With all due respect to Joe Biden (earmuffs on, buddy), the Office of the Vice President isn't exactly known for being the most powerful position in the United States' government. That's why Julia Louis-Dreyfus' portrayal of Selina Meyer, the titular character on HBO's Veep — which returns this Sunday — is so cringe-inducingly funny; you're watching someone with literally nothing to do spend all her time and energy convincing the world that she's actually super busy.
But how does Meyer's productivity stack up against her VP contemporaries on shows like House of Cards, Scandal, and The West Wing? Let us just hop up on this $1,200 soap box, and we'll rank 10 memorable TV veeps in order from most to least productive.
1. Francis J. Underwood, "House of Cards"
In his short time as VP, Frank exploits his supporting role to its fullest and most powerful potential.
Along with negotiating House legislation behind the scenes and weighing in on many high-priority strategy meetings, the man actually manages to make something as boring as a Senate quorum call seem exciting.
He's also one of the very few fictional vice presidents to actually stage a successful coup against the POTUS, so props for that.
2. Sally Langston, "Scandal"
While Langston fulfills many of the tropes TV writers often resort to when writing vice presidents — she's frustrated, she covets the Oval Office herself, she's not to be trusted — she does something you almost never see a fictional VP do: cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.
Or at least she discusses casting the tie-breaking vote in favor of the DREAM Act with Fitz. That's, like, as close to performing actual vice-presidential duties as we're gonna get on this list, so I'll allow it.
3. John Hoynes, "The West Wing"
The ever-frustrated Hoynes feels like he's been "shoved in a broom closet" by becoming the Vice President, but that's kind of melodramatic. What about the time he almost got to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate over ethanol tax credit? And, um… End of list.
4. Selina Meyer, "Veep"
Yes, Selina's Clean Jobs initiative is, like, peak inane Washington bullshit, but at least she's trying to do something with her time in office.
5. Andrew Nichols, "Scandal"
Aside from that whole "kidnapping Olivia Pope to force the President to go to war with the 100% not-real nation of West Angola" thing, which sorta counts for something on the scale of veep productivity, Nichols spends most of his time in office holding down a torrid, years-long love affair with the First Lady.
6. Bob Russell, "The West Wing"
Although Bob initially fights for inclusion in Washington's backroom dealings, he eventually devotes most of his tenure to avoiding getting involved in anything, for fear that it will damage his future chances to get elected president.
But what a soothing voice!
7. Jim Matthews, "House of Cards"
"So, I'm supposed to just cut ribbons and go to funerals," the original House of Cards Veep sighs exasperatedly when he's shut out of yet another opportunity to effect real change in office.
To his credit, Matthews does use his influence to stump for Pennsylvania gubernatorial hopeful Peter Russo, even if he spends most of that time talking about himself.
8. Sue Sylvester, "Glee"
The flash-forward in the Glee series finale reveals that Sue Sylvester is the Vice President of the United States in 2020 alongside re-elected POTUS Jeb Bush.
In the show's final moments, Sue has a real emotional breakthrough after six years spent antagonizing the main cast, which is great — but the only thing we really see her do as veep is re-dedicate McKinley High's auditorium in honor of Finn Hudson before an audience of seven.
9. Susan Ross, "Scandal"
I have a feeling that Vice President Ross, who was chosen for the position precisely because Fitz and Mellie don't see her as a threat to the FLOTUS' presidential ambitions, will upend everyone's expectations and pull off some major veep-ery as her term unfolds. At present, however, all she's really done is survive a viral video scandal.
10. Donald Blythe, "House of Cards"
Boyfriend basically just does some vodka shots and fucks up a toast.
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.