Thursday, August 23, 2012

Political Animals

The entire 6 episode run of Political Animals is waiting at home on my DVR...but I put off watching it until our guest-blogger, Chris, could weigh in. Based on his review, I know what I'll be doing all weekend.

I should start out with an admission. I was supposed to write this post about four weeks ago. But, the more I got into the storyline of Political Animals, the more I wanted to wait until the series was over to share my thoughts. And, to put it concisely, I loved the show.

Political Animals is a six-episode “limited series event” on USA Network (read: mini-series). It focuses primarily on Secretary of State Elaine Barrish, played by the magnificent Sigourney Weaver, who also happens to be a former First Lady who divorced her former President husband shortly after losing her own run at the Democratic nomination. Former President Barrish cheated on Elaine several times while he was Governor and President; the whole thing is very Clintonesque. But I digress.

The family also includes sons Douglas, who is Elaine’s Chief of Staff and engaged to be married, and T.J., who is openly gay and struggling with addiction issues. Also ever-present is Elaine’s sassy mother (and former Vegas showgirl) Margaret. What could ever go wrong with this family?!?

(The Barrish family, with the ever-present reporter off to the left.) 

Like I said, I genuinely enjoyed this show. Admittedly, I’m a HUGE Hillary fan, so the similarities between her and the main character didn’t hurt. Plus, unlike most series that stretch a story on for 12 or more episodes, this felt very succinct. Elaine is more popular than ever now that she’s Secretary of State, and she’s struggling to balance her current duties, her future political ambitions, and her family crises. It doesn’t help there’s a determined reporter at every turn, alternating between unlikely ally and threatening foe.

I appreciated that the show didn’t focus on the President, but rather a Cabinet official who may or may not harbor future political ambitions (I can’t spoil everything, you know?). Somehow, while managing to focus the story on Elaine, the creators did a good job at giving each main character their own plot, and managed to pretty much resolve them all within six episodes.

Ultimately, Political Animals left me satisfied in the story, but wanting more, which is a good thing in my book. I’d rather not be drawn out through 12+ episodes with some faintly connecting arc. If you’re going to tell a story, tell the story and do it right! Being on USA, I would count on a marathon at some point. Its well worth your time, especially given the hints of a second season!


Clovis said...

Wait, so Sigourney Weaver and Dave eventually divorced? Man, and they seemed so right for each other back in the movie! ;)

Maggie Cats said...

The sun will come out, tomorrow....