Ryan Murphy, You’ve Done It Again
By Isabel Logios
Staff Reformed Gleek
To anyone who has struggled to find a television show to fill the hole that “Glee” left in our hearts, I feel you. For years I missed the questionable plotlines, such as Finn thinking that Jesus was talking to him via grilled cheese or when there was a carbon monoxide leak and Blaine thought that all of the glee club members were puppets. No show could match the semi-problematic, melodramatic, musical, satirical chaos that was “Glee”. Until now. If you are fixing for another Ryan Murphy masterpiece, then you should watch “The Politician.”
Streaming now on Netflix, this eight-episode series follows the presidential campaign of high school senior Payton Hobart. One would suppose that a series about a high school election would revolve around petty issues such as popularity and friend group drama. Well, do not get it twisted sister because “The Politician” is as chaotic as it gets. The protagonist, anti-hero Payton Hobart is played by the sweet baby angel that is Ben Platt, known for his performances in “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Pitch Perfect.” Payton has made it his quest to someday be the president of the United States and winning his high school election is his first step to get there. You will see how Payton’s ambition often costs him, and how all he really needs is a hug and a sedative.
The premise sounds simple, right? Well how about we mix in some cheating scandals, attempted murders, manipulation and musical numbers. I know some people hate when a character randomly breaks into song, but it would be a waste to have the icon, legend, and star that is Ben Platt be in this show and not have him sing. Platt’s tear-jerking performance of Joni Mitchell’s “River” was, to say the least, life changing.
Beyond all of the murder, mayhem, and musical theatre, the characters in the series are beyond lovable. Payton’s mother, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, struggles with her desire for a more fulfilling love life which turns out to be both heartbreaking and rewarding. Payton’s core friend group—McAfee, Alice, and James—offer comedic relief through their bitterness and melodrama regarding the election. Infinity, Payton’s running mate, is a seemingly innocent classmate with a lil’ secret. Her eventual bad-assery will have you wishing that you could rock a knitted poncho and Mary Janes as well as she can. River Barkley, Payton’s opponent for student body president, brings emotional depth and sentiment to the season. Each character, with their own set of vices, are trying to climb some sort of ladder—whether it be political, social or economic.
Perhaps you hate every amazing thing I have just listed regarding this show. But if you are a film and television snob, this show could still be for you. The cinematography of “The Politician” is stunning. It is like if Wes Anderson and Kehinde Wiley had a baby. Each shot is so vibrant and aesthetically pleasing that I was not bored for a second while watching. Also, for anyone who is into high fashion, this show may be the one for you. Between McAfee’s yellow-tinted glasses and Alice’s wedding dress in the season finale, saying that you would be impressed is an understatement. So basically, if you are an ex-Gleek, film buff, or insta-fashion guru then this show is the perfect fit.
Despite critics claiming that “The Politician” had too many plot-twists, my drama-loving needs were fulfilled and sustained throughout all eight episodes. To quote one of the most iconic characters, Nana, if you do not watch “The Politician” you are “being a rude little toad.”