Review: ‘The Politician’ reveals dark side of politics

‘Glee’ writer creates another inclusive hit



Netflix’s newest original series, “The Politician,” released on Friday, Sept. 27.

Odd, overdramatic and just plain weird sums up Ryan Murphy’s newest original series on Netflix, “The Politician.” After producing TV classics such as “Glee” and “American Horror Story,” Murphy creates another addicting and binge-worthy show. Starting off at a fast pace, “The Politician” follows senior Payton Hobart, (Ben Platt) a teen adopted into a famously wealthy family who is dead set on winning an election for student body president, and eventually, president of the United States.

Right off the bat, the viewers are introduced to Hobart’s campaign crew he plans to take with him to office, including his girlfriend Alice (Julia Schlaepfer). Throughout the eight-episode series, the story also follows Hobart’s rivalry between the other student running, Hobart’s ex-best friend Astrid Sloan (Lucy Boynton).

Murphy, along with writer Brad Falchuck, exaggerates his twisted version of high school elections and how nasty they can become. Viewers are drawn in and become attached to the characters, craving more information on how each big twist eventually pans out.

With the story being set in present day, the Netflix series pulls in current topics of discussion that pulls the audience farther in, such as mental health and voting. While trying to be accepted into Harvard early on in the series, Hobart is given the chance to pay his way in because of the rich background he comes from, taking an amusing stance on the college admission scandal. During the first episode, a warning comes up on the screen saying, “For those who struggle with their mental health, some elements may be disturbing.” While Netflix has been known to not handle mental health well, when it came up in this series, it was dealt with carefully.

As well, with Hulu’s series “The Act” recently taking over the media with awareness for the mental illness “Munchausen syndrome by proxy,” when one will inherently inflict child abuse on their kids by faking symptoms of an illness to gain attention or money, “The Politician” tackles this issue with a monotone, dejected feeling that tugs at viewers’ emotions.

Murphy is known for having an extensive and inclusive cast, and this series is no exception. One of Hobart’s friends and campaign ally James is played by Theo Germaine, a transgender actor. To add to the list, the principal (Natasha Ofili) is a woman of color and also deaf, Ryan Haddad plays a student with cerebral palsy like himself and Payton’s rival’s running mate Skye (Rahne Jones) identifies as a person of color and gender-nonconforming. All the inclusivity doesn’t feel forced. Viewers feel like these people are normal, as they are and should be viewed.

Twists and turns unveil a borderline unhealthy group of family and friends. Their differences all pull together in the end to make a perfect cliffhanger for a potential next season. “The Politician” rightfully deserves 5 out of 5 stars. The writers found an impressive mix of every emotion to keep dragging in the viewers and keep them invested. If the over the top feelings from “Glee” and “American Horror Story” did so well with American viewers, this Netflix original will as well.