"The Politician" is yet another captivating and interesting Netflix show. (Image courtesy of Netflix)
Orange County School of the Arts

Review: ‘The Politician’ is a perfect mix of dry humor and political satire

“The Politician” is a soapy comedy-drama that surrounds Payton Hobart (portrayed by Ben Platt), an upper-class kid with dreams of becoming President of the United States.

Season one focused on Hobart’s run for Student Body President at his Santa Barbara high school. The first season has a feel of satire and fantasy and puts into perspective how out of hand politics can get.

It forced watchers to come to terms with the fact that we often vote for candidates because of their likability rather than policy. The season also had subplots of sexuality, self-identity and privilege. The first season ended with a time jump and set-up for another election, State Senator, and season two picked up a few months after we left off.

The second season began weakly and felt like you were being thrown into the action without any setup. About halfway through the episode, the edges began to smooth out and things started to make sense.

Peyton Hobart is losing to Dede Standish (his opponent) at an increasing rate and is scrounging for ways to pull more voters. This is when the conflict begins and the show catapults onto a roller coaster of dirty politics, deceiving plans, wild twists, irony and captivating slow burn dry comedy. By the third episode, I was completely hooked. 

The season holds strong connections to current events such as climate change, cultural appropriation and reproductive rights. As well as clever references to political scandals like PizzaGate.

There are great soapbox political speeches throughout delivered on topics viewers need to learn about.

Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch) performs monologues on Climate Change and has an exceptional short storyline on not letting the toxic man chasing after you claiming to love you into your life. Which is sadly quite rare in film and TV.

Skye Leighton (Rahne Jones) delivers a spectacular monologue on cultural appropriation.

The second season followed the same structure as the first season in many ways. The episode “The Voters” was a direct parallel to the episode “The Voter” from season one. However, I liked this season’s voter episode better as it furthered the plotline much more than the season one version and didn’t feel like a throwaway episode.

This season also included many easter eggs and references from season one, however in many ways, the second season was also its own entity, and I don’t think you need to see season one to enjoy and understand season two.  

Creator of “The Politician” Ryan Murphy is well known for his soapy TV shows, which feel as if they take place in some other world. Some of his most notable work includes Glee and American Horror Story.

Murphy is very detail-oriented, and every single aspect of the set design and costuming in his productions is meticulous. “The Politician” definitely has a Ryan Murphy feel. 

The acting in “The Politician” is another reason why the show is so captivating.

Bette Midler’s performance was phenomenal, over the top and hysterical and she was always there to provide necessary comedic relief. Sometimes, her performance was the only thing that kept me watching. Ben Platt’s performance also stood out. He made Payton lovable, hatable, vulnerable, emotional and relatable. Both Payton and Hadassah were dynamic and enthralling. 

So, you just read my whole review, you now know a general synopsis and set up of the plot, some background on the creator, and a review on the top acting performances. But you’re still unsure, is it worth the watch? 

Honestly, it depends. 

Personally, I love “The Politician,” I feel as if it is a perfect blend of humor, reality and drama. However, I think “The Politician” is a very specific show, and although the constant twists and turns will keep you intrigued, the constant snark and irony may get old. 

Putting that aside, I think the performances in “The Politician” are sublime, the writing is enjoyably dry yet still punchy, and the relevant political topics touched on are necessary for viewers to hear about.