The Politician's savagely satirical nature could be felt right out the gate, with even the show's opening credit's including a jab at Donald Trump's presidency. Trump is, of course, the businessman and real estate developer with a number of hotels and resorts to his name. He later emerged as a television personality, most notably as the producer and host of NBC's reality competition, The Apprentice. In 2016, Trump turned his focus to politics, running against Hillary Clinton. He ultimately emerged victorious, becoming the 45th President of the United States.
Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Fralchuk, and Ian Brennan, The Politician is a comedy-drama series that follows Payton Hobart's endeavor to become the Student Body President of his high school. Played by Tony Award winner Ben Platt, Payton's season 1 goal is part of a grander ambition to one day become President of the United States. The cynical series is the first product of Murphy's five-year deal with Netflix. Alongside Platt, the show also stars Gwyneth Paltrow (Avengers: Endgame), Zoey Deutch, Lucy Boynton, and frequent collaborator Jessica Lange. The first episode caught audiences off-guard with a surprisingly emotional development. That, however, didn't entirely negate Murphy's usual brand of satirical humor from being peppered throughout.
Even The Politician's opening credits weren't exempt. Set to the tune of "Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens, The Politician's credits are comprised of Payton being put together as though a marionette intended to pass as a real boy. A large part goes into putting things on shelves within the construction - all of which related to facets of Payton's personality. The items include a Harvard badge, a bee trapped inside a jar, and a book of matches from his birth mother's workplace. There are also a number of books, with a section dedicated to former Presidents. Alongside Ronald Reagan, the books went in order of the most recent line of Presidents. That is where direct snub occurred. In order, they went: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. But, instead of the next one being about Trump, there is just "The Idiot's Guide To Clowning".
The jab is far from subtle, even if requiring an eagle-eye in order to spot it. The Politician's credits, however, aren't the only example of Trump-directed mockery. The first episode opens with Payton in the middle of an admission's interview with Harvard University. Recounting the story of a dream he had when he was 7, Payton proudly declared, "I'm going to be President of the United States." The admission's officer immediate replied, "It does seem to be the hot job everyone aspires to nowadays. The air of impossibility has been removed."
The episodes frequently mentioned numerous Presidents, even delving into the history of specific Presidential campaigns and races. Trump, however, is never mentioned by name, presumably to maintain the show's often outlandish, almost otherworldly, tone. Still, their inference couldn't be more clear. Equally, it lines up with some opinions expressed in Murphy's other show, American Horror Story. AHS season 7 directly explored a fictionalized aftermath of Trump's election. Fans, however, will no doubt have their own views on how successfully hilarious the knocks on Trump are. Whatever the case, with season 2 all but assured, such satirical savagery will no doubt continue in future episodes. Also, it served as testament and solid insight into Payton's character. While he may not yet know what kind of person or president he is destined to become, he already knew somewhere within himself what kind of person and president he definitely doesn't want to be like.