Political Animals (USA Network) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review

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On July 15th the new political drama series ‘Political Animals’ premiered on USA Network. The show is created by Greg Berlanti (‘Everwood’) and Laurence Mark (‘Jerry Maguire‘). The series revolves around Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver, the ‘Alien’ movies). She tries to get out of her husband’s, former president Bud Hammond (Ciarán Hinds, ‘Rome’), shadow by becoming a presidential candidate. After this attempt fails and her husband shows no support, she divorces him. Two years later Elaine is Secretary of State in her former opponent Garcetti’s (Adrian Pasdar, ‘Heroes’) administration.

While dealing with State Department issues Elaine also tries to keep her family together. This isn’t an easy job with one son, Douglas (James Wolk, ‘You Again’), as Chief of Staff and the other, Thomas, or T.J., (Sebastian Stan, ‘Gossip Girl’) as a drug addicted homosexual who attempted to commit suicide. Added to that Elaine seems to secretly still be in love with her ex-husband, who now has a new girlfriend who looks like a porn star. Another thing that might cause difficulties in future episodes is the fact that Douglas’ fiancée, Anne Ogami (Brittany Ishibashi, ‘Eagle Eye’) has an eating disorder of which no one probably knows.

As you can read there is a lot of drama in just one family, and even though that is fine in a TV series, it is not clear why it’s all introduced in this first episode. It is unclear why it was so important to know right now that Anne has an eating disorder. How this is all going to pan out will probably be interesting to see. However, I won’t be around to see that. ‘Political Animals’ isn’t necessarily a bad series, but I didn’t enjoy watching it.

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Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

To be honest, this reminded me of parts of several real recent presidencies. The politically beloved philandering Democrat and super-powerful wife with an issue of appealing to the public- is definitely reminiscent of the Clintons. And the twins and family history reminds me of GW Bush's administration. So it's definitely interesting. I like how they didn't sugarcoat the goings on which I think makes it more intriguing. Great review , I'm definitely excited for the rest of it.


Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

Hi Alecia,

The resemblance with a few recent presidencies is striking indeed, especially similarity with the Clintons is notable. Makers op 'Political Animals' say that they did not try to tell the story of the Clintons in particular but they were (along with others) an inspiration for the writers.

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