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‘The Politician’ is as chaotic as politics

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all inThe Politician‘, the new series of Netflix and the first result of the millionaire agreement between the platform and ryan murphy (‘American horror story‘,’Position‘,’scream queen‘ and etcetera long), seems to be placed for the glory of aesthetics. Every heartbreaking ‘outfit’, every pastel color palette, every controversial element turned into a subplot, and every heart-pumping speech from the main character is an election odyssey designed to impress just enough to hide the immense emptiness that eats inside. . Hollow as a nesting doll full of wacky characters with nothing to say and too much to learn. For that reason, in its ambition to be the main ‘teenage’ portrait of the neighborhood of politics and the dirty strategies of electoral campaigns, its irritating superficiality could not stand better. After all, What’s more ridiculous than a bunch of politicians who don’t know what they’re doing and don’t even care? The students elect the president, and the president wants the students to be…

Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) a seventeen-year-old boy who always had a big dream: to be president of the United States. But it’s not like when we said we wanted to be astronauts, soccer players or film directors when we were little. He means it. Adopted by one of the country’s successes and self-taught in the stories of all previous rulers, in their successes and failures, the young man has designed a clear path to victory that begins with his first elections, those of the. The Student Council in his Institution. possessed by the enthusiasm of Tracy Flick inelection‘ (1999) and illness determination Rachel Berry of’glee‘, Payton isn’t willing to let anyone get in his way, not even the partner he’s secretly in love with, River (David Corenswet), and his vengeful girlfriend, Astrid (Lucy Boyton), determined to compete with him in the elections.

Adam RoseNetflix

Around her we find a chronically obedient mother (Gwyneth Paltrow) who finds love when she least expects it, a loyal girl who already has her closet ready when she becomes America’s first lady (julia schlaepfer), the number of analysts/friends who will accompany him on his presidential tour (laura dreyfuss and Theo Germaine) and a colleague stricken with cancer who can again sympathize with his candidacy (Zoey Deutsch) if her megalomaniacal grandmother (Jessica Lange) will let her. A cast of characters who aspire to a story that combines the best of john hughes, Wes Anderson and above all, Ryan Murphy himself. Her stamp is inseparable from this production, especially the amazing diversity of the cast (including, in fiction and in reality, trans, bisexual and other representatives of better integration of the LGBTI community into ‘mainstream’ products).

However, and despite being set one-sidedly in our present, ‘The Politician’ seems to be disconnected from reality and the way in which Generation Z to experience politics. Youth activism like David Hogg and Greta Thunberg he is being pushed aside by a suit and tie political idealism that wants to make the world a better place with no real interest in any of its problems. Not in the environment, not in gender equality, not in anything other than the election victory. Then that’s it. It is a portrait of politics based on exaggerated ambition and seen from the perspective of a privileged class. who only want to measure their power of influence on the most disadvantaged sectors without stopping to listen to what they really need. False promises and big lies. Murphy talks about the false political anxieties of turned youth a grotesque expression of an outdated way of doing politicswhile mocking appearance culture, trendy veganism or convenience feminism.

The Politician


However, where are all those ideas that he spreads with the speed of the person who arrives late at each of the events end up? In his review for The New York Times, James Poniewozik he explained it like this:

“He seems to quickly become bored with himself, changing the tone and adding so many twists and turns that it feels like constant improvisation. He asks us to take his characters seriously while turning them around The plot keeps moving, but doesn’t really move forward. In the last episode of the eight-episode season, the story changes and resets for the second season, but at that point I wasn’t so sure what was going on. about the show than when I started watching it.”

There is no reason. The tone of the story is so humorous, so exaggerated, that there is no doubt that ‘The Politician’ a circus show has more intentions than political-social radiography. His main character is, more or less, like the opening credits of the show: a series of compartments strategically placed (and bought) to make him president. But, If you can resist his first attack of cynicism, you will see that there is more heart in the series. than at first he would have us believe. That emptiness, which at first seems too funny and funny, is the leitmotif of the whole story. Perhaps you are not very clear about what you mean in terms of new generations, class differences or how politics works in our time (messages thrown in the air without much order or meaning, but with some interesting ideas), but what is clear is that almost all characters try to live in a world of appearances that they cannot be themselves, where they cannot fully satisfy their needs. And there is nothing more ‘Murphyan’ than that.

The politician


The Netflix series has a whole lot planned five seasons, corresponding to the five elections that will bring Payton closer to the presidency of the United States. Perhaps in that process he learns what it really means to be a leader of the people, and that this first meeting was just a way to show us the character’s untapped potential. The problem is, in the era of ‘streaming’, maybe not everyone has the patience to give him a second chance.

Mireia is a film and series expert at FOTOGRAMAS magazine, where she writes about all kinds of film releases and series on Netflix, HBO Max, and more.

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