Remember Glee? And American Horror Story? How about American Crime Story and Scream Queens? All of these are the brainchild of the highly productive and creative Ryan Murphy. As usual, this show has polarised audience with critics both praising and thrashing this High School comedy about a senior that has spent his entire life preparing to become student body president and eventually president of the USA.
The Politician’s official synopsis goes something like this: “Payton Hobart, a student from Santa Barbara, has known since age seven that he’s going to be President of the United States. But first, he’ll have to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: Saint Sebastian High School.”
I recently paid a visit to Times Square for the first time, and the boards were filled with images of the latest Netflix Original, The Politician. As soon as I heard that the series is produced by Ryan Murphy, I signed up! His satirical comedy, mixed with the awkward teenage angst that he captures so well has always been a favourite of mine.
More than that, Murphy, who has been openly gay for quite some time now, is a master at capturing the complexities that come with exploring your sexuality as a teen and The Politician is no exception. And yes, The Politician is an over-the-top dramatic satire, but I think that the dramatisation adds very well to the digestibility of the complex topics tackled on screen.
OMG – The soundtrack in this series is amazing! Even if the plot does not fit your fancy, the music is brilliantly matched to the characters and the plot. In true Murphy-style, the musical performances by the cast are breathtaking and form an integral part of the narrative.
A few songs to look out for:
Chicago – Sufjan Stevens: The theme song to the entire series. This upbeat 2005 classic will be stuck in your head for days!
River – Joni Mitchell: Lead actor, Ben Platt, covers this emotional song, and I cannot really say a lot about it without giving too much away, but you’ll know its significance when you see it.
If you go away (Ne me quitte pas) – Shirley Basset: Can we take a second for the Tour-de-force that is Ryan Murphy regular, Jessica Lange? This grand madame does not disappoint and who better to do Shirley Basset justice?
Unworthy of Your Love – Stephen Sondheim: This song from the play Assassins, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, is still a Broadway classic by one of the greats!
Vienna – Billy Joel: A classic by the songwriting master, expertly performed by Ben Platt! This song transports you to a different era as only Billy Joel can.
So, I never watched Thirteen Reasons Why because I don’t enjoy films or series that deal with mental health issues as I’m not always convinced that it deals with these issues in a way that encourages teenagers to seek help.
I’m very wary of platforms that romanticise topics such as suicide or depression and I think that is where The Politician is might cross the line sometimes. They do have a disclaimer upfront that warns of the dangers and their treatment of these issues, but I cannot help but wonder if a simple warning is enough.