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I'm Sorry, But Here's Everything Wrong With "The Politician" And A Few Reasons Why It Slaps

What is the big deal re "throuples"?

I'm not sure if I'm alone on this, but Ryan Murphy's Netflix show The Politician is a weird one for me. Like, half of me likes it and half of me finds it hella problematic, which I guess reflects how the first season was a critical flop but a popular hit. Anyways, here are my thoughts:

Netflix / Via

1. The sexually fluid characters in the show are an obvious win.

Netflix / Via

Yay for queerness!!

2. But the way the entire series sort of glorifies how the privileged set can and do gain a leg up in the political world, is a little tone-deaf to me.

Netflix / Via

The overarching idea of the show is that Ben Platt's character, Payton Hobart, runs for a different political position in every season. It's an interesting conceit, but given Payton's origins, it feels problematic to focus on his political journey in particular as a white, rich, cis, able man.

3. The cast is straight-up amazing, and features a host of proper superstars as well as a myriad of lesser known but equally brilliant actors.

The official poster from The Politician shows illustrated likenesses of several characters and visual motifs from the show including Judith Light, Bette Midler, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ben Platt whose names are written across the poster
Netflix / Via Buzzfeed

So. much. talent.

4. But I'm sorry, when are three students as sharp and assiduous as Payton, McAfee, and James?

A image from The Politician showing Macafee, James, and Payton sitting on the floor against some bookshelves. Macafee wears a yellow blazer and James wears a red shirt, they both looking at payton in a black sweater looking nervous
Netflix / Via

A-Levels were stressful enough for me, I could not have added the effort of setting up student blood drives and winning campaign debates to my plate!

5. You know what is undeniably great though? Gwyneth Paltrow's kaftans.

A split image made up of stills from The Politician showing Gwyneth Paltrow with her long blonde hair wearing two red kaftans in first two images, and a green katfan in the third image

A true California gurl.

6. And Judith's hair.

A still from The Politician showing Judith Light as Dede Standish sitting in a very white living room with a fire and a glass of wine looking into the camera. She wears a white dress and has perfectly blown out hair
Netflix / Via Twitter

Were it possible, I would make a deal with the devil to age into Judith Light.

7. And Bette's incredible timing and physical comedy, which recently earned her an Emmy nom!


Bette lifted up the second series like Jessica Lange did the first. And she's called Hadassah – I mean, what a name!

8. But did the portrayal of the "throuple" annoy anyone else? Like, why does William turn on Dede and Marcus as soon as he gets out of a relationship with them? It's not like the desire to be polygamous is a tap you turn on and off.

A split image from The Politician showing William on a boat saying i love you, and then in the image below he stands in an office and says to Dede and Marcus I'm never gonna be anything more than a third wheel with the two of you

Once William coupled up with Hadassah, it seemed like he almost didn't recognise his former polygamous self, which is super strange.

9. And while we're on that, WHY was the throuple such a big deal?

A split image from The Politician showing Payton in a black jacket and white turtleneck in a limo saying reminder, she was in a throuple and I have evidence, and then Dede sits in the same limo in a white suit and says you really are an evil little troll

I mean I get why, but why? My hope is that in 5 years time we'll look back on Dede's three-way relationship being used against her and laugh at the ridiculousness of it.

10. I really like, however, the idea that River is this perfect, moral shining light... and he's not even real.

Netflix / Via

The character of River is almost entirely based on Payton's perception of him. It suggests that no one who actually exists is truly perfect, everyone has shades of good and bad because that's what being a human is.

11. And the parody of Gwyneth's character, Georgina, almost being like a left-wing Trump is highly entertaining.

Netflix / Via

They both have huge ambitions and are entrenched narcissists.

12. But the way Ben Platt's character Payton stands against Dede Standish like she's some corrupt tyrant doesn't make sense to me.

A split image from The Politician showing three characters each praising Dede Standish saying things like she's not a corrupt politician, she's clean, and she's a liberal new yorker with a lifetime of experience and she takes care of small businesses

Dede sounds great! She seems to be a competent, if slightly out-of-touch, WOMAN in office who's done a lot of good in NYC. Why run against her?

13. And WHY ON EARTH would nearly every prominent character from series one drop everything to help Payton run for state senate?

A still from The Politician showing Payton from behind walking into his dorm room and several characters sitting and waiting for him including Macafee, James, Sky, and Alice in a wedding dress

Alice was about to get married! Astrid, Skye, and James didn't even like Payton! Imo, no one had a good enough reason to join his campaign.

14. There's a frustrating scene in which Skye has to teach everyone about cultural appropriation.

Netflix / Via

Skye, the only person of colour in the room, has to explain the insidiousness of cultural appropriation after a photo of Payton dressed as Apache leader Geronimo is leaked. This reinforces the idea that it's on those without privilege to educate those with it, as opposed to the dominant group doing the work.

15. But then there's also a refreshing scene in which Astrid and Alice discuss their respective pregnancies and what they want to do.


We all know that abortion can be a polarising issue, and this moment gave us two women choosing what to do for themselves and not for anyone else.

16. Infinity in season one and Infinity in season two seem to be completely different and unrelated people.


Remember in season one, she's a victim of her grandmother's manipulation, and then in the second season of The Politician, Infinity is this radical activist and best-selling author with thousands of followers? That's a glow-up, henny!

17. But we love to see her doing the absolute most for the environment.


Infinity actually made me want to get a worm farm in my kitchen.

18. The show is a little afraid to a call a bisexual... a bisexual.

A split image from The Politician showing 3 images - 1 is of Macafee and her new boyfriend who are embracing, another is of Hadassah and William hugging, and the last image shows Payton with Alice and their child hugging
Netflix / Via Buzzfeed

It was unfortunate to see several main characters, including Payton, McAfee, William, Alice, River, and Georgina, who have each been with men and women, end up in het relationships. It felt a little like the goal was tie up their stories in a heteronormative way.

19. Alice is waaaay too changeable and inconsistent for my liking.


One minute she's a bad bitch, then she just wants to marry and settle down, then she wants to start a three-way relationship between herself, Payton, and Astrid, and then she stops the arrangement because she finds it too painful. She simultaneously loves Payton and wants to escape him. I get that people can be complex but what does this girl actually want?!

20. And Andrew, a character with cerebral palsy, was painted to be the absolute worst.

A still from The Politician showing Andrew sitting down in Payton's office against a red and mahogany wall in a blue suit saying I'll tell them you suck and I hate you because I do

They made Andrew completely obnoxious with next to no redeemable features, which sucks considering there is limited representation of persons with disabilities on the show.

21. But the way Infinity shut down Andrew's obsession with her was pretty inspiring.

A split image from The Politician showing Infinity in a restaurant saying when you text a girl you should think is this a normal thing to do and when she texts back I'm sorry I'm not interested that should be the end of it, you my friend are cancelled

Infinity really said womens' rights!

22. We love to see the way the shows lifts up women – Dede Standish for Vice President and Georgina Hobart for President? YAS!

A still from The Politician showing Georgina and Dede both on Facetime talking to one another. Georgina wears a blue blouse and sits in front of a window while Dede wears glasses and a turtleneck. The phones show three icons for hang up, mute, and camera

Two women running America – can you imagine such a thing!?

23. But I'm not sure about Payton's singing intervals. Ben Platt has a banging voice, but do we need all those musical numbers? I'm actually open for discussion on this one...


What are your opinions on The Politician? Let me know in the comments below.

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