Dee Discusses: Political Animals Episode 2

Posted: July 31, 2012 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Recaps, Television
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I would watch the hell out of this show it was a regular series. On the other hands I’m starting to picture what Political Animals would look like with a full season. Since it’s on USA I would hope for a 10-12 episode series, not the longer ridiculous 24 eps. Could a whole season be dedicated to Elaine running since this is just her deciding when and how to run? I think so. And I’d watch it. I just love the sharp banter and intelligence of the show, but it is played down in a way so anyone watching can follow along. It’s not as intellectual as say the West Wing. Which is fine with me, honestly. It doesn’t need to be The West Wing. One thing I forgot to mention in my last recap was that the show swears a lot. More than I expected. It also has a lot of sex references and drugs obviously. I understand that 10 PM on USA allows this now, but it was still jarring for me the first few times since I’m used to only HBO and Showtime doing that. Also in an interview Sebastian Stan was joking that he opened to a page that said “TJ gets coke snorted off his abs by a naked man.” Except it wasn’t a joke because that happened in this episode.

There are flashbacks in this episode and they’re used well to develop what is happening in the present. It shows Elaine was a little more trusting of her husband before and when he swore he didn’t cheat on her, she believed him. Now there was an implication he’d cheated many times before, because he implied he promised while he was in the White House. Yeah, you’re a real prince of a guy. So she believes him after he swears, and this is led to when he confesses it is true. The look of heartbreak on her face is intensely painful to witness. Followed by him saying she has to leave him and he’ll do it again, and she decides to stand by him for the good of the country or some nonsense like that. If he was a serial cheater beforehand, she’s just used to sucking it up because she loves him. Or something. It’s frustrating, but I think it’s meant to be. It’s important to see this as the disillusionment of their relationship but also to point out the ways that Elaine has changed since then. And she really has. Except she still has her moments of making stupid mistakes when it comes to her ex.

The President agreed to send Bud to Iran to meet with the President there and negotiate for the hostages. He’s dying and wants to leave a legacy or something like that. Susan is allowed on the plane with Bud and a few other reporters. She has a late night drink with Bud and they talk about the past and she is having none of his nonsense. Like most people she clearly respects his intelligence, but knows he’s a dickhead. Things get messed up because the Vice President is also a dickhead and leaks to the press where the peace negotiation is taking place. Elaine persuades the Turkish Ambassador to let them have it on his land instead, and he agrees if she’ll go on a date with him. Everyone wants Elaine. I don’t blame them! So the negotiation takes place and Bud manages to win by pointing out that the President and himself will all attend the Iranian President’s funeral when he does kick the bucket, and he’ll get the credit for bringing peace between Iran and the US. That seems to make him happy so he agrees. Bud celebrates by sleeping with … one of the hostages? I think that’s who she was supposed to be. Susan’s like MEH at him and has a little affair of her own on the plane with another journalist.

Meanwhile Elaine reveals to Doug that she plans to run again. He is less than happy about this. Doug is easily becoming my favorite character on this show. I think the voice of reason always ends up getting the worst deal, and he’s clearly trying to keep their family together. I bet it’s a thankless job. He rants at her about how it’ll split the party and how their family cannot handle the strain of this idea. He also yells at her for putting up with his father yet again. This is after Doug rescues his brother from that scene of cocaine sniffing off his abs, because the man with him had a boyfriend. TJĀ  steals a check from his grandmother, betraying her trust, and realizes they don’t care much about his donation to the club. They just want his name on it. Doug agrees to give him the money after TJ begs him and reveals he didn’t cash their grandmother’s check. She confronts him and says that her husband – Elaine’s father – was a drug addict too. And if TJ does it again, she’ll cut him out. Eventually Doug agrees with his mother to run, but she secretly meets with Susan and begs her to break the story to protect his family from the insanity.

A strong episode to follow up a great pilot. Seriously make this into a show guys. I will eat it up. Like I said Doug is definitely becoming my favorite. Although what the hell is up with the family not sending TJ to rehab? And why did they cover up his suicide instead of committing him like they should? I know, I know, scandal. But he clearly needs help and instead of offering any permanent solutions they’re mostly ignoring it. And I know that happens, but urgh it is frustrating to watch. I’ll tell you this, I’m really starting to agree with the naysayers about Elaine running. I thought it was cool when it first came up, but honestly I’m not so sure after the good points Doug brought up. Shouldn’t she wait until her boss gets his time and then she’ll have an easy ticket in? Will it seem like she’s being vindictive and party-destroying just for the sake of it? Personally as someone who follows politics regularly, I think I wouldn’t like her doing that either. It would split the party and lord knows they already have plenty of trouble with that. But I think the show is intentionally making that ambiguous, that it isn’t as clearly cut as ‘she obviously should run rah rah Elaine.’ I watched this live and I want to watch it live every week. This show is great, I highly recommend it.


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