POLITICAL ANIMALS: Promos, clips, posters, and first impressions
Happy Independence Day, to those of you in the U.S.A. To the rest of you, happy Wednesday! In keeping with the holiday, I’m going to post some red, white, and blue themed material here. Remember when I posted that Summer TV piece , and I was super excited about an upcoming miniseries called Political Animals? You can tune into the premiere on Sunday, July 15th at 10/9c on the USA Network. I’ve had a chance to watch the first episode of the six-part series, and I really enjoyed it. The USA Network has been emailing me all kinds of goodies to promote the show (GIFS, character posters, clips, etc.), so I want to share them with you here.
First of all, here’s some background. Political Animals is a six part miniseries from creator, executive producer, and writer Greg Berlanti. Anyone who has watched television knows that Berlanti has worked on everything—Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, Dawson’s Creek, Jack & Bobby, Eli Stone, etc.—so I was willing to check this out regardless. However, the central concept is also a draw: an intimate look at a political dynasty. No, the Barrish-Hammonds are not real historical figures, but there is more than a hint at the Clintons, and other real-life political families. The story is similar enough to reality to make it plausible, but different enough to make it interesting. As the press material for Political Animals puts it, the series is “pulling back the curtain on the polished facade of politics to reveal a fractured family.” Sold. Not to mention the draw of a stellar cast including Sigourney Weaver, Carla Gugino, Ellen Burstyn, Ciarán Hinds, James Wolk, Sebastian Stan, Brittany Ishibashi, Adrian Pasdar, and Vanessa Redgrave. The list goes on.
The first part of Political Animals, which I screened early, reveals a great deal of complexity and potential. There were certainly some aspects that I found problematic, particularly the feminist and journalistic critiques offered by the characters of Elaine Barrish and Susan Berg. The central conflict between the two revolves around the fact that years ago, Journalist Berg attacked First Lady Barrish-Hammond for not leaving her cheating husband, then sitting president of the United States. “One little comment about her epitomizing the death of feminism, and she had me banned from the White House!” Berg bemoans. Yikes! (Of course, to those around during Clinton’s presidency, these words are all too familiar.) To make matters worse, we find out that Berg actually wrote a book about the impending fourth wave feminism, When Bitches Rule. This information is followed by Berg berating a colleague seemingly for daring to be young and pretty. The irony is palpable when Carla Gugino herself is a knock-out. Why put down other women, reducing them to how attractive they are? But I guess these problematic renderings of 21st century feminism just make the show more realistic. Moreover, Berg practically throws up the word “blog,” as if it were the dirtiest word imaginable. Pretty ridiculous, given the changing landscape of journalism in the electronic age. Why dismiss blogging in 2012? To answer my own question, these are the dynamics that persist in regard to women in journalism and politics. So, again, the problematic aspects didn’t turn me off from the show. Instead, they just made me think. Furthermore, the relationship between those characters does not remain static. There is certainly room for growth and deepening of their respective views, so I can’t wait to see more.
Check out the gallery below for character posters and GIFs released by USA Network. Click on a picture to see the full-size item, and scroll through, gallery-style.
And here is a promo, a behind-the-scenes video, and three clips from the premiere: