t hold your breath for any Trump-isms in the upcoming sixth season.
“A lot of the writing came basically last June, so way before he won and Hillary lost,” showrunner David Mandel said about President Donald Trump, during a Monday afternoon panel for HBO’s series at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. “We’re not ‘Saturday Night Live’ and if we try to make a joke about what Trump did yesterday on ‘Veep,’ it won’t air until it’s the stalest joke ever,” he added.
“I think that we’ve set up this premise for our show which is this alternate political universe,” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus said on the panel. “We don’t have any real-life celebrities on the show, we don’t have real-life journalists, and frankly, with political history, we don’t really reference anyone beyond Reagan.”
Aside from being a Trump-free season, here’s what we learned about “Veep” Season 6 at SXSW…
Donald Trump Won’t Mistakenly Show Up in the Background…Unless He’s in LA
“Veep” used to film in Baltimore, Maryland, but now shoots in Los Angeles. But that doesn’t mean the show won’t get a good glimpse of Washington D.C.
“This year, we ended up faking some D.C. and New York,” Mandel said. “We wanted that east coast look, but we found some staircases and some columns that did us okay. It’s quite easy to do.”
Obama’s Post-Presidency Will Have an Impact on Selina’s New Life
Though Trump won’t have much of an impact on Season 6, former President Barack Obama could — especially since Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus) is also now out of office.
“Please keep your eyes on Obama,” teased Mandel. “What’s very exciting for us — and this is not giving away stuff — is as you’ve seen him sign his book deal for a lot of money, don’t be surprised if you see Selina sign a book deal, although maybe for not as much money.”
The showrunner explained that the writers looked to other former presidents for inspiration on Selina’s new life, adding, “Jimmy Carter [did] actual humanitarian work. I think as you start to think about it, you’ll start to get an idea of where the new season is going.”
Expect a Lot of Gary and Selina Time
With Selina out of the White House, she’ll have a lot more free time on her hands — even time to cook a homemade meal for Gary in an episode, Mandel teased.
Tony Hale chimed in, adding, “One exciting thing for Gary now that she’s not president is I get a lot more time with her. I get a lot more one-on-one time with Selina, and I’m very excited about that.”
What Happens to Everyone Else Now That Selina Is Not President?
With Selina no longer president, the cast was all very curious where their storylines would go in Season 6.
“That environment came to a halt, and so I was really dumbfounded as to where they would go with that,” said star Gary Cole, who adds that he was surprised not everyone stays in D.C. to reap the benefits of a post-political career. “What happens to the administration is they scatter…the way that was orchestrated was terrific. That’s the thing I’ll remember about this season.”
Louis-Dreyfus added, “We have found a way to blow up the premise yet again. We found a way to do it when Selina won for president and then she lost, and we found a way to do it again, which creatively, has been very exciting.”
Issues Explored in Season 6 Include Daylight Savings and Prisons
“You’re going to see a lot of daylight savings and the privatization of prisons,” Mandel teased about issues covered in the upcoming seasons.
There’s No End In Sight for ‘Veep’
When asked how many seasons “Veep” can continue, Mandel said, “Honestly all we wanted to be is great…If we ever aren’t that, I hope we’d have the sense to end it, but as long as it is that…this is just about the greatest thing to do in the way.”
During the discussion, moderated by Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press,” the panel said that “Veep” could never be on a broadcast network, and Louis-Dreyfus was asked if she would ever return to network television in her future. She said, “I can’t even fathom that right now. My head is in this show. It takes a lot of thought and energy, so I’m not really thinking about the next gig at all. I’m really not.”