The Politician Season 1 is easily one of Netflix’s most enjoyable series of the year, showing the irony and pitfalls of politics from young eyes.
This review of Netflix Series The Politician Season 1 contains no spoilers.
Netflix’s The Politician sells a story of an aspiring man hoping to become the President of the United States one day, but first needs to become Student President at his school.
In reality, the satirical comedy is way more than just an energetic 8-episode ride into the world of shallow politics — The Politician earmarks a generation that suffers from being spoon-fed today. Our lead character, Payton Hobart, played by Ben Platt, is a man attempting to overcome a protected shell. In the opening scene, Payton makes the point that he was born in a low-income world, but adopted by a wealthy family when taking his Harvard interview. Payton’s insecurity is merit and judgment — he wants to create his success.
Payton loves politics; his style, body language and general approach reek of the standard politician that vows to make changes in modern society today. The Politician in all its comedic style and glory, showing off the creative skills of Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, and Ryan Murphy, mirrors how politics work today, but in a magnified storytelling arena. The anthology Netflix series makes you laugh at the absurdity of our extreme characters, but at the same time, allows you to leave each chapter thinking of its purpose.
Ben Platt plays Payton marvelously as a Harvard-aspiring but easily stressed-out man who will do anything to win Student Presidency. His aura defines an all or nothing objective; if he does not win the Student Presidency, then he has failed the start of his mission. The character is somehow insufferable but likable at the same time.
But the other characters prop up The Politician Season 1, forming various story strands that have a cosmic effect on the narrative. Zoey Deutch stars as Infinity Jackson, a young girl with cancer, who has her own agenda. Zoey’s acting range is once again proved, as she’s barely recognizable as a young, giggling, naive woman that has been barely introduced into the adult world.
Lucy Boynton plays Astrid, a young woman that is an enemy of Payton. Her role in the story is engaging, and waiting for her to reappear on the screen conjures some excitement. Of course, Gwyneth Paltrow makes a few, notable appearances as Georgina Hobart (Payton’s mother), and as you’d expect, her performance shines. She is effective with the fewer minutes she gets in each chapter.
Netflix has managed to strike the right chord with The Politician, with a plot that could quickly have become clown-like, but the themes manage to stay sober and emotional. The show tackles hierarchy and the cogs in politics that drive even the most laidback campaigners insane. I did wonder halfway through Season 1 if the concept would dry out, but the objective continuously moves, and the series does not become a one-track mission like many of Netflix’s materials.
The Politician Season 1 may irritate some, but for the majority, the satirical comedy and its use of irony will engage the humour of the majority. The Netflix series has a compelling effect, and once you reach the final chapter, you will wish for more.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.