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How Veep Decides How Many Curse Words To Use In Every Episode

veep season 6 gary ben selina

While the majority of TV shows out there are extremely limited when it comes to what kinds of curse words can make their way to an episode's airing, but that's thankfully not the case with HBO series, and Veep in particular is the king (or queen) of TV profanity. And though the layman viewer might think that there isn't much of a structure behind the minefield of F-bombs that serves as each episode, showrunner David Mandel set that record straight.

I'm sure everyone thinks we just say fuck every three words. But we definitely try not to...We kind of get to a point where we say, 'OK, that's a great joke, that stays.' But then we'll notice, 'When he bumped into that thing he said fuck, can we get that fuck out?' Because that was simply a fuck and not a fuck that's doing much. If you can clear out three or four of the fucks, it allows the fucks that are more intricately worded, the good fucks, to really shine.

Veep dialogue really is like watching verbal gymnastics, if gymnastics was largely about cutting one's opponents down to size, often with implications about their genitalia involved. Rarely does an insult ever feel like it's too overworked or underworked, and every barb is as sharp as the performer that utters it, so it makes total sense that David Mandel and the writing team will go back over the script with a fuck-tooth comb to identify any and all instances where the word "fuck" doesn't feel completely necessary. Pro tip: It's always necessary when referring to Jonah, something on Jonah's face, or something that Jonah is doing extremely badly.

And it's one thing when it's Ben or Amy wrapping their tongues around a fuck-filled diatribe, but quite another when it's Julia Louis-Dreyfus doing the swearing, and even after five full seasons of watching her morally unbridled Selina Meyer rise and fall down the D.C. ladder of success, the actress still comes across as almost too regal to be seen screaming that Hugh Laurie's Tom James wants to fuck her brains out. (While Catherine is hidden in a closet, no less.) Not long ago, Louis-Dreyfus revealed one of her favorite lines from the show to EW, in reference to Jonah, and while perhaps one of those F-bombs could have come out, it's still a killer line.

That's like trying to use a croissant as a fucking dildo. Let me be more clear: it doesn't do the job, and it makes a fucking mess.

David Mandel, who also wrote for Seinfeld and the underappreciated Clerks animated series, is one of the guys that puts "fucks" in the mouth of Curb Your Enthusiasm star Susie Essman, who has another one of TV's greatest filthy mouths. Mandel told THR that Essman's cursing is also an artform, but with more of a street element to it that we don't really get to see from Selina. Amazingly, we'll once more get to see Susie Green calling Larry David a "four-eyed pervert fuck," or something like it, when Curb Your Enthusiasm returns for Season 9 at some point n the future.

Veep will definitely be back for Season 6 next year to show us where Selina will land (presumably face-first), and we'll be waiting to see if new showrunner Mandel will pick up the same kind of Emmy awards for writing that his genius predecessor Armando Iannucci earned. Until then, here's everything coming to your TVs in our summer premiere schedule.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.