Sunday, July 15, 2012

Political Animals debuts tonight on USA

Is ‘Political Animals’ based on Hillary Clinton?

That’s the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind.

Okay, not everybody, but anybody interested in the series which debuts tonight (July 15) on USA.

I should stress, this isn’t a new show. This is a six-part miniseries.

It’s ambitious. I’ll give USA that.

And, given the fact that I’m a huge Sigourney Weaver fan, I’m going to check it out.

The basic premise of the show from producer Greg Berlanti (‘Everwood,’ ‘Brothers and Sisters’) follows Elaine Barrish. She’s a former first lady and current governor when the show kicks off.

After its initial set-up, though, when Barrish is conceding to the eventual winner in the presidential primary, the show jumps two years.

We then find out that Barrish has divorced her philandering husband (Ciaran Hinds) and is currently serving as the Secretary of State.

Berlanti and other show higher ups have repeatedly said this is not based on Clinton’s life.

It’s hard to believe that, though.

I mean, Clinton’s husband is a known philanderer who was a very popular president. She wasn’t governor when she ran for the presidential nomination. She was a senator, though. Oh, and she now serves as the Secretary of State for the man (Adrian Pasdar) that she lost in the primary to – just like Clinton.

Now, I’m not saying that everything in this miniseries is going to be true to Clinton’s life – but if it walks like a duck . . .

Barrish’s life is filled with work and her two children. T.J. (played by the charismatic Sebastian Stan, the Mad Hatter on ABC’s ‘Once Upon a Time’) is a gay addict and Doug (James Wolk) is his mother’s chief of staff and about to get married.

Chelsea Clinton they're not – but I guess you can’t have a political show without some soap opera plots. At least that seems to be the mantra of ‘Political Animals’ -- which also has Barrish dodging groping heads of state as she navigates a difficult political landscape.
The final piece of the puzzle is reporter Susan Berg (Carla Gugino) – who blackmails Barrish for access to her with a secret from T.J’s past.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m doubtful that reporters make it very far when they try to blackmail political figures. Call me crazy, but I’m guessing that doesn’t generally fly.

‘Political Animals’ sounds like it could be really good – especially given Ellen Burstyn’s presence as Barrish’s former showgirl mother – or really bad.

Since it’s a limited run series, though, I don’t feel I have a lot to lose by checking it out.

‘Political Animals’ debuts at 10 p.m. tonight.

What do you think? Is ‘Political Animals’ based on Hillary Clinton?


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