BLOGS

If You Like Veep, Watch The Thick of It

We should probably point out off the top that The Thick of It, the terrific British political satire created by Armando Iannucci -- the mind behind the new HBO comedy Veep -- is not technically cancelled. (It's definitely brilliant, though.) Since airing its first two series of three episodes apiece back in 2005, The Thick of It has returned to the BBC for a series of specials that aired in 2007 and an expanded eight-episode third series which ran in 2009. (BBC America aired the first two seasons stateside in 2006 and will start running the third season on April 28.) Additionally, a fourth season is currently being filmed and will air in the U.K. sometime in the fall.

So while The Thick of It has not yet gone to that great TV burial ground in the sky, the debut of Veep this past weekend gives us a good reason to call attention to a show that many American viewers probably haven't seen, particularly the early episodes from the first two series, which established the tone and template for Veep. (It's worth noting as well that the show went through a significant casting shake-up between 2005 and 2009, when the original star, Chris Langham, departed due to his imprisonment for downloading indecent images of minors. He was replaced by Rebecca Front for the third series.) Set in the office of Hugh Abbot (Langham), the minister that heads up the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, The Thick of It makes sport of British political gamesmanship, mercilessly ribbing the country's clueless civil servants. Re-watching the first six episodes of The Thick of It alongside Veep, it's fun to see how Iannucci has imported the personalities of his politicians from England to America. Because unlike fresh produce, political satire is something that can cross international borders.

Hugh Abbot (Chris Langham)
Position: Secretary of State for Social Affairs, a cabinet minister serving an unnamed Prime Minister.
Veep Counterpart: Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), the second-in-command to an unnamed President.
Similarities: Both are forever rushing from meeting to meeting and, in their harried state, their prone to making enormous gaffes, screw-ups and other mistakes. They also have a penchant for surrounding themselves with the exact wrong people to clean up these errors.

Glenn Cullen (James Smith)
Position: Senior Special Advisor to Secretary of State Abbot, a veteran political animal and a longtime personal friend of Hugh.
Veep Counterpart: Chief of Staff Amy Brookheimer, the ambitious young woman that keeps the veep on time and on time schedule. Well... that's what she tries to do, anyway.
Similarities: Both Amy and Glenn take great pleasure in being the staff member that's closest to the big boss. Of course, that also puts them in the line of fire whenever things go wrong. Which they always do.

Terry Coverly (Joanna Scanlan)
Position: Director of Communications for the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, an opinionated, outspoken woman who probably should be running the place.
Veep Counterpart: Director of Communications Mike McLintock (Matt Walsh), a brash, blustery (and mustachioed) Washington veteran with a take-no-prisoners approach to the business of government.
Similarities: Mike is more direct -- and much meaner -- than Terry, but both are well aware that they -- and only they -- know what's best for their respective departments.

Oliver Reeder (Chris Addison)
Position: Special Adviser to Secretary of State Abbot, a bespectacled youngster who believes he knows more than he actually does.
Veep Counterpart: Personal Aide to the Vice President, Gary Walsh (Tony Hale), who makes it his business to know one fun fact about every dignitary that meets and greets his boss.
Similarities: Both are deeply neurotic, which manifests itself in some questionable personal and professional behavior.

Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi)
Position: Director of Communications for the Prime Minister, a fiery-tempered Scotsman with the most extensive vocabulary of swear words known to man.
Veep Counterpart: Even Iannucci knows that there's no way he can replicate the Ninth Wonder of the World that is Malcolm Tucker and thus, wisely, doesn't even try. If you want to experience Tucker in his natural habitat, you've got to watch The Thick of It or its feature film spin-off, In the Loop.

Although the first two series are currently not running, Season 3 of The Thick of It premieres on BBC America on April 28. A box set containing all three series will be released on September 25.

Click here to read our review of Veep

Think you're a TV or movie expert? Prove it! Play Trivia Without Pity, our new online trivia game with over 2,000 questions about the shows and films you love -- and love to hate.

What are people saying about your favorite shows and stars right now? Find out with Talk Without Pity, the social media site for real TV fans. See Tweets and Facebook comments in real time and add your own -- all without leaving TWoP. Join the conversation now!

Comments

SHARE THE SNARK

X

Get the most of your experience.
Share the Snark!

See content relevant to you based on what your friends are reading and watching.

Share your activity with your friends to Facebook's News Feed, Timeline and Ticker.

Stay in Control: Delete any item from your activity that you choose not to share.

MOST RECENT POSTS

BLOG ARCHIVES

Brilliant But Cancelled

March 2014

1 ENTRIES

February 2014

1 ENTRIES

January 2014

2 ENTRIES

December 2013

1 ENTRIES

November 2013

1 ENTRIES

October 2013

4 ENTRIES

September 2013

3 ENTRIES

August 2013

2 ENTRIES

July 2013

3 ENTRIES

June 2013

1 ENTRIES

May 2013

2 ENTRIES

March 2013

2 ENTRIES

January 2013

2 ENTRIES

December 2012

1 ENTRIES

November 2012

2 ENTRIES

August 2012

1 ENTRIES

July 2012

4 ENTRIES

June 2012

4 ENTRIES

May 2012

5 ENTRIES

April 2012

2 ENTRIES

March 2012

2 ENTRIES

February 2012

2 ENTRIES

January 2012

1 ENTRIES

The Latest Activity On TwOP