Ben Platt and Gwyneth Paltrow in a scene from The Politician. Picture: Netflix
Ben Platt and Gwyneth Paltrow in a scene from The Politician. Picture: Netflix

Viewers’ big problem with Netflix show

Netflix's star-studded new dramedy The Politician is set at a wealthy Santa Barbara school where the student body as is cutthroat as they are well-dressed.

Tony award-winner Ben Platt plays the main politico in question, the uber-ambitious Payton Hobart, while Lucy Boynton is his main rival, Astrid Sloan. Supporting Payton is a dream team of wannabe political operatives, his girlfriend Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) and friends James (Theo Germaine) and McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss). Finally, his vice presidential candidate is a disabled and illness-stricken teen named Infinity (Zoey Deutch).

REVIEW: Netflix's The Politician is a mixed bag

Now it can't be stressed enough that the first season of The Politician is set at a high school. Payton is a high school senior as stressed about getting into his dream school, Harvard, as he is about securing his legacy as class president. His girlfriend is his high school sweetheart.

 

Laura Dreyfuss, Theo Germaine and Ben Platt — Dreyfuss is 31 while Platt is 26. Picture: Netflix
Laura Dreyfuss, Theo Germaine and Ben Platt — Dreyfuss is 31 while Platt is 26. Picture: Netflix

He and his friends meet in the high school library. They are all in high school. So it's odd that the cast is not only comprised of full-blown adults, but they are all styled to look even older than their median IRL age range. Off-screen, Schlaepfer and Deutch are both 24, Boyton is 25, Dreyfuss is 31, and while Platt is 26, he has already played a college student in the Pitch Perfect trilogy. In fact, a lot of The Politician's young cast has already graduated to mainstream adult roles and visually read as "grown up". It hasn't gone unnoticed by viewers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what gives? Why is the "teen" cast of The Politician so old?

One reason why The Politician's cast hedges on the older side has to do with creator Ryan Murphy's take on camp. Murphy likes to amplify the decadent and pump up the theatricality in his series. Here, it doesn't matter if the teens look too old. What matters is they are masters of their personal universe, and they want more. Their tastes, desires, and personal drama all hedge towards the adult and away from the stakes of most teen stories.

 

Platt already played a college student in the Pitch Perfect movies — now he’s back at high school. Picture: Netflix
Platt already played a college student in the Pitch Perfect movies — now he’s back at high school. Picture: Netflix

However, there is a practical reason for this older cast. When Murphy sold the series to Netflix, the concept was that each season of The Politician would follow Payton and his inner circle as they tackled a new political campaign … all on the road to the White House.

The Politician has already been renewed for season 2, and it appears that season will take place a few years in the future when Payton sets his sights on the New York State Senate. In that scenario, Platt and the other actors are actually the proper age to fill their parts.

If The Politician continues, the actors will have age along with the story (either in real time or with make-up or recasting).

So that's why the teen characters of The Politician are all being played by full-blown grown ups: The characters will age as the series goes on.

This article originally appeared on Decider and was reproduced with permission



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