‘ Veep’ is back and, some­how, it’s bet­ter

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NEWS­DAY A year out of of­fice, Selina Meyer ( Ju­lia Louis- Drey­fus) has moved to New York to run a non­profit foun­da­tion, with Gary ( Tony Hale) in tow — or on a leash. Richard Splett ( Sam Richard­son) is help­ing to run the foun­da­tion, too, while Selina’s ex ( David Pasquesi) turns up briefly to lend a hand.

Mean­while, Selina’s daugh­ter Cather­ine ( Sarah Suther­land) and Mar­jorie ( Clea Du­Vall) are hap­pily, legally mar­ried. Dan ( Reid Scott) has a TV news job. Amy ( Anna Ch­lum­sky) is still in politics. Mike ( Matt Walsh) is a dad. Jonah ( Ti­mothy Si­mons) is still a con­gress­man fromNew Hamp­shire. And Ben ( Kevin Dunn)? Well, Ben’s learn­ing what an “Uber” is.

As usual for “Veep,” the sixth sea­son, which­premieres at 10: 30 p. m. Sun­day on HBO, also prom­ises lots of mem­o­rable star cameos, in­clud­ing Amy Bren­ne­man, Stephen Fry and Margaret Colin ( who playsDan’s co- an­chor).

“Veep” long ago be­came ac­cla­ma­tion- proof be­cause there was al­most no more ac­claim to give. The Em­mys fol­lowed the raves, then the records be­ganto fall. Last Septem­ber, Louis- Drey­fus won her record fifth- straight out­stand­ing lead ac­tress award, each of those de­served. Show creator Ar­mando Ian­nucci left be­fore the fifth sea­son ( he re­mains as a con­sul­tant), which could have por­tended the in­evitable start of the in­evitable de­cline. But oh no: The fifth was great, too.

So all of this leaves de­voted fans where ex­actly? Could “Veep” get any bet­ter ( they won­der)? How is that even pos­si­ble ( they con­clude)?

Here’s how: Set the showin New York. Here’s an­other way: Scat­ter the gang. Have Dan be­come a morning news an­chor on “CBS This Morning.” Make his co- an­chor Atilla the Hun. Turn Mike into a manny who— like that be­set lady in the shoe — has so many chil­dren he doesn’t know what to do. Leave Amy in Ne­vada to run an­other hope­less cam­paign for an­other in­ept can­di­date. Keep Jonah in­Wash­ing­ton, which de­serves him ( and vice versa). MakeBena con­sul­tant, but do keepthe­whiskey bot­tle­handy.

Gary nat­u­rally will re­main at Selina’s side, or at her feet. But what, oh what, do you do with a prob­lem like Selina? As the li­on­ess in win­ter, she must crave the crown she so re­cently lost. To whet her ap­petite, pile on the in­dig­ni­ties of a com­moner’s life— her foun­da­tion’s head­quar­ters re­mind her of “the Tri­an­gle Shirt­waist fac­tory,” for ex­am­ple — and also pile on the com­pli­cat­ing fac­tors of an­other race.

Ev­ery­one does re­mind her that upon leav­ing of­fice, she par­doned a felon whose crimes were Mad­off- like in scale. But ever the pluck­y­op­ti­mist, Selina re­mind­sher skep­tics that JFK didn’t fin­ish a full ter­mei­ther. She can come back. She must.

In TV terms, we call this a re- set, but in“Veep” terms, it’s ge­nius. HBOof­fered three episodes for re­view, which seen to­gether play like a movie— the fun­ni­est movie you will have seen all year, maybe next year, too. One of the showrun­ners, Lew Mor­ton, wrote the opener, “Omaha,” which — line for line, joke for joke, gag for gag — ranks among “Veep’s” best. Ben has some of those lines that ( as usual) will leave you gasp­ing for air, while Selina’s arch­en­emy Roger Fur­long ( the bril­liant Dan Bakkedahl) has some that will have you chok­ing. I’m talk­ing laugh­ter here, not a med­i­cale­mer­gency. Butwho knows? They are that funny.

In the mean­time, yes, “Veep” has had enough ac­claim al­ready. Share the wealth. Let an­other show bask in the glory, and let an­other great ac­tress be­sides Louis- Drey­fus step up to the podium for a change. But based on th­ese first three episodes, that change could be a long time com­ing.

Grade: A+


Ju­lia Louis- Drey­fus stars in the HBO se­ries “Veep,” which pre­mieres its sixth sea­son at 10: 30 p. m. Sun­day.

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