I’m going to try to leave the Hilary Clinton comparisons out of this and stick to the already publicized spoilers.
Leading lady Elaine Barrish Hammond (Sigourney Weaver) is, quite frankly, badass in the USA network's newest show, Political Animals. She’s smart and wears a burgundy jumpsuit like nobody's business. Elaine could have worn a demure skirt-suit during her introduction, but that’s not the kind of woman she is. She tells her husband, Former President Bud Hammond (Ciaran Hinds), she wants a divorce confidently. Elaine’s just lost a presidential run and isn’t dealing with his wandering eyes (or hands) and narcissism anymore.
Our story takes place two years after Elaine’s failed presidential run. This time it's Secretary of State Elaine Barrish Hammond we're looking at. She's America’s Sweetheart and our foremost kick ass diplomat. Prepare for some laugh-out-loud worthy dancing and proof that Elaine is as tough as everyone says she is. She can shut down an ass grab like none other on TV.
On the other side of Political Animals is Susan Berg (Carla Gugino), an ambitious and smart D.C. journalist. Berg made her mark by covering President Hammond’s infidelities. Years later she wants to write a piece about Elaine and gets the story with a little bargaining (don’t want to spoil anything fun!). You could say that the Secretary of State isn’t too happy about the arrangement, but she agrees.
In Politcal Animals, we see two genuinely strong female characters going head-to-head. This isn’t about looks or men or friendships. It’s a clear depiction of two career driven women trying to get ahead in the world. But these ladies aren’t only stony ambition--they’re real too. Just because they seem extremely resilient doesn’t mean Susan and Elaine are heartless.
Susan wants another Pulitzer, but she doesn’t complain about it to everyone. Instead, she works hard and is amazing at her job. Elaine wants what’s best for her country and her family. Although Bud can be a pompous jerk most of the time, he points out something that’s actually important. He tells his ex-wife, “all anyone talks about is your ambition, they never talk about your heart. I don’t know why they don’t see it.” The Secretary of State explains that she keeps trucking along (dealing with personal scandals and foreign crises) and “you’ll never get to the next great moment if you don’t keep going.”
Political Animals shows the best of what a woman can be, but doesn’t make her perfect. Neither Elaine nor Susan is immune to their feelings for failing men. In a perfect world, we would all be able to instantly drop a cheater but, unfortunately, a lot of women know it can never be that easy. If the pilot is any indication, Political Animals should grow into an amazing show and one USA can be proud of. Watch the trailer below!
Stray thoughts after you watch the pilot:
Can we just talk about the names of these dogs? I’m not going to spoil them, but man was that a smart detail (and golly-gee are they adorable).
Craig Ferguson, congrats on your cameo.
Why do we keep setting up fashion/gossip/entertainment writers as dumb or villainous? “Pink” journalism is credible too and has a place in journalism!