Not sure if it is the stellar cast, riveting storyline or the politicking angle that made the US television series Political Animals so enjoyable for me. Unlike many who proudly declare that they "hate politics" or "don't do politics", I'd be the first to admit I really enjoy politics as practiced under democratic dispensations anywhere in the world. The jostling for power, shady deals, the compromises, broken promises, the neverending scandals, the manipulative nature of good politicians and of course the collective amnesia exhibited by electorates everywhere.
I am not sure if what makes Political Animals so good is the way it blurs the line between fact and fiction. By the way, is there some literary device for basing fictional characters and events so closely to real people and events but cleverly making slight deviations?
See for example, the plot synopsis for Political Animals on IMDB:
"A divorced, former First Lady, is currently serving as the Secretary of State. She deals with State Department issues, while trying to keep her family together"
I should also add that this former first lady was married to an affable fictional President of the US in office in a fictional 1990s when he lied about an affair. This former President has a strong Southern accent and perchance for cigars.
Anyway, like me, some loved Political Animals:
- Maureen Ryan, Huffington Post
Perhaps 'Soap' is the operative word since some were not so in awe:
"What was sold as "The West Wing" comes out looking a lot more like "Dallas." Not necessarily a bad thing, if you can lower your expectations" -
Timothy Goodman,The Hollywood Reporter
Speaking of Dallas, I'm still reeling from the fact that its back after a 21 year hiatus. The theme song should be on the soundtrack of my life. Well, probably not as prominently featured as the themes for other fine soaps such as Santa Barbara, Bold and Beautiful, The Young and the Restless and of course Days of Our Lives. One day I will blog about how the Young and the Restless was broadcast on South African TV for years dubbed in Afrikaans during the dark days of apartheid. One day somewhere in 1990, around the time apartheid was collapsing all around, we turned on the TV to find the Young and the Restless was inexplicably in English. I kid you not. Alas I digress.
As a kid I cramped my big sister's style when she tried to secretly trying to watch Dallas and Dynasty after our bed time by plugging earphones into the TV. I must admit that despite pestering her to explain what was going on, I understood absolutely nothing about the 'complex' Dallas storylines.
Main Dallas cast then:
Main Dallas cast now (it really does still revolve around JR):
But isn't real-life politics like a soap opera anyway? Aren't they all about money, power and respect and much more? Anyway, the bottom-line for me is that Political Animals is worth a watch. Oh and so is Dallas.....I'm sure.