The Politician- Not Worth Your Vote



Payton Hobart in Netflix’s “The Politician”

Japheth Oyedepo, Staff Writer

Release Date: Sep. 27, 2019

Director: Ryan Murphy

Cast: Ben Platt (Payton Hobart), Gwyneth Paltrow (Georgina Hobart), Laura Dreyfuss (McAfee Westbrook)

Our Rating: C

The Politician is a Netflix original teenage political drama directed by Ryan Murphy. Murphy is a well known director in Hollywood, directing hit shows like”Glee”, “Pose” and “9-1-1.”  Murphy is not a stranger when it comes to the world of teenage dramas. However, his latest creation has one major problem that tends to plague teen drams nowadays: it is simply unrealistic.

“The Politician” is a show that follows Payton Hobart, played by Ben Platt, a high school student running for student body president with the hopes of using the experience to become president of the United States. He runs alongside classmates McAfee Westbrook (Laura Dreyfuss) and James Sullivan (Theo Germaine). The three use professional tactics to try to win the election. However, the gang runs into obstacles along the way that may potentially hinder Payton’s chances of reaching the student body presidency and ultimately, the presidency of the United States. While all of this is going on, he deals with troubled running mates and backstabbing enemies.

To be honest, making unrealistic teen dramas has become increasingly common in modern television. We see that dramas made with the setting of high schools constantly involve adult actors who are supposed to represent teenagers. Shows like “Riverdale” seem to start out decently with interesting story-lines and accurately involve high school activities. However, the show then dispels into cult mysteries with supernatural events that lead to more plot holes than Swiss cheese. More and more shows like these cause some of us to forget that these characters actually go to school. This is shown in “The Politician” causing it to, unfortunately, become the latest victim of this genre.

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The show was extremely intense and was always filled with drama.

— freshman Kysa Mesa

There are several issues with “The Politician,” first being the lack of actual teenage looking actors. The actors look like they should be running for a seat in Congress, not for class president. Another problem is the over-exaggeration of certain events. The show made it seem as if the student body elections were the general elections of a presidential race that had world-changing ramifications determined by who the winner would be. The actions taken in the series are blown way out of context in comparison to the scale of the show’s events. It seems as if the directors were trying to force a plot twist to make the viewer seem shocked, then to later realize that none of it made sense. This also leads to the next point: extensive plot lines. There are several plot lines that do not seem to flow together while seeming too dramatic. Finally, the poor character development is quite appalling. The students of the high school seem to be based on a list of cliche high school stereotypes when high school students have a lot more depth to them than just those labels.

To be fair, “The Politician” is not a terrible show. It has an interesting concept and the acting is decent, as well. It also highlights the steps and challenges that a professional campaign needs to face in order to hold a seat in power.

“I thought the Politician was a great show on Netflix because it really shows different point of views during student elections and how the whole journey of student elections go in general,” freshmen Grace Urbita said.

Despite the positives, its better elements are overshadowed by the poor execution and the strange story-lines that made it seem like the writers ended up pulling ideas out of a hat to find a new twist. While including a good concept, “The Politician” just seemed awkward in the setting of a high school.