When potty-mouthed political series Veep first aired in 2012, Barack Obama was still in his first term as US President and the very thought of Donald Trump setting up shop in the Oval Office was absurd.

It meant watching Julia Louis-Dreyfus play self-absorbed vice-president Selina Meyer on our screens was a fun exercise in escapism. Although we all knew there were plenty of petty politicians and ambitious-to-a-fault aides walking the real halls of power, the ridiculous antics over at Veep still felt far enough removed from reality to be enjoyable.

Now, with the show beginning its seventh – and final – season on SoHo2 tonight and with Trump in charge of the nuclear codes, there's no breathing space between the vicious satire and the reality of American politics anymore.

So, how does a show like Veep cope in an age where the ineptitude and narcissism of its central character can't hope to compete with what's going on in the real White House every single day? Based on the three new episodes I've seen so far, it's coping by dialling the offensiveness up to a whole new level.

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After an extended break between seasons, with Veep's production put on hold while Louis-Dreyfus underwent treatment for breast cancer, the show's final run begins with Selina committing herself to one more presidential campaign - which is great news for fans of the show.

Season six saw the former president-by-default haplessly navigating life away from the White House, and as fun as that was, watching Selina trying to claw her way back in is where this character has always worked best.

Selina's supporting pack of power-hungry jerks are also back on the campaign trail with her, doling out more pithy one-liners at their usual breakneck speed.

Amy (Anna Chlumsky) and Dan (Reid Scott) are as awful as ever, as they figure out what to do with both Selina and a pesky unwanted pregnancy.

Kind-hearted advisor Richard (Sam Richardson) is still on the team and contrasting nicely with the jaded old guard of campaign manager Ben (Kevin Dunn) and strategist Kent (Gary Cole).

Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons) is back, too, this time with a new wife - who also happens to be his stepsister – in tow. He's still the sexist, racist, insecure man-baby he's always been and he's also running for president, which based on real-life events, means he's probably a shoo-in to win.

But he has to get past Selina first, whose desperation for the top job is unrelenting.

"I should be president because it is my goddamn turn!" she shouts at her long-suffering bagman and constant companion, Gary (Tony Hale).

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"I was the game changer, I took a dump on the glass ceiling!"

The first few episodes also confirm that along with her trademark thirst for power, Selina still has no conscience and still hates other women. But the magic Louis-Dreyfus manages to infuse into the role means we're all still rooting for her anyway. Not many people can play a character that's so despicable, yet so likeable, but as her six Emmys show, Louis-Dreyfus is one of them.

The writing and the delivery of the show's razor-sharp remarks remains impressive too, even if the storylines do cut dangerously close to the bone this time around.

Aside from an inversion of the #metoo movement, most of the topics discussed in the final season are nothing new for the show so far. But they've ratcheted up the bitterness behind those issues, as they cover abortion rights, the treatment of women and the black grandson Selina says she'll have to hide when she gets to New Hampshire.

But the bitterest jokes are those made in the first episode about the mass shootings that have become a plague upon America.

Jibes about the "standard thoughts and prayers" reaction to shootings or a tragedy's usefulness in distracting from campaign stuff-ups leave an especially sharp sting while watching in New Zealand right now.

I have no doubt the final season of Veep will give the show the brilliant send-off it deserves, but I also feel it's going to be a bumpy, uncomfortable ride getting there.

Because sometimes it's hard to laugh when the joke is so close to the terrible truth.

Veep's final season premieres tonight at 7.30pm on SoHo2