PEE-TV

“Veep” had to remove a golden shower joke from its new season because Trump

Obsession
Glass
Obsession
Glass

Veep, the HBO political satire, is often credited with capturing American politics better than more serious television shows. But how will its absurdist view of Washington stand up to the reality of the Trump administration?

The show’s lead writer and producer, David Mandel, says Trump’s election prompted a few adjustments to season six, which premieres on Sunday, April 16. In particular, Mandel recounted in a recent interview, he removed a joke referencing a “golden shower”—aimed at Jonah Ryan, the hapless aide-turned-congressman played by Timothy Simons—after the gag became a little too real.

In January, a dossier by a former British spy emerged with a slew of damaging accusations about Trump. The most salacious bit, which hasn’t been publicly corroborated by anyone, claimed that Russia had video footage of Trump urinating on prostitutes in a Moscow hotel, a so-called golden shower.

Mandel told the anecdote during a conversation on an episode of the podcast Pod Save America. Here’s the transcript:

Jon Favreau (host): The big question that sort of hangs over season six is, “What do you do with a show about the absurdities of Washington when Trump is president?” The Trump White House has sort of out-Veep’d Veep, right?

David Mandel: Absolutely, in a lot of ways. And I’ll give you a perfect example, which is—it sounds silly, you can’t even imagine you’re talking about something real—but at some point in the season, I had to turn to our writers and go, “We have to take the golden showers joke out because of what’s going on in the news today.”

So we hadn’t shot it yet, but there was a joke in the script. I think it was Jonah that we were making fun of—because, eventually, in the quest to embarrass Jonah, you will get to a golden showers joke—and it had to come out. Because if we’d done it, first of all it’s eight months later by the time it airs, and it starts to feel like a stale, old, hacky reference.

But also, it doesn’t exist anymore. The purity of golden showers has been lost. Never again can you think of just an honest, good-old-fashioned golden shower without thinking of Trump. It’s ruined. He’s ruined the golden shower.

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