Netflix has released a trailer for The Politician, a new show which boasts Hamptonites on both sides of the camera. In the much anticipated series, Amagansett’s Gwyneth Paltrow plays the adoptive mother of the protagonist, Payton Hobart (Ben Platt). Hobart is a wealthy, privileged student at an elite Santa Barbara high school who’s hell bent on admission to Harvard, the natural precursor to the United States presidency.
Season 1 of The Politician is eight episodes and will be available to stream September 27. The series is intended to serve as an origin story for members of the political elite who have benefited from grotesque privilege, nepotism and bribery. It will detail how a good politician becomes a good politician. Each season of the show will focus on a different stepping-stone election on Hobart’s climb the nation’s highest office.
The first season follows Hobart and his helicopter mother (Paltrow) through a laughably contentious student government race and the college application process. The inspiration for this particular plot line in the series, came from none other than Jared Kushner—a Harvard man whose father was kind enough to “donate” $2.5 million to the school in 1998, just in time for Kushner’s matriculation in 1999.
Paltrow’s husband, Pose producer Brad Falchuk is one of the creators of the show, along with Ryan Murphy, and explained his fascination with Kushner’s education to the Hollywood Reporter: “This guy was walking around with the pride of being a Harvard graduate, and the reality was that he didn’t belong there.” Falchuk channeled this interest into the first episode of The Politician—Hobart’s less accomplished older brothers are already attending his dream school on the Charles when viewers meet the self-destructively ambitious teen. When Hobart is waitlisted, his mother consoles him about his brothers as only the mega-rich can, saying, “Well, your father and I bought their way in.”
Many have said The Politician managed to predict the college admissions scandal that revealed how influencers and their sycophantic parents paid admissions officers and fudged athletic accomplishments in order to get into elite schools. In fact, The Politician did something far more brave than predict. A conscious choice was made to depict on film one of the more vile open secrets of higher education in America. If this brilliantly irreverent and class-critical plot line is representative of the series as a whole, it’s sure to be a success.