The Politician season 1 review: Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lucy Boynton get our vote in Ryan Murphys electric satire

The Politician - Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Platt, Lucy Boynton

Its bold, brassy and fabulous…the internets going to love ya (Picture: Netflix)

Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) wants to be President of the United States – and he has analysed how to get there with such clean precision hes going to stop at nothing to get it in Ryan Murphys The Politician.

With besties James (Theo Germaine) and McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss) there steering his ship as his advisors, a first wife in Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) and a hopelessly devoted mother (Gwyneth Paltrow), Paytons cold and hard exterior glazed with a butter-wouldnt-melt smile makes him so arrogantly sure hes going to get what he wants that its nauseating.

So when things go off piste for the entitled snob? Thats when the fun happens.

The show is not to be taken too seriously. Its a satire, after all, not an accurate representation. Noone actually lives in a world full of colour so bold and has matching gardening gloves to go with every outfit. Its so unbelievably extra that you spend as much time gawking at the ridiculous set pieces as you do paying attention to the plot thats going around.



But its also got a great heart and is an unbelievably enjoyable watch.

Ben Platts Payton is what wouldve happened if you put Rachel Berry from Glee on steroids, made her a guy and told her from birth she could be president one day instead of a Broadway star. He feels entitled to it, hes going to get there no matter what, and is even a downright unlikeable at times because of it.

Theres obstacles in the way, starting most prominently with the sassy and acidic Astrid (Lucy Boynton) who, in all honesty, is the MVP for many parts of the show. Astrid hates Payton and what he stands for, having been forced to share boyfriend River (David Corenswet) with him for an undisclosed amount of time.

Shes also got a father who she cant live up to and is profoundly unhappy. So why not drag your enemy down with you by beating them at the one thing they care about? Astrids awful and completely bonkers but shes a hell of a lot of fun to ride along with.

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Bringing on board cancer-stricken Infinity (Zoey Deutch) as his running mate is a bid to get the sympathy vote for the student body in the easiest way possible – and it works…until it becomes clear that bringing her into his life actually invited a hell of a lot more complications than initially thought. Starting with her overbearing, scheming grandmother with a secret, Dusty (the incomparable Jessica Lange).



Its easy to say that this show is choosing style over substance because in a lot of cases, it does. Some characters are barely more than set dressing, and motivations are sometimes cloudy. But thats kind of the point. Its sickly sweet imagery and ridiculous nature is so easy to swallow that you accidentally let in stories of familial pressure and expectation, determination to start life as adults and the toxicity of politics as a whole.

You need to know how to play the game and how to play it dirty.

The Politician Season 1 -

Zoey Deutchs butter wouldnt melt Infinity bounces off Jessica Lange perfectly (Picture: Netflix)

Everyone has problems after all, even super rich white people. And it leaves a lot of room to grow in the already confirmed season two.

Its probably the shows biggest fall throughout this season that its very existence, it seems, is to justify the episodes coming up. Episode eight is a game-changer, and appears to be the story that Ryan Murphy and co actually wanted to tell, but had to flesh out a back story of to ultimately push the show going forward.

That doesnt make The Politician any less enjoyable though. Take it for what it is, a sassy, gripping romp thats like the movie Election was updated for the 21st century, with a side hustle of Cruel Intentions. One things for sure – the internet is going to love it.

Just like real politics, season one got our vote – and now its up to the candidate to come through on its promises.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Platt - The Politician

While there are moments of detours, The Politician kept us hooked in (Picture: Netflix)

Something the show does incredibly well is its LGBT message and representation as a whole, which is never shoved down anyones throat at any point. Everyone in the school, it appears, is on the Kinsey scale, has a disability, or trans, but those characteristics are never once played as a plot point. They just are, and its actually incredibly Read More – Source