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REVIEW: Netflix’s The Politician is a funny, dark and gleeful political satire

In a week when certain politicians are behaving very badly indeed, Glee creator Ryan Murphy’s new Netflix show, The Politician, has dropped.

Ryan Murphy making original Netflix shows? He sure is. Let me bring you up to speed.

Murphy signed a deal with Netflix, worth around $300M, to produce original content for the streaming service. And he’s bringing with him the writing team of Brad Murphy, Brad Fulchuk and Ian Brennan, who were also behind the worldwide success story that was Glee.

I don’t like musicals and even I watched the odd episode of Glee. But I digress.

So, what’s The Politician about?

Payton Hobart (Ben Platt), is an ultra-privileged student from Santa Barbara, California. Since the age of seven, he’s known he would one day become the President of the United States.

But first, he must navigate the quagmire of political intrigue that envelops his high school, so he can be elected Student Body President. Payton feels this will secure him his spot at Harvard, the first stepping stone to the Presidency.

To ensure this happens, Payton will have to outwit, outplay and outlast his ruthless classmates, without sacrificing his own morality and meticulously crafted image. 

But does he actually have any? Morals I mean.

Should I watch it?

If you’re a Ryan Murphy fan, you’ve probably just been sitting and refreshing your feed until it drops. And quite rightly so.

The Politician is everything you’ve come to love and expect from Murphy and Fulchuk. It’s an OTT look at high school while at the same time gleefully mocking politicians.

The ‘team’ that orbits the frighteningly self-contained Payton are caricatures of their adult political counterparts. They too are all focused on just one thing….The White House.

Anyone with even a passing interest in darkly comic political satire would do well to watch this eight-part series. (Although I do believe the second part has already been ordered and I can’t wait!)

Its bold, bright, opulent surroundings are merely a veil for the seething underbelly of political shenanigans and the doing of no-good things.

Throw in Payton’s political opponent Astrid Sloan (Lucy Boynton), 16-year-old cancer victim Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch), her overbearing grandmother Dusty (Jessica Lange), Payton’s warm and devoted but miserably super-rich mother Georgina (Gwyneth Paltrow) and you have a cast that dreams are made of.

Oh, and Payton’s identical twin brothers are named Martin and Luther! I can’t even.

The character names alone suggest you should simply cancel all your weekend plans and binge watch this show to death.

The Politcian is smart, clever, funny, bemusing and deeply, darkly satirical. And in this week of world leaders being sprung for their dastardly deeds, maybe we should skip the formalities and simply elect Payton Hobart for President.

4 stars

Where:  Netflix
Release Date: 
Streaming now

Cast: Ben Platt, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Boynton, Bob Balaban, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Dylan McDermott.


I’m Sue-Ellen and I’m a writer and copywriter based in Port Stephens. My aim is to help small to medium-sized businesses find their voice in the white noise of the internet, connecting in a meaningful way with their customers. So, if you like the idea of connecting with your audience and watching your business dreams come true, we should talk.

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Written by Sue Ellen

Copywriter. Writer. Reviewer. Coffee addict. Handbag tragic. Conspiracy tin hatter. Drama Queen.