Netflix’s The Politician: an irresistibly bad show


Photo Netflix

Lauren Oligino, R3 News Editor

Netflix’s latest original series, The Politician, focuses on Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) who decided at the age of seven that he was going to be president of the United States. Studying the lives of former American presidents, Payton creates a plan to optimize his chances of one day living in the White House. His first step: become the student body president of his elite high school. Viewers follow Payton on his campaign trail as he grapples with who he is and who he wants to be.

The Politician has an impressive cast and crew. Along with Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) as the lead, the cast includes Zoey Deutch (Before I Fall), Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody), Laura Dreyfuss (Dear Evan Hansen), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story) and Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man). The show was created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, who also created the popular show Glee.

From the calculated choice of making Payton’s running mate a girl with cancer to garner the sympathy vote, to the amount of money spent on winning a high school election, the show does a good job of pointing out how absurd American politics can be.

While the show is entertaining, it has its flaws. The Politician covers a variety of serious issues including suicide, depression, gun control and the corrupt college admissions process. But because the show tries to cover so many different issues, it is never able to go in depth about one particular topic. As a result, none of the topics they bring up make the viewer think seriously about the problems with our society.   

With a lead that is talented at singing, the writers of The Politician found a way to showcase Ben Platt’s abilities through his performances at a local bar and at a tribute for a student who committed suicide. However, while Ben Platt has a great voice, the musical numbers often feel out of place in the context of the show.   

Towards the end of the season, The Politician becomes repetitive in its plotline, with more ridiculous twists and turns in the race for student body president than in any American presidential race.

However, the chaos of the last few episodes managed to wrap up neatly in time to set the stage for the next season.

While the show has many flaws, the intriguing plotline and characters help to make up for the show’s shortcomings. If you can make it to episode nine, The Politician’s next season shows a lot of promise.