The Washington Post

'Political Animals': A little close to home in Arkansas

Sigourney Weaver as Secretary of State Elaine Barrish in “Political Animals.” (USA Network/DAVID GIESBRECHT/USA NETWORK)

Long ago, Clintonites in Little Rock created a breakfast group by the same name. And some of us thought the USA television series about Elaine Barrish Hammond, failed female presidential candidate and current secretary of state, resembles Hillary Clinton a little too much.

You see, we still live in Clintonland, where the bridge to the 21st century is a local landmark and people don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

One Clintonite emailed me after the show’s debut on Sunday night, “Too close to home. Some inaccuracies. But close to real life."

Sigourney Weaver as Secretary of State Elaine Barrish, Carla Gugino as unethical columnist Susan Berg. (USA Network/DAVID GIESBRECHT/USA NETWORK)

But never mind that. This isn’t about Bubba, who was more accurately portrayed in “Primary Colors” by John Travolta. This show is all about Weaver playing the scorned, smart wife as a glam puss secretary of state who as my mother said is “one mean motor scooter.”

Elaine is that — and embraces it. She plays hard ball with her ex-husband, her two sons, a reporter and even the President of the United States.

Some women seeking a strong female character on television apparently fell for Elaine.

“She is my shero!” said one tweet I saw. Another said "Sigourney Weaver is servin' Hillary Rodham realness!"

Clintonites and Hillary fans were probably beyond giddy when Weaver’s character told her lone secret service agent at the end of the show, “I’m going to run for president again and I’m going to win.”

“Was Hillary an executive producer on this?” one Arkansas political source wondered.

No, but it’s certainly a novel way for her admirers to launch a trial balloon to gauge if, or how badly, America wants her to run. But until the real Hillary launches her 2016 presidential campaign, her fans will have to settle for Sigourney in a power suit.

Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker



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