Parents' Guide to

Political Animals

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Star power anchors intricate, boozy dirty-politics series.

TV USA Drama 2012
Political Animals Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

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Kids say (2):

Political Animals' creators did one major thing right: They cast Sigourney Weaver in the main role as Secretary of State Elaine Barrish. We watch her moving from meetings to speeches to dinner parties to heartfelt scenes with her sons and ex-husband, and she seems real and relatable in each facet of her role, be it loving/exasperated mom or hard-nosed politico. Her magnetism makes scenes like the one where she tells a Russian official she's going to serve his "tiny, shriveled balls" in a bowl of borscht for goosing her behind, or one where she advises reporter Berg not to call a bitch a bitch because "us bitches hate that" seem a lot more realistic than ridiculous. In fact, Weaver is so compelling that voters may wish she could be a write-in for the next election.

However, viewers may notice that most of the male characters on the show are oversimplified -- weak and flawed, while the women are powerful and capable. In addition, Political Animals portrays most of its characters as ruthlessly ambitious and willing to lie and cheat for political gain; parents who watch with their kids will want to talk about the concept of an end justifying a means. The plot moves quickly and is complicated; viewers will have to pay attention to get why developments are important or what they mean. This is not a show for kids, not the least because it's talky and built around mature concepts and flawed characters who drink, smoke, philander, and do other things that most adults would rather children don't see. But for teens and adults, particularly those with a political bent, Political Animals is absorbing and smart TV that may spark conversations about history, morality, and politics.

TV Details

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