Political Animals Review: Sick of Men

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While the Political Animals premiere pushed the limits in regards to crude language and sexual content, the follow up episode "Second Time Around" was noticeably toned down to the point that neither stuck out during scenes. Instead, the word choice and sexual content perfectly complemented the storytelling.

Elaine Offers Bud an Opportunity

"Second Time Around" picked up right where the premiere left off. With only six episodes in this limited series, how far will the story take us? We have seen how much can happen in a family and in our government during a crisis even in a short amount of time.

On the political side, Elaine was able to convince the President to send Bud to negotiate the release of the three prisoners. This was a risky move on her part, but one that ultimately was successful.

The flashbacks to Bud's affair coming out and her reaction to it made it more difficult to believe that she would suddenly accept him into her life again. But she did. Will he manipulate his way further into her life? I hope not. Doug had it right when he told his mother that Bud would just end up hurting her again.

Bud's honesty to Elaine after his affair was revealed was unexpected. As President, you would think he would want his wife to stick by him. Instead, Bud was willing to let Elaine go. He knew he would hurt her again. Was that honorable? Or was he telling it like it was, so he could justify breaking his wedding vows in both the past and future?

Elaine's decision to stay with him was honorable. She was First Lady and took that seriously. Back then, it didn't seem to be a political play on her part, though it probably was the smart decision.

I suspect she knows what she is doing with Bud this time. Unlike when she was First Lady, she is in control. She knows the truth, yet she understands the political necessity of managing Bud and his image for her next campaign, which she is doing without him.

As long as her heart doesn't get in the way. Love will make the most sane and logical people take stupid and illogical actions. It would be extremely disappointing to see Elaine go down that path.

Elaine has told three people about her plans to run against her party's current President: Clark, Doug and Bud. What Hell is going to rain down on them when the story gets out? So much for Doug being the good son. One moment he told his mother that if anyone could beat the incumbent president in a primary it was her. The next moment, he was outing his mother's plan to Susan to supposedly save their family. What the heck is up with that? Seriously!

If Doug had a problem with his mother's plan, he should have discussed it with her more. She had barely even decided to run, so there was time for them to talk about it and what it would do to their family. Unless ... Doug leaked it to Susan as part of a bigger plan; one that Elaine knows all about. That would be brilliant. Deep breath. Perhaps it is not as it originally appeared.

Which do you think went down? Did Doug betray his mother? Or, was this "leak" the well-planned opening stage of her presidential campaign?

Odds and Ends

  • TJ is headed into a dark place. Stealing the check from his grandmother? Wow. At least he didn't use it. Doug giving him the money could go terribly wrong, but it could be a better story to see TJ turn his life around.
  • Did Grandma Margaret help TJ with her straight talk about the stealing or about his grandfather? Her saying, "I know your story. I know how it ends." broke my heart. Did it wake TJ up?
  • Even after their confrontation, Grandma Margaret and TJ performed together and beautifully.
  • Doug and Anne aren't going to actually get married, are they? Their relationship doesn't seem to be one of love and passion, but of convenience and habit.
  • Loved that Elaine went into the Turkish bathhouse. Even though she had to agree to a date to get what she needed, she held the power in that situation.
  • Susan was a bit of an enigma. Why did she hang out with Bud on the plane? And, then agree to play the role of a diplomat for him? And, then have sex with Gary in the plane bathroom. Was she upset that Bud didn't pick her for the tour of his private space? Or, just lonely after her break-up?
  • Susan's article about Elaine Barrish was well-done. She spoke honestly and portrayed the secretary of state accurately.

This is one of the most quote-worthy shows on television. Here are a few of my favorites, you can find more in our Political Animals quotes section.

Bud: What's the Bitch of the Beltway doing here?
Elaine: Finishing her feature on me. I told her she could cover this trip on background.
Bud: She won a Pulitzer for hating our guts.
Elaine: Turns out she doesn't hate us, just you. | permalink
Serkan: Perhaps then, uh, you would agree to dinner with me?
Elaine: You would use the lives of three Americans to leverage me into going out with you?
Serkan: You would sacrifice their lives to not go out with me?
Elaine: Fine. | permalink
Nana: Where's my check, you little s**t? Did you forge my name and cash it? For how much?
TJ: No, I ... I couldn't. I'm sorry. I can explain. | permalink


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (32 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


This show gets for sure at least a lot of attention and I for sure keep watching it, even if I am not sure how much I like it or if I even like it. But the whole concept sparked enough insured for me the watch it again, I think they go in the right direction and the are many different character who deserve the time to develop. @Janie We got it that you do not like it, that is okay but to post the same comment in different thread is not necessary and in my book not a valid opinion but annoying spam!


We will not ever watch this show again. We made it 20 minutes into this trash and deleted it. USA is way off on this one. To show blatant drug use is unbelievable and the sex and language extremely offensive. We will be telling everyone we know to stay away from the entire USA network. Absolute trash!


Top TV show for the summer. Sigourney Weaver comes across as smart and sassy. Good politics with out offending either libs or conservatives. A cross between West Wing and Brothers and Sisters. I'm lovin it!


It's mediocre at best. Doug's either being a jerk to his parents or playing a part in a long con. @Carla, Susan slept with Gary because of the excitement from the diplomatic victory. It relates to Bud and his WH affair and Bud with the woman near the end.


Thanks for identifying Eric Mabius! I was going crazy trying to remember where I had seen "Gary" before. None of the castlists that I could find online included "Gary."


@Carla Day ~ That's it!! Thanks so much!!


Gave the show a second chance, but it's just awful. It's just too ridiculous. You should watch Borgen, which airs on LinkTV. It's ending its second season in two weeks. THAT'S a political show that knows how to combine political drama, media ethical issues and family and relationship drama. I promise you: reading the subtitles is worth it. After watching it, you'd realize how silly and insulting Political Animals is. The whole concept of a female politician and a female reporter as leads looks like taken from Borgen, but with an entirely different concept that's silly. By the way, I read somewhere NBC was planning an American version called The Independents, developed by FNL's producers. Is it still on or was it dropped?

Carla day

@MacKenzie Gary was played by Eric Mabius. Maybe know him from Ugly Betty?


Who played Gary and where do I know him from?


So far I have really enjoyed the show and hope it gets picked up as a regular series.

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Political Animals Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Doug: Put on your seat belt.
TJ: Okay.

You're on my list. Famous guys I can cheat with, you're my number two.

TJ's fling