‘The Politician’ has my vote for best Netflix Original show


Alison Goulding

Ben Platt stars as Payton Hobart in Netlix's Original show 'The Politician.'

On Sept. 27, 2019, Netflix released it’s new original show called “The Politician” starring Ben Platt, Zoey Deutch, Gweneth Paltrow, and many other well know actors. It tells the story of Payton Hobart who is portrayed by Platt, a high school senior, who will stop at nothing to become president of his senior class and eventually the president of the United States. His determination and drive interact are derailed not only high school drama, but situations that are much darker.

Fact: I love Ben Platt with my whole heart. When I found out he was playing the main character in the show I was ecstatic to say the least. I drove home very quickly (and safely) the Friday it came out and watched all eight, one-hour-long, episodes in one sitting.

I loved it. 

I cried. 

I watched it again. 

I loved the depth of Platt’s character Payton, and how everyone could find a piece of themselves in him. As a high schooler myself, it was reflective to see these very driven characters navigate the treacherous terrain that is high school.

I was moved by Platt’s musical performances throughout the show, but also Platt is an Oscar away from an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony), so of course his musical performance are going to dazzle the show. I have listened to his cover of ‘River’ so many times now, and it is a Christmas song.

The story the show tries to tell is actually a really important one. One of the issues they attempt to discuss is expectations placed on high schoolers, and the negative consequences of that pressure. This is really important and has not only opened many discussions among my friend group, but also worldwide. 

This discussion was sparked because “The Politician” tries to tell so many stories: gun violence, racism in high schools, gender equality, stories of mental health battles, politics, munchausen by proxy, and many more topics.

That was the issue. 

The show tried to make a point on everything, and made a point on almost nothing. It was chaotic, to say the least. Their points got muddled, mashed together, and while they were there, they were unclear and messy.

The writers of the show tried to make up for underdeveloped characters with an engaging and ever changing storyline.  Some characters, like Platt’s character Payton, where fully developed, and other characters, such as David Corensweet’s character River, were merely thrown in to make a statement and drowned among the fast changing, chaotic story line. 

Platt was playing a high school senior, and is 26 years old. With the average high school senior is 17, that’s almost a ten year difference. Platt’s character was not the only high schooler played by someone much older.  The youngest actor on the show playing a high school senior was 24.

This problem isn’t new or limited to “The Politician,” its and issue in Hollywood. Having adults portray the trials and tribulations of being a high school senior is just odd.

Now the actors aren’t to blame here (Ben Platt I still love you), and I actually thought the acting in the show was pretty amazing. Watching “The Politician” you felt with the characters and you could relate to different aspects of each of their storylines. 

Netflix’s “The Politician” dazzles the audience with outstanding acting, but the writing leaves the viewers wanting more. For a show that tries to say so many things, it’s overall statements get lost in translation. Regardless, I am still waiting with anticipation for season 2 (which will be released in summer 2020).