Viewers’ big problem with Netflix show
Netflix's star-studded new dramedy The Politician is set at a wealthy Santa Barbara school where the student body as is cutthroat as they are well-dressed.
Tony award-winner Ben Platt plays the main politico in question, the uber-ambitious Payton Hobart, while Lucy Boynton is his main rival, Astrid Sloan. Supporting Payton is a dream team of wannabe political operatives, his girlfriend Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) and friends James (Theo Germaine) and McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss). Finally, his vice presidential candidate is a disabled and illness-stricken teen named Infinity (Zoey Deutch).
Now it can't be stressed enough that the first season of The Politician is set at a high school. Payton is a high school senior as stressed about getting into his dream school, Harvard, as he is about securing his legacy as class president. His girlfriend is his high school sweetheart.
He and his friends meet in the high school library. They are all in high school. So it's odd that the cast is not only comprised of full-blown adults, but they are all styled to look even older than their median IRL age range. Off-screen, Schlaepfer and Deutch are both 24, Boyton is 25, Dreyfuss is 31, and while Platt is 26, he has already played a college student in the Pitch Perfect trilogy. In fact, a lot of The Politician's young cast has already graduated to mainstream adult roles and visually read as "grown up". It hasn't gone unnoticed by viewers:
i wanna know WHO in this WORLD is watching the politician on Netflix and why ppl are still casting ben platt as a high schooler. The man is 26 years old he does not pass for 17/18— annie✨ (@nightshiftmp3) September 27, 2019
the politician really said high schoolers but make them 30 years old— molly (@Igbtmaisie) September 27, 2019
I started watching the politician, not even 10 min in and I am disappointed that it's a high school show... I thought the whole cast was too old for that... idk I just thought it was going to be about young adults working in politics today— Sam Anabi (@AnabiSam) September 27, 2019
The “high schoolers” in The Politician look so old it’s DEEPLY disturbing— jm (@BS1DES) September 28, 2019
I started watching The Politician on Netflix, but I stopped 7 seconds in when I realized they were trying to pass Ben Platt off as a high school senior. BOYYYY if you don’t get yo OLD ASS OF THAT SCREEN. 😂😂😂😂— AK (@LaimeeAimee) September 28, 2019
I'm 5 minutes into @the_Politician and I'm on the fence. Can't really buy into Ben Platt as a 17 year old kid. Can't really believe any of these people's ages.— Karuna (@AmoreChantel) September 27, 2019
Everyone in the politician is 45 years old— Amanda Has Bangs (@amandahasbangs) September 29, 2019
Why didn't Ryan Murphy just make The Politician take place at a college. Every one of these actors looks WAAAAY too old to be pretending they're high schoolers— valkyrie 🗡 (@artifishly) September 28, 2019
whoever did casting for the politician should be fired im supposed to think this mf that looks 45 years old is in high school???— mikey (@70foradime) September 28, 2019
So what gives? Why is the "teen" cast of The Politician so old?
One reason why The Politician's cast hedges on the older side has to do with creator Ryan Murphy's take on camp. Murphy likes to amplify the decadent and pump up the theatricality in his series. Here, it doesn't matter if the teens look too old. What matters is they are masters of their personal universe, and they want more. Their tastes, desires, and personal drama all hedge towards the adult and away from the stakes of most teen stories.
However, there is a practical reason for this older cast. When Murphy sold the series to Netflix, the concept was that each season of The Politician would follow Payton and his inner circle as they tackled a new political campaign … all on the road to the White House.
The Politician has already been renewed for season 2, and it appears that season will take place a few years in the future when Payton sets his sights on the New York State Senate. In that scenario, Platt and the other actors are actually the proper age to fill their parts.
If The Politician continues, the actors will have age along with the story (either in real time or with make-up or recasting).
So that's why the teen characters of The Politician are all being played by full-blown grown ups: The characters will age as the series goes on.
This article originally appeared on Decider and was reproduced with permission