The Politician embodies current political issues


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Ben Platt stars in the new hit dramedy, The Politician. The first season is available on Netflix.

By Ela Jalil, Assistant News Editor

How far are you willing to go to get what you want? Is there a difference between being a good person and just doing good things? Netflix’s new dramedy series, The Politician, intrigues watchers with its reflection of current politics in the form of a high school presidential election. 

Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) has his whole life planned out. First, he’s going to be elected president of Saint Sebastian High School, then he will attend Harvard and eventually become President of the United States. There is no doubt in his mind that this will happen, until River Barkley (David Corenswet) runs against him, and Payton starts to lose a grasp on his aspirations. 

The show makes fun of the superficiality of modern politics and extreme wealth, and mentions current events such as gun control legislation and President Trump’s policies throughout the series. Payton embodies a true politician, with his concern of others only extending to whether it would help himself. His closest friends are his “advisors”, and need him to succeed so they can succeed. He plans on marrying his loyal girlfriend Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) because he knows that marrying your high school sweetheart will sell a good story to his future voters. The only person who doesn’t go along with Payton’s quest for ambition is River.

Although they are running against each other, River and Payton are far from rivals and share a relationship that has become a fan favorite. River is the only person that can help Payton feel things, and he becomes Peyton’s conscious and helps Payton slowly break through the emotional walls he built around himself as his life starts to fall apart. 

Almost all of the main characters are of extreme wealth, and use this power to stay on top. Payton funnels thousands of dollars of his own money into his campaign, and his opposition does the same. The show mentions prestigious colleges like Harvard accepting bribes from wealthy applicants to get off the waiting list, similar to the college bribery scandal that happened this past year with many elites such as Felicity Huffman, who is currently in jail for bribing a proctor to change her daughter’s SAT scores so she could get into a better college.

While the premise of the show is somewhat unbelievable, the basis of the show  can be relatable to every teen. The show deals with depression, suicide and abuse in an innovative way. At the beginning of the show, there was a message warning viewers who struggle with their mental health that some elements of the show might be disturbing to them. 

The diversity in the cast is also something that makes the show unique. Unlike other shows, The Politician focuses on the personalities and motives of the characters, not the race, sexual orientation, or disability of the individual. Although the actor who plays James, (Theo Germain) is trans and non-binary, the focus on Germain’s character was never on their sexuality, it was on their ability to help Payton. 

The Principal of the high school was legally deaf, and a prominent character in the series had cerebral palsy, and this diversity was refreshing to see on a mainstream television series. However, it also  poked fun of how politicians use diversity to their advantage, such as all of the candidates emphasizing the “Haitian vote,” although only one person in the school was Haitian. 

The creators of the show, Ryan Murphy and Bryan Falchuk are no strangers to high school drama. Together they have also created the hit musical series Glee and Scream Queens, and Murphy has signed a five year deal worth 300 million dollars with Netflix. 

What makes the show truly unique is the musical aspect. With Ben Platt being in movies like “Pitch Perfect,” and winning a Tony for his role in the hit musical, “Dear Evan Hansen,” it’s no surprise that his singing would bring the show to another level. In the show, singing is the only time that Payton shows any emotions, and the viewer can experience what Payton is feeling. 

The Politician is a dark comedy, with new twists and turns every episode. The watcher never knows who to root for, and no character was perfect. The second season of The Politician is already in the works, set to be released in 2020.