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post #1 of 23 Old 07-19-2012, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I finally got around to watching the pilot and found it a very good show. It's a limited series but well written, directed and an outstanding cast. Sigourney Weaver plays the wife of a former President who runs for the office and loses but winds up being the Secretary of State for the winner. Cast also includes Carla Gugino as a journalist, Ciarin Hinds as the cantankerous ex-President, Ellen Burstyn as the First Mother-in-Law, Dylan Baker as the new President's VP.

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post #2 of 23 Old 07-19-2012, 01:00 PM
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You had me at Carla Gugino. I'm in.
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post #3 of 23 Old 07-19-2012, 03:58 PM
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I've watched about 40 minutes so far. The first minutes where they had to do a lot of exposition, was a little clunky, but it soon got into gear. I'm enjoying it.

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post #4 of 23 Old 07-19-2012, 04:13 PM
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You had me at Carla Gugino. I'm in.
Me also!!
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post #5 of 23 Old 07-19-2012, 04:59 PM
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It was very The West Wing -esc. It looks basically as if Hilary divorced Bill, what might happen. It didn't light me up, but the concept is interesting so I will give it another shot. I did notice in some scenes age hasn't been very good to Sigourney.

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post #6 of 23 Old 07-20-2012, 06:35 AM
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I finished the pilot last night. I did enjoy it, but a couple of nitpicky things:

1) How many times do they have to refer to a 60-something year old woman as "hot" or "piece of ass"? True, she's always been an attractive woman, but it seemed a bit forced, to me.

2) Weaver is pretty good, but she has an annoying tic of constantly nodding her head when her character gets agitated. I don't know if it was conscious, or what.

3) What does "limited series" mean? Is this like a mini-series?

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post #7 of 23 Old 07-20-2012, 07:32 AM
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Caught up with this last night on On Demand and thoroughly enjoyed it. Watching Weaver and Ciaran Hinds ( a fave of mine) play off each other as a very thinly veiled Bill and Hillary power couple was great. Hinds' dripping southern drawal was very good for a boy from Ireland, no? He is very much in the mold of Albert Finney, not exactly shabby company to be in. I loved the final "I'm going to run for president again and this time I'm going to win" line and the reaction of the security agent in the vehicle. In the minds of many, I'm sure that it's a portend of the 2016 election cycle so it will be interesting to see how the writers play it. All in all, a very good opener.
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post #8 of 23 Old 07-20-2012, 08:27 PM
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Just finished watching the first episode. I didn't think the parallel w/ Bill and Hillary was thinly veiled, I thought it was an "in your face" parallel. And POTUS seemed a lot like Barry.

Has the makings of a good series, even if limited.

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post #9 of 23 Old 08-07-2012, 09:29 AM
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After having slogged my way through the first 4 episodes of Political Animals, I understand why there have been no posts to this thread for two weeks. Although the show's talented ensemble cast could hardly be better and the political aspects that it examines are often compelling, the soap opera threads have bugged me. This week's show spent so much time on the angst of Elaine's Gay son, T.J., I thought for a while that I must have tuned into a Glee episode by mistake. Similarly, Doug's dumb-as-a-rock girlfriend, Anne, makes me very tired. Back to the positive for a moment, I love the beautiful and sexy Carla Gugino as a hotshot Washington newspaper reporter. Her testy relationship with her boss and one time lover and her rivalry with a beautiful young woman blogger have been fun.

I've found just enough good in the show to convince me to hold my nose and stick with it through the final two episodes.
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post #10 of 23 Old 08-07-2012, 05:08 PM
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I'm also a Carla Gugino fan. I was so disappointed when Karen Sisco was cancelled. 

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post #11 of 23 Old 08-12-2012, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

After having slogged my way through the first 4 episodes of Political Animals, I understand why there have been no posts to this thread for two weeks. Although the show's talented ensemble cast could hardly be better and the political aspects that it examines are often compelling, the soap opera threads have bugged me. This week's show spent so much time on the angst of Elaine's Gay son, T.J., I thought for a while that I must have tuned into a Glee episode by mistake. Similarly, Doug's dumb-as-a-rock girlfriend, Anne, makes me very tired. Back to the positive for a moment, I love the beautiful and sexy Carla Gugino as a hotshot Washington newspaper reporter. Her testy relationship with her boss and one time lover and her rivalry with a beautiful young woman blogger have been fun.
I've found just enough good in the show to convince me to hold my nose and stick with it through the final two episodes.

I'm having difficulty even playing last Sunday's episode for the reasons you mentioned. Also I'm wondering if Hollywood's zeal for making political series during Presidential election years is no longer working due to the campaign season being too long and turning people off politics.
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post #12 of 23 Old 08-12-2012, 10:21 PM
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Surprisingly they're not painting Republicans as the devil incarnate. Actually seems like they bad mouth the Dems more. Lot of infighting. It's OK for summer fare 'til football starts. wink.gif

They need to bring in the Scandal lady.

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post #13 of 23 Old 08-16-2012, 10:17 AM
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A couple of thoughts about this show...

--I generally like political shows, and I've been holding on through this one. But boy, could the story BE and closer to that of Hillary Clinton? To hear the producers say that Elaine is an amalgam of different people is just absurd. Try a little harder to be less 'on the nose' next time. Some of the casting is good, the brothers are credible and Ellen Burstyn steals every scene she's in, and Carla Gugino is easy on the eyes. But Ciaran Hinds bothers me; I just don't see any of the good looks and charm that this character is supposed to possess, and that all of his randy behavior is built around, so none of it works for me. And Weaver does a nice job, but as someone pointed out, she's too old to be some kind of sex object.

---And while we're on the subject, it must be Greg Berlanti's mission to desensitize us to gay relationships by putting them in our faces as much as possible. It bothers me, sorry. I have liberal views on the subject, but I don't want to see it on my TV.

--I DO like that they're shooting here in Philadelphia, and though elsewhere I've seen mention of 'cheap-looking' sets, that doesn't bother me. I understand it's TV on a budget, and I think they're doing a nice job with limited resources. Sigourney Weaver's wardrobe, on the other hand, is pretty awful.

---I don't get what drives some of the character's actions. It seems to me the last thing someone in Elaine Hammond's position would do would be to run against an incumbent president in her own party, particularly one whom she seems to have a decent relationship with, and some respect for. It seems like political suicide and absolute folly, and I would think she'd be smarter than that. With a 50-50 country you couldn't fracture your own party and expect to survive. Real fantasyland stuff. Not to mention the ticking time bomb that is her son, that she'd have to realize is out of control and could go off at any time.
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post #14 of 23 Old 08-16-2012, 10:45 AM
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I decried the mediocrity of Political Animals last week after having seen the first four episodes. I thought this week's episode, though, was a lot better. The thread involving the rescue of the 100 Chinese sailors, stranded in their disabled nuclear submarine off the southern California coast was both exciting and moving. I also enjoyed the well deserved tuneup that Bud Hammond gave the odious vice president (Dylan Baker) in the oval office. Even a couple of the soap opera scenes worked. I thought the hookup on the airplane between Douglas Hammond and Susan Berg was kinda sad but inevitable after their flight was diverted and they consumed a bunch of wine together. It looks like Susan rejoins the Mile High Club every time she flies on Air Force One.smile.gif Finally, the scene between Elaine's mother (the wonderful Ellen Burstyn) and Doug's fiancé , in which they got drunk and high together, was funny and moving. As screwed up as the fiancé is, I can't help but feel sorry for her. All in all, this week was a BIG improvement.
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post #15 of 23 Old 08-18-2012, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jandron View Post

And Weaver does a nice job, but as someone pointed out, she's too old to be some kind of sex object.

Depends on the age of the observer. wink.gifbiggrin.gif:
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---I don't get what drives some of the character's actions. It seems to me the last thing someone in Elaine Hammond's position would do would be to run against an incumbent president in her own party, particularly one whom she seems to have a decent relationship with, and some respect for. It seems like political suicide and absolute folly, and I would think she'd be smarter than that. With a 50-50 country you couldn't fracture your own party and expect to survive. Real fantasyland stuff. Not to mention the ticking time bomb that is her son, that she'd have to realize is out of control and could go off at any time.

I thought it was playing off the idea a while back that Hillary might run against Barry. eek.gif

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post #16 of 23 Old 08-20-2012, 07:15 PM
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I enjoyed this show. I hope it comes back next summer. I also hope that they don't kill off Adrian Pasdar - he's great playing against Sigourney Weaver.

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post #17 of 23 Old 08-21-2012, 06:43 PM
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I enjoyed this show. I hope it comes back next summer. I also hope that they don't kill off Adrian Pasdar - he's great playing against Sigourney Weaver.
I was left with the distinct impression that President Garcetti, like the Wicked Witch of the West before him, is "really most sincerely dead." Of course this is television, so anything is possible. I give this season 6 Stars out of 10, so haven't yet made up my mind whether to come back if there is a Season 2. The acting was marvelous but the writing was considerably less so. It won't break my heart if the show is cancelled. Where was Aaron Sorkin when we needed him.smile.gif
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post #18 of 23 Old 08-22-2012, 07:27 PM
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A couple of thoughts about this show...
--I generally like political shows, and I've been holding on through this one. But boy, could the story BE and closer to that of Hillary Clinton? To hear the producers say that Elaine is an amalgam of different people is just absurd. Try a little harder to be less 'on the nose' next time. Some of the casting is good, the brothers are credible and Ellen Burstyn steals every scene she's in, and Carla Gugino is easy on the eyes. But Ciaran Hinds bothers me; I just don't see any of the good looks and charm that this character is supposed to possess, and that all of his randy behavior is built around, so none of it works for me. And Weaver does a nice job, but as someone pointed out, she's too old to be some kind of sex object.
---And while we're on the subject, it must be Greg Berlanti's mission to desensitize us to gay relationships by putting them in our faces as much as possible. It bothers me, sorry. I have liberal views on the subject, but I don't want to see it on my TV.
--I DO like that they're shooting here in Philadelphia, and though elsewhere I've seen mention of 'cheap-looking' sets, that doesn't bother me. I understand it's TV on a budget, and I think they're doing a nice job with limited resources. Sigourney Weaver's wardrobe, on the other hand, is pretty awful.
---I don't get what drives some of the character's actions. It seems to me the last thing someone in Elaine Hammond's position would do would be to run against an incumbent president in her own party, particularly one whom she seems to have a decent relationship with, and some respect for. It seems like political suicide and absolute folly, and I would think she'd be smarter than that. With a 50-50 country you couldn't fracture your own party and expect to survive. Real fantasyland stuff. Not to mention the ticking time bomb that is her son, that she'd have to realize is out of control and could go off at any time.

Hillary's situation has to be tantalizing to a political soap opera writer. Wife to a charismatic (and philandering) former president husband, former Senator, former Presidential candidate in her own right, current Secretary of State. If Hillary did not exist, this character would be thought to be preposterous. Like her or not, She's a fascinating person.
I don't thing the Gay son exists to "desensitize" us as much as show how that could could be a problem to a political family. His drug use (and sexual escapades) do not put him in a good light.
The "charm" of the ex-prez has everything to do with power. Not everyone would call Bill Clinton (or Henry Kissinger, for that matter) attractive.
As for running against the incumbent, both Ronald Reagan and Ted Kennedy did it, and it didn't stop Reagan from getting elected four years later. Elaine and the President had clear differences, dating back to their run against one another. Also, Elaine felt that the toad VP had too much influence. Had the President lived. I do think Elaine would have taken his offer to be VP.
The series was soap-operish, but held my interest. I felt that the ending set up a sequel, if one is called for.

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post #19 of 23 Old 08-23-2012, 07:42 AM
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As for running against the incumbent, both Ronald Reagan and Ted Kennedy did it, and it didn't stop Reagan from getting elected four years later. Elaine and the President had clear differences, dating back to their run against one another. Also, Elaine felt that the toad VP had too much influence. Had the President lived. I do think Elaine would have taken his offer to be VP.
The series was soap-operish, but held my interest. I felt that the ending set up a sequel, if one is called for.

It was becoming clear that Elaine had decided to tke Garcetti up on his VP offer. Bud was for it and it made sense politcally. Serve as Veep, acting as Garcetti's conscience (as she did in the Chinese Sub incident) and saavy politcal right arm. Help him do some good things for the country and she gets an open road to the presidential nomination in four years. It's an almost perfect polital scenario. With all of that up in smoke, she will most likely run against the new president, who she detests politcally and personally. That should be fun next season. Any bets on whether Susan Berg becomes Elaine's Press Secretary? Of course her little "adventure" with number 1 son on the plane might make that a tad quesy for the two of them but it's politics. As far as Ciaren Hinds goes, I have always liked him as an actor and have no problem with his bigger than life former President Bubba portrayal. It's sure entertaining.
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post #20 of 23 Old 08-23-2012, 03:06 PM
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It was becoming clear that Elaine had decided to tke Garcetti up on his VP offer. Bud was for it and it made sense politcally. Serve as Veep, acting as Garcetti's conscience (as she did in the Chinese Sub incident) and saavy politcal right arm. Help him do some good things for the country and she gets an open road to the presidential nomination in four years. It's an almost perfect polital scenario. With all of that up in smoke, she will most likely run against the new president, who she detests politcally and personally. That should be fun next season. Any bets on whether Susan Berg becomes Elaine's Press Secretary? Of course her little "adventure" with number 1 son on the plane might make that a tad quesy for the two of them but it's politics. As far as Ciaren Hinds goes, I have always liked him as an actor and have no problem with his bigger than life former President Bubba portrayal. It's sure entertaining.

And yet Hillary has reportedly turned down Obama's offer of the VP spot. Go figure.

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post #21 of 23 Old 08-23-2012, 03:35 PM
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And yet Hillary has reportedly turned down Obama's offer of the VP spot. Go figure.

Not really. Her shot at the top job was 4 years ago, then she answered the call to serve as SoS. Don't think she'll want to wait 4 more years and go through that again and VP is a thankless job. She's retiring from public service.
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post #22 of 23 Old 08-27-2012, 11:22 AM
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Just started watching this--got thru the first two episodes last night. Should finish tonight.

I'm surprised no one here mentioned the language--it doesn't bother me. Many different varieties of "S##t", several "dick" (although this word is getting to be uttered pretty often on network TV, hence I didn't censor it), and I was sure I heard Ciaran Hinds' character say "F###" when he was on the phone describing things he was good at in the second episode (wish I would have had closed captioning turned on when I recorded the show).

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post #23 of 23 Old 08-27-2012, 12:44 PM
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I'm not reading the recent posts, because I detect some spoilers.

I had struggled through the first 3 episodes, but recorded the rest, and let them sit. I finally tried the 4th episode this weekend. I think it's the 4th - where Garcetti entices Elaine to join the Supreme Court.

It's like night and day compared to the earlier episodes. It seems like the writing, directing, and acting just jumped up a huge notch. Or, maybe after they got the expository stuff out of the way, and we know the main characters, they could focus on the plot.

Gone is the clumsy, awkward speechifying. Now we have a complex DC plot (the best kind!). I do admit I had to rewind to listen to Garcetti's rapid speech about who in Congress would sign off on Elaine on the Bench, and why.
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