Binge Break: The best part of ‘The Politician’ is its future

While ‘The Politician’ was a fun watch with great performances, the best part about it is its setup for a second season.


Kayli Reese, Managing News Editor

Great performances and a somewhat muddled storyline summed up the first season of The Politician, a Netflix show from the mind of Ryan Murphy. Whatever the opinion, one thing can’t be denied: the final episode, which set the stage for the next season, promises an absolutely brilliant continuation.

By the time the final episode was about halfway over, it felt that every previous episode was just exposition for what’s to come in all its Judith Light and Bette Midler glory (the pair play the New York Senate majority leader considering a run for U.S. Vice President and her chief of staff, respectively).

Unfortunately, Netflix users will have to wait a bit before seeing exactly how that storyline plays out with the main characters of The Politician season one, led by Tony winner Ben Platt as student body president candidate Payton Hobart.

Payton Hobart and his “campaign team” are ruthless and intense, taking the school election just as seriously as if it was a presidential campaign. Of course, that’s their endgame: to start their journey to the White House, and, after lots of research, they found many former presidents began their political careers as student body president.

The show takes their intensity and ambition a bit too seriously; it’s amusing in the first few episodes but quickly becomes a bit too heavy as the show desperately hammers into its points on the campaign system.

Also, a few too many subplots are threaded together in a mismatched way that makes things a bit unclear. It’s hard to determine exactly where everyone’s loyalties lie, but it makes for high drama entertainment. There are also odd excuses to show off Platt’s singing talents throughout the season, but I’d watch his rendition of Billy Joel’s “Vienna” until the end of time.

One of the subplots involves a case of Munchausen by proxy, where Jessica Lange’s mother character fakes her daughter’s cancer for free trips and dinners. Lange is magnetic and fun in her role, making the clip of her dancing to a jukebox before getting arrested iconic.

Gwyneth Paltrow also takes a fantastic turn as Payton Hobart’s mother. While many of her scenes are fun, slight ridiculous turns as an extremely wealthy woman who leaves a string of broken hearts in her wake, her touching moments remind us of Paltrow’s power. As a mother, she fears what her unwavering support for her son’s ruthless climb to power will turn her into.

Overall, while the storyline might be a bit of a hodgepodge, The Politician is worth watching for its strong performances and comedic take on modern elections. But in my opinion, the reason The Politician is mandatory viewing is because everyone will need to watch the next season. As Bette Midler said in the last few moments of the season, “This is gonna be fun.”