Pointless Nonsense

Posted in tv by Bill on July 18, 2012

Political Animals is a new USA series that curiously deviates from their string of shows where good-looking but fairly unknown actors play people having a few laughs while they solve crimes, or handle legal cases, or do spy stuff. Here, Sigourney Weaver plays a character who is probably as close to Hillary Clinton as you can get without it just being a biography. They may as well have named her Shmillary Shmlinton. She was the first lady to a popular president who cheated on her (British That Guy who looks Russian), she didn’t divorce him, she ran for President, lost in the primary to a young Senator (Nathan Petrelli), became his Secretary of State, and then sends in the former President to handle a delicate hostage situation in a hostile foreign country. The only difference is that Sigourney Hillary divorces her husband, while Hillary Hillary did not, and they also make her family full of soap opera drama: Bucky from Captain America is her gay druggie son, Ellen Burstyn is her brutally honest drunk mother, the guy from Lone Star other son who I think is crushed by her parents shadow, the Asian actress you get when Ivy from Dollhouse is busy is the bulemic future daughter-in-law, and the ex-President is now dating an actress with a giant fake rack. Carla Gugino plays the reporter who broke the story of the President’s infidelity back in the day and weasels her way into closely covering the Secretary again.

The Weaver/Gugino dynamic is actually kinda interesting. Gugino idolized her, then reported on the affair, then completely trashed Weaver for staying with him, but by this point it seems like she’s gotten over it and idolizes her. But the dialogue is not that great and the male characters are not good at all. The ex-Prez is a caricature of a lecherous politician and the sons are very generic.

The bigger question is, if USA wanted to try to do a smart political show, why on earth would they air it Sunday at 10, opposite The Newsroom and Breaking Bad. About 2 million people are watching each of those, and there has to be quite a bit of overlap with at least Newsroom fans but probably both. Moving it an hour earlier seems like it’d be worth a pretty big bump in ratings. And I’d probably watch it if it was at 9, because it’s ok. But at 10, to make sure everything would get recorded and everything, I’d have to put in a tiny amount of effort, which is more than I think this show is worth.

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