It’s no easy feat to keep a comedy feeling fresh and just as hilarious as when it started, but Veep has been pulling this off for six seasons. Now, with Veep Season 7 (the show’s final season) upon us, Veep has focused itself into an even more efficient comedy machine that sets out to solidify both the series and Selina Meyer’s legacies on the best note possible. HBO’s Veep has been an audience and critical darling for the entirety of its run and it’s been a home for some of the best comedic talent on television. Selina Meyer and the rest of her dysfunctional cohorts are all groundbreaking characters and while it’s great to see the series end with such life left, it’s genuinely upsetting to say goodbye to these many oddballs.
Two of the most consistent sources of humor in the show are Matt Walsh’s hapless, overwhelmed Mike McLintock and Reid Scott’s arrogant sycophant, Dan Egan. In honor of HBO’s presidential comedy finally ending its term, we touched base with Walsh and Scott about their incomparable characters, what they’re going to miss the most about the show, and if Mike and Dan can finally grow up and find fulfillment.
DEN OF GEEK: This is a particularly strong run of episodes, but what sort of message do you think these final installments have to say?
REID SCOTT: Well one thing that we do get asked a lot is how the current landscape of politics has affected the show. There’s no easy answer to that, but it definitely has affected the show. So I think that Veep has never tried to mimic what’s going on, but it comments on what’s going on. However, this season was the most fun because it got so broad and we could do things that we’ve never done before. I think every season before has progressively earned us the right to go bigger. That’s the reflection of where we are politically. It’s so big, broad, and in your face that Veep just wants to mirror that to some degree.
DEN OF GEEK: I’m sure what’s happening in politics right now isn’t why Veep is ending, but it probably feels like it’s time to go when stuff in real life is getting crazier than what’s in the show.
MATT WALSH: I think it definitely played a hand. It seemed like we had nearly done it all and it was better to get out early. With Mike at least, his journey this season deals with the complicit nature of the media in politics and how crazy it’s getting. I think they did a good job of tracking the media’s responsibility and role in what’s been going on with politicians.
DEN OF GEEK: Mike’s new role as a reporter has him become a bit of an outsider, so to speak, which makes for an interesting development. Did you like being the character who’s a little out of the loop this season?
MATT WALSH: Yes and no. I obviously like playing with the rest of our cast, but sometimes I didn’t see people for a while! To be in the milieu of the Buzzfeed world, you’re kind of starting in a funny place and then dropping Mike into all of that makes it even better. It was delightful to play into all of that stuff.
I didn’t realize how entertaining Mike on Adderall would be. Was that a fun quality to add to his already rattled persona?
MATT WALSH: I mean that speaks to what Reid said about this season’s broadness. Right out of the gate we start with Mike on Adderall, silly clothing, sideways hat…
DEN OF GEEK: What’s funny is that it kind of makes him competent. Did you enjoy playing this version of Mike that actually gets things done, or do you prefer when he’s a mess?
MATT WALSH: I stand by the fact that Mike is good at his job! I do think that he’s a good press secretary, that he’s good at greeting the press and forming relationships. He’s not amazing at his job, but he’s good at it. But yeah, I love him on the Adderall. I’d have loved to have done a season of Adderall Mike. Very attentive.
Reid, almost in an opposite sense, Dan was outside of Selina’s inner circle last season when he had his television career going on, but now he’s back as a part of her team. Talk a little on that shift and if it’s nice to be back in this capacity for the final season?
REID SCOTT: It was great. I mean, I had a blast doing all of the CBS stuff last season because it was such a departure. In a way I got to have my character play a character, which was interesting. The people I got to play off of were great and it was just so much fun. But I did miss everybody. I was off on my own little island and I’d maybe only see everybody for like a day each week. The greatest part of this gig is the camaraderie, so I missed that and it was great to be back in the fold this year.
MATT WALSH: We’d really just see each other at the table reads, which are still my favorite part of the show. It’s so funny getting to see it and hear it for the first time. It’s amazing.
DEN OF GEEK: A lot of this last season sees these characters attempt to “grow up” in some respects and think about the future. How do you think that Dan and Mike do in these respects?
REID SCOTT: Dan has a real crisis. He’s had several crises throughout the series, but there’s a big one this time. There’s a moment, where in earnest, he asks himself what he’s doing with his life and if he’s just caught in this bullshit cycle of work and meaningless sex. I don’t want to give away the lesson that he learns or doesn’t learn from all of that, but at one point he gets called old, and it kind of shatters his existence and wakes him up in a big way.
MATT WALSH: It’s funny because Mike’s been old since the show’s first season. It’s almost like he’s getting younger now. I think Mike’s journey has been about being the breadwinner because his wife is home with all of those kids and I think that burden of being away from his family is very real for Mike. It’s a very relatable situation. I think Mike also stumbles onto a lot of dumb luck and has been able to succeed on that merit.
DEN OF GEEK: It’s actually kind of funny that your characters kind of take opposite approaches to fix their problems, where it looks like Mike just adopts more kids to avoid his issues and Dan has such a staunch abortion etiquette.
REID SCOTT: For every child that Dan kills, Mike should need to adopt another. They’re tied karmically together.
MATT WALSH: Would Dan get an abortion if he knew that it meant Mike would have to have another child?
REID SCOTT: Absolutely.
DEN OF GEEK: What are your favorite episodes or storylines that involve Dan and Mike?
REID SCOTT: The same one keeps coming up for me. In season one, sitting on the couch in the bullpen, during the suicide pact.
MATT WALSH: Oh! And he whispers in his ear?
REID SCOTT: It was early on enough in the whole series that we were still getting to know each other. But they’re all on this couch and Dan wants everyone to sign this suicide pact where if one of them gets fired, they all do. Matt leans into Dan’s ear and he’s so close that I can feel the stubble and he’s just whispering ever so softly. And just this awkward staging on top of everything else.
MATT WALSH: I always think of the limo scenes more than anything else. Close quarters always made me laugh.
REID SCOTT: My favorite limo scene was in London when we were all in the big SUV. We were just having a great time because we were in London, but then our car in real life died.
MATT WALSH: Oh, and Dale runs up and grabs—
REID SCOTT: We had one of the all-time greatest ADs—now a director—Dale Stern, who’s directed a few Veeps. After the SUV was shot we pulled it over and steam was just shooting out of everywhere. Anyways, Dale just yanks the cap off the radiator and boiling hot—
MATT WALSH: Definitely not the right move.
REID SCOTT: Absolutely not the right move. But he did it and we were good to go again in ten minutes. And then later that week he started a fire!
MATT WALSH: What?
REID SCOTT: I mean, INTERPOL isn’t going to get him now…But he started a fire in a trashcan on the street outside of a location that we were shooting at in order to distract the cops. The cops over there are super strict about how late you can shoot. So police are there for our security, but they’re also checking the time and ready to cut us off. So Dale runs down the street and starts a fire so the cops would run over there and we got like two more takes out of it.
MATT WALSH: Oh my God, how have I never heard this?
DEN OF GEEK: You guys were touching on some moments from the show’s first season, but have you gone back and revisited those episodes recently?
MATT WALSH: Tim Simons just went through them all and during the first few seasons I would re-watch the previous year before going into the next one. This year I tried to go through everything but quit about half way through the fourth season just because there’s a lot of episodes and life’s busy. It was really fascinating to see the pacing slowly change each season. It’s all earned, but it definitely ramps up each time. I think all of the craziness of this season still would have happened without Trump, but because we got liberties and kept pushing boundaries, we just went for it.
REID SCOTT: Also just the stylistic differences between the regime of writers. We had a big shift when Armando left and Dave came in and there were some growing pains. During the first two table reads of season five, you could sense it. The writers were already going bigger and broader with it because I think they could sense that there’s where the show could go. It didn’t feel like we were quite ready for that yet, so we went back and retooled, but thinking back to those first few table reads and what we just did this season, the tone isn’t that different. So it’s like they saw where the show had to go, but just got there a little too early and then figured out a better pace.
DEN OF GEEK: You guys fit a ton into those seven episodes.
MATT WALSH: Well that’s because it was originally slotted to be ten, but then they shrunk it to seven for various reasons.
Veep’s final season airs Sundays at 10:30pm (ET) on HBO
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and he’s always game to discuss Space Dandy. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.