Arts & Entertainment

Does Netflix’s New Series “The Politician” Measure Up?

By Ella Doron, Staff Writer

For the last year and a half, musical theatre fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Ryan Murphy’s new Netflix show, The Politician. Featuring Ben Platt, the star of Broadway’s smash hit Dear Evan Hansen, this highly anticipated show was finally released this September. The cast also includes Platt’s onstage lover, Laura Dreyfuss. Many have been excited to see some of their favorite Broadway stars on-screen, but did The Politician live up to the hype?

Platt plays Payton Hobart, an extremely rich high school senior whose only ambition is to one day be president of the United States. Under advisement of his two campaign managers and closest confidants (Theo Germaine and Dear Evan Hansen’s Laura Dreyfuss), Payton is running for school president at his highly prestigious high school, a position that he sees as a necessary stepping stone to reach his ultimate goal. When his opponent and close friend mysteriously commits suicide, Payton finds himself running against one of his biggest enemies: Astrid Sloan (Lucy Boynton). Things get more complicated when Payton finds out a dark secret about his running mate, Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch). With the help of his friends and mother (Gwyneth Paltrow), Payton does everything within his power to secure his position.

I will be honest: I only knew about this show from Broadway-related social media pages. I knew nothing about this show except that it had a couple of actors that I liked and that I would probably check it out once it was released. With a name like “The Politician,” I assumed that it would probably be some sort of serious melodrama that would not interest me, but this show is far from what I expected. 

After watching the first couple episodes, all I could think was, “Riverdale. This show is an upscale version of Riverdale.” Anyone who has watched the CW’s Riverdale knows that it is a show full of confusing love triangles, murder and misplaced teenage angst. Every episode has so many unexpected twists that the show almost becomes frustrating to watch. I was not sure if this was something I really wanted to watch, but I decided to give it a little more time. Pretty soon I realized that The Politician is meant to be satire, poking fun at both politics and today’s popular shows like Riverdale. The actors all portray this very well, and once I understood that the show is intentionally over the top, I was able to enjoy it more. 

The first season has an engaging storyline, relatable characters, and of course some beautiful musical performances by Ben Platt. Many absurd things happen, keeping viewers entertained and on their toes. The final episode sets up another exciting plot for a second season, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

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