Review: The Politician, season 2

Lucy Boynton, Ben Platt, Laura Dreyfuss, Theo Germaine and Rahne Jones in The Politician

The Politician, season 2, returned to Netflix with the same ambitious politician engaged in a run for office, much like season 1. All the back-stabbing, conniving, bald-faced lying that we saw in season 1 returned as well.

The Politician season 1 didn’t earn fantastic reviews. I was one of the few who liked it. And I liked season 2 as well. The political machinations were interspersed with interpersonal ones.

Payton (Ben Platt) was running for New York state senate against long time incumbent Dede Standish (Judith Light). She had faithful Hadassah Gold (Bette Midler) on her side. Judith Light and Bette Midler should do more together – they’re fantastic. These #EldersRock characters come complete with sex lives; I give 1000 extra points to the series for that.

Payton brought his familiar minions from his high school days: Astrid (Lucy Boynton), McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss), James (Theo Germaine), and Skye (Rahne Jones). Also around was his girlfriend Alice (Julia Schlaepfer).

Without giving too many spoilers away, I’ll mention that thruples are in style this year, laws are broken and elections come down to cold showers, children’s games, and attack ads. Sounds like politics as usual.

The moral dilemma for both the politicos and the viewers is to decide if winning by any means is worth it if the person wants the power of the office to do good things. There’s a strong theme running through about the passion of the younger generation vs. the experience of the older generation.

The voters are represented this season by Andi (Robin Weigert) and her daughter Jayne (Susannah Perkins) who argue about climate change and Payton vs. Bebe. The two of them listen to each other and talk to each other. Not entirely realistic, that.

Gwyneth Paltrow in The Politician

Payton’s mother Georgina (Gwyneth Paltrow) runs for Governor of California at the same time Payton is running for state senate in New York.

At first Georgina’s arc in the story seems frivolous, but she ends up being one of the smarter and better characters among all the power-seekers around her. (Variety has the best dish on her storyline.)

This series tries, not always with success, to ask questions about power, ambition, and the difficulty of progress. It uses dead-pan humor, outrageous situations, and the occasional song to make its points. The characters are disabled, LGBTQ, elders, and people of color, so there is an obvious effort at inclusion.

The Politician was created by Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan, and Ryan Murphy. Women directors in season 2 included Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Tamra Davis, and Tina Mabry.

Poster for The Politician

Take a look at the trailer.

What’s your position on love it vs. hate it where this show is concerned?

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

2 thoughts on “Review: The Politician, season 2”

  1. I want to like this show, but i hated high school so much, it’s hard to even watch it. I am persevering because of @OldAintDead. I can’t binge it though–just too much. I saw bad review headlines about season 2 and was about to give up on season 1. My slog will continue out of deference to Virgina’s tolerance for, well, just about everything. And I also want to see my old lady peers.

    1. Oh, I really hate the thought that you are spending time watching something you don’t really like because of me. You are not required to like what I like – got that? I did warn you that I’m in a minority liking this show.

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