Political Animals Week 2: Political Snoozefest

Political Animals S01E02: “Second Time Around”

“Mao gave that to Nixon!” Bud cried as jilted first lady Elaine shattered a priceless vase in a flashback to one of his numerous affairs. So that’s how it’s going to be, eh Political Animals? Sure, Elaine’s a badass NOW, but there was a time when she was but a scorned wife stuck with a crummy husband. I guess we were supposed to be inspired by her evolution or something, but for me, the flashback scenes surrounding Bud’s affair were the weak point in a generally lackluster follow-up to last week’s debut.

Why can’t Elaine simply BE a tough woman? The revelation that she was, at one time, a mousy, subservient, good little political wife does the same damage that the infamous officially-not-a-rape rape scene in the trailer for the new Tomb Raider game does—it turns Lara Croft and Elaine Barrish’s strength into a reaction. While that’s not a terrible thing—after all, those sorts of stories DO often inspire women, and we need those kinds of characters—we also need strong women characters who are just inherently strong women. So, I was disappointed.

Despite his displeasure in Elaine going behind his back, President Garcetti approved her plan to send Bud abroad to negotiate for the three journalists in the Middle East and we got to see Bud prove that he was actually qualified to be the president at one time. I’m also thrilled that he didn’t try to sleep with Susan... though it looked like he put the moves on another lady journalist. For God’s sake, Bud, LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES.

That goes double for TJ, who literally stole from Grandma to fund his nightclub aspirations, then felt bad about it and changed his mind. He apologized and Grandma threatened to kick him out of the family if he did it again. You guys, former Copa girl and saucy grandma Margaret Barrish is my spirit animal.

TJ ended up getting the money from big bro Doug, who insisted that it was a loan and TJ better pay him back. Doug had a bad week and made some questionable decisions himself. Having put the pieces together and figured out that his parents had an afternoon quickie at some dive motel, Doug was upset by the idea of his mom getting back with his dad. To be fair to Doug, his concern was genuine and he only wanted to spare his mother being hurt again. However, Doug, sweetums, your parents are adults and they’re going to do what they’re going to do.

With that said, I will eye-roll so hard if they get back together. I didn’t sign up for some sort of twisted love story. I signed up for Sigourney Weaver being all fierce and in charge, but this week, we saw very little of that. Instead, once more, the hard decision was passed off to someone else. In this case, Doug, who met his mother’s announcement that she planned to run for president again with a response that was decidedly not enthusiasm, decided that for the good of the family, he had no choice but to derail her campaign... before it even got started. He called a meeting with Susan Berg to play informant and pass on some campaign-crushing insider knowledge. Any ideas on what it might be? Do you think he spilled the beans about Bud and Elaine’s hook-up?

Whatever it was, I hope it shakes things up. I was kind of bored this week. What about you?


– “The former president is a joke. He’s one sex scandal away from Dancing with the Stars.” You know, if Bill Clinton did a stint on DWTS, I’d have no choice but to declare it the greatest show on television.

– Susan hooked up with a fellow reporter on Bud’s plane. Anne and Doug got frisky before TJ crashed the party. I didn’t realize this much booty was allowed on basic cable.

– “You are the President of the United States!” “That doesn’t make me a saint.” Seriously Elaine, crack open a history book or something.

Comments (6)
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Yep - a bit of a let down this ep... too many cliches... especially Elaine looking like 'The Good Wife' (season 1 office pre-shenanigans)...

I hope plot lines develop in more interesting ways....
I still really enjoyed this episode. It wasn't, as you mentioned, quite the fire that we got with the opener, but I think that'll get rectified as we continue. I, on the other hand, liked the journey that we got from Elaine. It doesn't mean she was a meek person, merely that she approached her marriage in a different way for the country as well as the fact that she, for worse or worse, still loved/loves Bud. Though I agree with you that I will eye-roll so hard if they show them getting back together. Oh, and Margaret Barrish is my new favourite TV grandma. Like of all time. That woman's got sass and awesome in every sentence.

-No comment.

-Yeah, following up after Blue, USA has really been going for it lately. I do not complain. They're taking it to task and doing it right. So yay!

-True, but I liked that line. Because in my opinion it lends a true humanity to the office that I wasn't necessarily expecting. In my mind it just further showed the true colours of Bud.
Good show, but the hostage thing has been confusing both weeks. Don't understand why the hostages were taken and also didn't get the part where Bud got them released. Didn't understand how that worked either. Oh well, still love the show.
Love the show and this episode was as good as the last one.

I was hoping for some kind of political thriller, and got a family show instead. I want more in-house battles with the VP - I love to hate the man that plays him ^_^
-Not nearly as much arse as last week though. ; ) I've been talking about how down and dirty USA is getting all of a sudden for the past month!

- TJ. It's all about TJ. Sebastian Stan is stealing the show...not that the others aren't great, but S-squared is captivating to watch. In a show with less than a handful of compelling characters, he by far is probably the most compelling of them all. He shouldn't be as likeable...he shouldn't be so interesting, as this lost, suicidal, drug addict but there are these layers to him that make you root for the guy. And his relationship with Nana...is freakin' awesome. I light up when those two share the screen together. She's probably the only one who doesn't coddle or criticize him...but she put him in his place in a way that only she could. Probably the highlight of this episode for me honestly.

I don't find Doug the slightest bit interesting. I don't find his fiancee interesting either. I understood his concern for his mom but she can take care of herself. I do love how close he and TJ are, despite everyone else always comparing them and putting them against each other, they seem to have a strong enough fraternal bond of their own.

It wasn't as great as the pilot, but still interesting enough. I agree about the flashbacks sort of distorting the great Elaine that we were raving about last week.

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