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Television: The Politician, “Pilot”

I read a description of this show somewhere that said something like: “Ryan Murphy Ryan Murphys harder than he ever has before,” and that feels like an accurate description. Thing is, I only sorta like Ryan Murphy’s work. Couldn’t get into Glee, only enjoyed a couple seasons of American Horror Story. Did enjoy the first season of Scream Queens but dropped the second pretty quickly. Liked the OJ Simpson thing, couldn’t invest in Gianni Versace. So my history with Murphy is patchwork. I’m waiting to see which way this show will go for me.

So far I’ve only watched the first episode. In the first few minutes I felt like I probably wasn’t going to like it, but it grew on me as things progressed. However, I really can’t buy these actors as high schoolers. They are so clearly much older.

In a nutshell, The Politician is about Payton Hobart, an adopted child whose singular desire in life is to become president. He’s done huge analysis on it, has decided he must get into Harvard because Harvard has produced the most presidents. And he’s gunning to become class president to help pad his college applications and lay the groundwork for his plans. But his friend (and sometimes lover) River is running against him. And when [SPOILER FOLLOWS] River commits suicide, his girlfriend blames Payton and takes up the reins of River’s campaign. [END SPOILER]

Payton has a group of “advisors” and a would-be “first lady” helping him. Murphy favorite Jessica Lange is on hand as the grasping mama of a cancer-stricken girl Payton chooses as his running mate (for selfish reasons, natch). Gwyneth Paltrow is Payton’s adoptive mother. The cast here is solid, though the advisors are thus far without individuality. Maybe they get character arcs later in the series.

I was most interested in River, but per the above spoiler, that seems misplaced and futile.

In short, I’m intrigued. But seeing as I’ve only watched the pilot, and considering my checkered history with Murphy’s work, I’m reserving full judgement.

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