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Monday, July 16, 2012

My Review of Political Animals Episode 1- Pilot

Since this is a limited length series (6 episodes), I will only number the episodes as opposed to giving them the season and episode number. Now, onto the episode. Since the episode was on last night, I will dispense with the normal spoiler space.
This show is about a family (the Hammonds) who are a cross between the Kennedys and the Clintons. Like the Kennedys, they are called American royalty. There is a mother (Sigourney Weaver), an ex-husband (Ciaran Hinds), two sons (James Wolk and Stan Sebastian), and the grandmother (Ellen Burstyn). Let's look at the characters.
First, you have Elaine Barrish who is the current Secretary of State, a former presidential candidate, former governor of Illnois, and former First Lady. She is very concerned about appearances, but is not paralyzed by this concern. She is very strong willed but also very feminine. I love the way the Sigourney balances the yin and yang that are present in Elaine's character. She cares deeply about both of her sons and still loves her ex-husband despite everything he did during their marriage.
Speaking of her ex, we have Bud Hammond the philandering ex-president and egotist who is still trying to remain relevant. He is currently dating a movie star but still obviously harbors feelings for Elaine. He is also addicted to politics and can't resist meddling on occasion.
Douglas Hammond (Wolk) is pretty much a straight shooter. He also shoots from the hip, not a good trait. He helps to run his mother's campaigns and seems to be her chief of staff. He is dating (and soon to be engaged to) an Asian woman, Anne (played by Brittany Ishibashi) who is also bulimic. He is passionate, blunt, devoted to his mother and family, and in general seems to be a good person.
His brother Thomas (Stan), called TJ, was the first openly gay child of a President. He is addicted to drugs and alcohol and seems to sleep around. He also seems to have tried and failed various ventures in the past and wants to open a nightclub using his parents' money. He also tried to commit suicide by carbon monoxide on December 22, 2011.

Margaret Barrish is Elaine's mother. She is incredibily blunt, drinks like a fish, and calls it as she sees it. She promises to be very entertaining.
Other important characters are the President (Adrian Pasdar), the Vice President (Dylan Baker), and the President's Chief of Staff (Roger Bart). Then there is Susan Berg (Carla Gugino), a reporter with the Washington Globe who covered the stories of Bud's infidelities while he was in the White House. She discovered the truth about TJs attempted suicide and used that story to get a week long interview with Elaine. Unfortunately for her, she mentioned the story to her boyfriend (also the editor of the Globe) who gave the story to a blogger who published the story leading to Elaine ending the special interview and a breakup of Susan and her boyfriend. Susan apologizes to Elaine and ends up getting a nice scoop in the process.
I have to say that I loved the show. They gave alot of backstory in the first 10-15 minutes and let us see how everyone got to where they are. The last few minutes told us that Elaine wants to run for President again and she is going to recommend to the President that he send Bud to Iran to sort out a problem. Basically, these; along with the personal issues; will seem to serve as the driving plots for the remainder of the series.