Netflix has a show called The Politician, and based on the description, it apparently is about a young man’s self-chosen destiny to be the President of the United States. In order to get there, Payton has six other elections to win, and the apparent intent of the show is that each season will deal with each of the elections. Up first? The election to become president of his high school. Based on the description, I was estimating something between Jack and Bobby and the West Wing, but likely closer to Jack and Bobby. And I predicted cancellation.
What I didn’t see mentioned in any of the short materials announcing the show was the note that the show is, more or less, a COMEDY. If I’d known that, I would have predicted cancellation much more rapidly. Now that I’ve seen it, I can only say it is not like any other show I’ve ever seen. There is humour buried within it, although it is played entirely straight.
Episode 1 revolves around the revelation that Payton’s friend is running against him. Mainly because his girlfriend put him up to it. As the story progresses, you realize that he slept with the guy the year before, there’s much more emotion running through the jealous girlfriend’s hatred of Payton, etc. And — spoiler alert — the guy running against him, River, ends up committing suicide. Then Payton and his advisors scheme how to turn the suicide to his advantage. The juxtaposition between cold and calculated political machinations — Payton sings at the funeral, he picks a girl with cancer as his running mate — against the nature of the job…it’s JUST high school, right? Yet Payton has three advisors on his team. Even the West Wing was never this brutal.
But while it is mildly amusing in places, it is definitely not laugh-out-loud funny, and I don’t see it making it seven seasons. I’m going to check out now.