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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been mocked by the Emmy-winning comedy’s creator, writer and even its main star for pushing the slogan “continuity and change,” a phrase he has been using as he attempts to distance himself from former leader Tony Abbott at the start of an election campaign.
The trouble is, Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘ character, campaigning President Selina Meyers, adopted “continuity with change” throughout season 4 as she battled to stay in the Oval office.
“‘Continuity With Change’ is the most concise example we could come up with of a politician saying a word and its opposite very quickly,” former showrunner Armando Iannucci tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The aim is to have it sound snappy and confident, as if it makes sense. In fact, it means nothing. The two words cancel each other out.”
Iannucci, who left Veep after the fourth season to focus on several film projects in the U.K., added that it wasn’t a surprise that a major politician should use the slogan in real life.
“It’s a by-product of political argument,” he said. “I’m still trying to come to terms with the number of people who say they’re pro-life and for the death penalty.”
Simon Blackwell, who collaborated with Iannucci to create Veep and still serves as a writer and executive producer, tweeted that they had wanted to come up with the “most meaningless election slogan we could think of,” later telling The Guardian that they wanted it to be “hollow and oxymoronic.”
Louis-Dreyfus, meanwhile, simply tweeted that she was “dumbstruck.”
Speaking last year to THR, Iannucci highlighted other Veep scenes, which had been mirrored in real life, including one in an episode in which Meyers’ teleprompter malfunctions, something that later happened to Sarah Palin, as well as an episode in which the character is forced to turn her emails over to the authorities, much like the famed incident with Hillary Clinton.
“We write certain situations, and then after we’ve finished editing the episode or getting it ready, that situation happens in real life,” he said. “It’s rather spooky.”
Veep returns with the season five premiere on April 24 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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