There’s a whole lot to swallow about The Politician. Sexual fluidity. Attempted suicide. Actual suicide. Borderline violent ambition. Poison by BB gun. Gwyneth Paltrow’s couture. And all that in a Ryan Murphy comedy? To viewers, it is an addictive masterpiece. To some critics, it’s a schizophrenic nightmare.
As a viewer, I loved the show. I am a Glee stan, so naturally, anything touched by Murphy is bound to be gold in my eyes. However, looking at it as a critic, I do have to admit there are some flaws.
The main character, Payton Hobart, played by Ben Platt, is a top-one-percent-of-the-top-one-percent type who is running for high school student body president. He has three best friends, played by Laura Dreyfuss, Theo Germaine and Julia Schlaepfer. Hobart also has an archnemesis, played by Lucy Boynton, and an ultra-dreamy, super perfect “friend,” played by David Corenswet.
If you want to get political with it, a friend of mine found it frustrating how few actors of color were cast, which is an interesting point, considering a lot of the script is about diversity in elections. I argued that while there could be a lot more racial diversity, there is a good amount of diversity in terms of sexual orientation and gender representation.
I think the show is a criticism of the American political institution and how it’s made up of a lot of rich white people. My friend’s main claim, however, is that no matter how diverse, the show still remains another story about a rich white man running for president.
Platt is not made to look sane in any sense of the word in this show. His “campaign team” is driven only by victory and the team creates a plan that is technically unbeatable. So, yes, it is another rich white man running for president ... but I don’t think the show is meant to present rich white men in a positive light. While Platt is likable because of his relatable lack of self-awareness, he and his team seem crazy for the entirety of the show.
Yes, I do agree that they could have easily cast any of the main characters as someone of literally any other race. I just hope that it was because Platt and co. were truly the best for their respective roles (which I have to say, I personally think Platt did a very, very good job).
If you’re willing to jump into a show that you literally can’t stop watching until it ends because every time you look away from something else immense happens, enjoy it. I loved it. If you’d rather watch a show that makes it a little slower, this might not be the one for you.