Review: The Politician 2 (R21)
This farcical comedy series is by no means one of TV guru Ryan Murphy’s winners, even though it has shades of his earlier (and better) shows like Popular and Glee.
But now that we are knee-deep in Singapore’s General Election, campaigning from incumbents and new candidates are in full swing and barbs are being traded on a daily basis, The Politician 2 - currently streaming on Netflix - may just earn your vote by default for its timeliness of subject matter.
And let’s not forget the Trump vs Biden US elections are around the corner too.
In the second season, ambitious New York University student Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) expands his political horizons from high school student body president to running for a seat in the New York State Senate, where the stakes are higher and the double-crossing and mud-flinging is off the charts.
Broadway darling Platt is still a worthy lead in his second term, one whom you can always depend on for a voracious performance, whether he’s working himself into a frenzy, delivering rapid-fire zingers or turning on the waterworks and toning it down for those reflective moments.
Here, he meets his match in the twin veteran forces of Judith Light and Bette Midler, as his seasoned opponent Senator Dede Standish and her shrewd campaign manager Hadassah Gold respectively, who really inject so much comedy and charisma into the proceedings.
As Murphy offerings go, the entertainment value is still there.
Only in his mad universe can a storyline about a kinky “throuple” (three-way relationship) and the psychology behind rock-paper-scissors co-exist with social commentary on cultural appropriation, climate change and LGBTQ representation.
Unfortunately, it is hard to care deeply about The Politician because its inhabitants ultimately don’t allow you to.
Almost everyone is written as shallow, obnoxious caricatures, empty vessels who are far from being relatable or real.
After a while, the snappy, snarky dialogue starts to get tiresome and ring hollow.
Certain character arcs even go horribly off-tangent this season, like those of Lucy Boynton and Gwyneth Paltrow.
All in all, the polling numbers for The Politician aren’t terrible, but they won’t give it a mandate either.