- Netflix’s The Politician has a lot going on, including a cameo by a Dr. Pimple Popper video.
- Ben Platt and Gwyneth Paltrow’s characters share a moment while watching one of her videos.
- “A happy ending every time,” Platt’s character says.
Viewers of Netflix’s new series The Politician probably went into the series not knowing what to expect (It’s produced by Ryan Murphy, after all). But even in a series with duplicitous actions, backdoor political maneuvering, and maybe-a-little-too-earnest musical odes, it would’ve seemed especially hard to predict a cameo appearance from a Dr. Pimple Popper video.
The series takes an exaggerated and often hyperbolic look at the ups and downs of one specific California high school’s race for student body president. In the series’ sixth episode, “The Assassination of Payton Hobart,” Payton—the titular Politician and candidate in the aforementioned race—has found himself semi-reeling after the latest down in the cycle, and is at home watching a video on his computer. At that point, Georgina (Gwyneth Paltrow), his adaptive mother, walks in to find him sitting alone in a trance.
“Oh my god, what is that?” she asks, glancing in momentary terror at what she sees filling his screen. He explains that he’s watching Dr. Pimple Popper, and her world, in turn, is blown. “You mean there’s a TV show about a lady who just pops pimples? How did I miss this? This is brilliant.”
Payton continues. “I just like that it has a really clear narrative,” he says. “You know? Bad things are excised. A happy ending every time.”
Considering the context—he’s just hit a tricky roadblock in his hyper-ambitious life goal (to become President of the United States)—it’s interesting, and probably more representative than you’d initially imagine, that he’d turn to Dr. P. But the thought process makes sense—the narrative is clear. With a Dr. Pimple Popper video, you know exactly what you’re getting, and when things may be flying off the rails in other avenues of life, a sturdy constant can be ever-so-therapeutic. That could be a reason why Dr. Pimple Popper is not only a viral giant online, but one of television’s highest rated cable programs.
It’s also an interesting case of art imitating life (or perhaps vice versa), considering that Gwyneth Paltrow is a big Dr. Pimple Popper fan in real life, even expressing her excitement for the new season of the TLC show back in July. Did she discover Dr. P while filming The Politician? Or did she recommend Dr. P to the show? We may never know.
The Politician is Netflix’s first series produced by Ryan Murphy, who signed a groundbreaking $300 million contract with the streaming giant back in 2018.