Netflix’s ‘The Politician’ a cinematic victory

Meredith Comas, Print Editor-in-Chief

Politics: it’s the drab, dull and down-right dirty wheel that keeps democracy alive and well. Vividly imaginative, cinematically thrilling and eye-catching? Maybe only to the few with a love-love relationship with CSPAN or to the producers of Netflix’s “The Politician.” 

The captivating, binge-worthy, comedy-drama hybrid is the brain-child of producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan — all of whom previously worked on the widely popularized young adult show “Glee.” The three, like their work with “Glee,” have created a combination of voiceovers and quick, scene-to-scene jumps both widely outrageous yet hilarious in their plotline that pull you in whether you want to watch or not. 

Released just last Sunday, the new series follows the story of Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) — a high school student council candidate in the fictitious Saint Sebastian High School in Santa Barbara, California — who idealizes the presidential office and every aspect of what it takes to get there to an almost obsessive, embellished degree. With the help of his campaign team/best friends, the first season follows Hobart through the ups and downs of the campaign trail, the victories, the scandals and the failures of a 21st century politician.

The producers did a brilliant job utilizing the meta-plot technique to build up suspense in a story entirely about a high school student council race. As a member of student government, I can guarantee the only time a high school campaign is this intense or in this intriguing is in “The Politician.” The dialogue and storyline themselves are so brilliantly done, you’d have thought it was Kennedy v. Nixon — which, as expected of a political show, is alluded to during parallel events. 

Even better is the cast list of “The Politician.” 

The acting is absolutely the star of the show. Performances from Platt — previously of “Pitch Perfect” among a list of various Broadway leads — are humorously breathtaking alongside Hollywood A-listers Gwenyth Paltrow and Jessica Lange. God bless America and whoever got Paltrow — also a previous “Glee” member — to star alongside a cast with diverse acting experiences to create comedy with such refreshing grace. It was genuinely invigorating to watch a show that was funny without the need to invoke the surface-level, rough-hewn nothingness of the current-day “try-hard” comedies. Instead, the humour was so subtle and eloquent in presentation, yet obvious to the viewer, all at the hands of cast’s content delivery paired with a fantastic understanding of film and cinematography by the crew. 

While my love for “The Politician’s” acting and videography almost can’t be outweighed by any negatives, there is one issue I had with the show that I simply have to address: what in the world was the last episode?

I’m all for a good cliffhanger; it’s a sure-fire way to get me to tune into a second helping of whatever it is that is being performed or shown. 

However, a cliffhanger, a weird time-jump, a misplaced drinking problem and the stripping of character integrity — which is suddenly regained in the last five minutes of the episode? No, I refuse to accept that. For the quality “The Politician” offered, the last episode was a terrible, disappointing monstrosity just like the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal was to the Demcratic party. 

Despite all that, the real question remains: will I be watching a season two of “The Politician?”

If the cast returns with the same vigor and brilliance and the plot is handled with the grace of season one — minus the blip that was and forever will be the last episode — well, it’s got my vote.