The Politician (a Netflix Original)

Paige Levinson, Co-Business Manager

On the rare occasion that I have enough free time to binge a new series, I can spend quite a bit of time scrolling through pages and pages of Netflix trying to decide what to watch. So, when I found myself with nothing to do on a cloudy Sunday morning, I randomly clicked a Netflix Original Series The Politician. The more adult-oriented show follows high school student Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) through his ultimate plan to become President of the United States by running for student body president. I was reluctant to watch the series because a) I don’t have a particular interest in politics and b) it didn’t seem like my preferred style of television, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

First, the show is set in Santa Barbara (it’s always fun when a show is set in your hometown). Second, the show features not only Hollywood royalty like Gwenyth Paltrow and Bette Midler, but stunning lesser-known actors that accentuated the plot and really made the show interesting. 

Each episode has a whole new crazy cliff-hanger that keeps the viewer watching––you would never imagine how insane the lives of these high school students get. The series weaves concepts of ambition, murder, romance, self-identity, trust, friendship, and grief in a seamless way that has little flaws. And, of course, with star Ben Platt just off of Broadway hit “Dear Evan Hansen,” the series has four exceptional musical numbers that somehow naturally fell into the episodes without feeling cheesy or forced. And––oh my God––Ben Platts voice is amazing! 

The Politician is ironically funny and really knows its way around subtle comedy. There are so many small, humorous details that make the hard to watch without paying full attention. The show is extremely dark––there are a lot of challenging concepts including suicide, illness, and sabotage that build a complex storyline. It masters anticipation and becomes addicting. The character development is a key aspect in what makes the series work, but what really hooked me is how The Politician develops such irrational sequences of events while still seeming so realistic and triggers immense amounts of empathy from the viewer. I can’t wait for season two!

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