I was somewhat anxious about watching the USA network’s Political Animals miniseries, even though I love political dramas about powerful women. Does anyone remember Commander in Chief, in which Geena Davis played a Vice President who assumed the Presidency after the President died? And I am currently madly in love with The Good Wife, though that is both a political drama and a legal drama, with the stay-at-home mom protagonist going back to work at a law firm after her Chicago politician husband lost his job after a sex and corruptions scandal. Both series were/are absolutely amazing.
I worried about Political Animals because, well, you never know how a high-powered female politician is going to be portrayed. And, personally, I like high-powered castrating career-oriented women, in real life and in fiction. I love them. My first role model, as a preschooler, was Maleficent from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, and I kind of look for elements of her in characters and in real people to this day. But I think that there is a temptation, if not a tendency, for writers to show people who are politicians but also mothers as having sacrificed any real maternal skills for their careers.
From what I have seen in the first few episodes, Political Animals does not give in to this temptation. And I could not be happier about it.
Sigourney Weaver, who is always amazing, plays a character who is a former First Lady (whose husband’s very public sex scandal was a tremendous embarrassment) who ran for President but did not receive her party’s nomination and then accepted the position of Secretary of State at the request of the new President. If that sounds familiar, it should, but this fairly clearly isn’t a story about Hillary Clinton. In many ways, Political Animals is about all of the American “political dynasties,” and others who have been in the White House and later try to get back in. And aside from being a southern former governor and former President who has exposed his family to a couple of sex scandals, her husband bears few similarities to President Clinton.
Sigourney Weaver plays the mother of two sons; one of them is engaged and the other is gay. One son works for her, and the other is still trying to get back on his feet after some “problems with sobriety.” I was very pleased to see that she is a good mother. She is also a wonderful politician, though she faces some serious difficulties. She is working with a President who is from her own political party, but who does not share her priorities and who is unafraid to use her popularity for his own advantage, even if it is at her expense.
There are strange and awkward relationships between the women of this show. I will say that I really love how it never becomes cat-fighting. There are no female feuds over men. And I cannot say anymore without giving things away, so I just have to strongly recommend that you watch this miniseries.