Political Animals is a limited series on USA Network starring Sigourney Weaver as Elaine Barrish Hammond, an American former First Lady, politician, and Presidential candidate who is currently serving as Secretary of State. This may sound familiar. The show also follows her ex-husband Bud Hammond, a former Democratic President, their workaholic son Doug who is devoted to working for his mother, and their younger gay son T.J. The series follows the Hammond family through the travails of political intrigue and awkward family life.As of November 2012, USA Network announced that, due to lower-than-hoped-for ratings, the show would not be renewed.
Tropes present in this series include:
The Alcoholic: Elaine's mother and TJ, though Elaine's mother is closer to a Hard-Drinking Party Girl (to the point where it's unclear that the title Lady Drunk really applies to her) than full-blown alcoholic; indeed, she highly dislikes the idea of a person getting themselves in deep enough to have an addiction (having witnessed Elaine's father self-destruct due to his drug addiction) and she bluntly informs TJ that he's headed down the same path as his grandfather if he doesn't get a hold of himself soon.
All Gays are Promiscuous: TJ uses a Grindr-like smartphone app to hookup with a guy in the first episode, but the lesbian Supreme Court Justice is extremely committed to her ailing partner.
Alternate History: With the point of divergence sometime around in the '80s or at least 1992 at the latest; Bud Hammond's presidency seems to have replaced Bill Clinton's, and Hillary's turn as a Senator from New York seems to have been replaced by Elaine as Governor of Illinois.note Incidentally, the real HRC is originally from Chicago. Also, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was was replaced by Diane Nash (who is the first openly lesbian Supreme Court Justice).
Mile-High Club: Susan Berg, on the Hammond's private jet - with Elaine's son Doug, who's already engaged.
My Own Private "I Do": Doug and Annie ("Plan First, Elope Later" variant), in the season finale. Subverted in that TJ deduces where they ran off to (from an earlier talk with Doug). As a result, the entire Hammond clan show up, with food, drink, and Secret Service agents in tow, and Bud performs the nuptials.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Elaine Barrish Hammond is a thinly-veiled Expy of Hillary Clinton, former President Bud Hammond of Bill Clinton, with a dash of LBJ for good measure, and the family dynamic off popular perceptions of the Kennedy family. Bud is seen at one point having dinner with a certain bald, bespectacled adviser of his who bears a resemblance to James Carville.
Furthermore, The Atlantic has drawn clear parallels between Susan Berg and Maureen Dowd (who famously used her column in The New York Times to call Hillary out on not calling out Bill on his infidelity).
No Party Given: Averted with a vengeance. These characters are clearly identified as Democrats.
Precision F-Strike: With a Bilingual Bonus. After the Russian ambassador grabs Elaine's ass mid-press conference, she warns him - in subtitled Russian - that if he does it again, "I will f*** your shit up!"
Shout Out: Adrian Pasdar's President character is a sleazy politician named Garcetti from Baltimore; this is almost definitely meant as a Shout Out to Tommy Carcetti from The Wire, who goes from Baltimore City Council to Mayor and then finally Maryland Governor by the end of the series, and perhaps is a sort of exploration of what would happen if Carcetti were President.