The state of global politics – including Brexit – contributed to the end of Veep by making it more difficult to write a convincing political satire, the show’s executive producer has said.
The critically acclaimed comedy centres on Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Selina Meyer, who began as the vice president before ascending to the Oval Office later in the series.
Created by Scottish writer Armando Iannucci as an adaptation of his British sitcom The Thick Of It, Veep’s upcoming seventh season will be its last.
David Mandel, who took over from Iannucci as executive producer, said there were three key factors behind the decision to call it a day on Veep, despite the show still being at the height of its powers and winning three consecutive outstanding comedy series Emmys.
Both he and Louis-Dreyfus worked on revered sitcom Seinfeld, which similarly exited on its own terms, with Jerry Seinfeld insisting it was better to leave fans wanting more.
And, according to Mandel, Meyer’s story had run its course, bringing her from the impressive sounding but politically impotent office of vice president to the role of commander-in-chief.
The third factor was the global political scene – including Brexit – which made it harder to write a believable political satire.
Mandel told the Press Association: “With what’s going on in the world of real politics, here in America, Brexit, a couple of other places, the rise of authoritarian governments around the globe, politics has changed.
“The things that Veep was originally making fun of, don’t really exist anymore. Veep originally, if you go back to Armando Iannucci who created the show, there was this notion of, ‘this is what politicians are really like behind closed doors’. There are no closed doors anymore.”
Mandel said Veep had been overtaken by real events, rendering much of the show’s comedy pointless.
“On a daily basis, things that we did three seasons ago on Veep are happening in real life. We used to sit around and go, ‘what’s the dumbest thing a president could say or do?’ and it’s happening”, he said.
For her role as Meyer, Louis-Dreyfus has taken home a shedload of awards, including six consecutive Emmys for best actress in a comedy, a record haul for a performer in a single role.
Her streak was broken last year because she took a break from filming while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Louis-Dreyfus, 58, returned to Veep last year and said an emotional goodbye in December, sharing a tearful selfie from the final day of filming.
Mandel said there would not have been a show without her.
He said: “Because of who she was, it allowed people to go, ‘I’m going to watch a show that’s kind of about making fun of politics’. Which isn’t exactly the thing you think of for a sitcom when you’re starting.
“She’s my partner, obviously she’s an executive producer on the show, but she’s my partner. We talk through everything.
“We both have this insane, almost homicidal desire – how do we make it even better, how do we make it funnier. And that’s what you want in someone like that. There’s no show without her, it’s that simple.”
Veep season seven airs on Sky Atlantic on April 3.