Politics, especially TV politics, can be a tricky thing. Sure, dramas like The West Wing and Scandal nail the theme week after week, but when it comes to comedies, the only successful show that comes to mind (that isn’t British or a news show) is Veep.
When it debuts this weekend, The Mayor (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, CTV) is hoping to increase that success rate. The series stars Brandon Michael Hall (Search Party) as an aspiring rapper named Courtney Rose, who decides to run for mayor of his California hometown of Fort Grey for publicity and interest in an album. Only the plan backfires horribly when he’s actually elected based on the ridiculous things he’s said during the campaign; one morning he basically wakes up as mayor.
It’s a story that many in the United States can relate to.
With the gig intact, it’s up to Courtney and his crew — including his mom Dina (Community‘s Yvette Nicole Brown) and his new A-type manager Valentina (Glee‘s Lea Michele) to make things in his community right and prove that Courtney can actually provide the change his community seeks. With plenty of prodding from Valentina, of course.
“I’m basically basing my character on Olivia Pope,” Michele tells us. “Not that she’s a real person, but for Valentina it’s like, ‘What would Olivia Pope do?'”
Okay, so maybe Valentina doesn’t have Olivia Pope’s wardrobe, and we’re not so sure that Ms. Pope would hitch her wagon to such an unseasoned candidate like Courtney Rose (Pope freaking makes Presidents on Scandal). But we get the comparison in terms of wearing that “white hat” and wanting to be a powerful political fixer. And obviously Valentina sees some potential in Courtney. Because as we learn in the pilot she basically bullies her way into his camp after he wins the election (when we first meet her, she’s working for the other candidate). In fact, once these two millennials do put their minds together, great things happen, and the actors playing them agree it’s a great way to spotlight the impact politics can have on their generation.
In a funny and relatable way, of course.
“What’s so great about our show is that it uses music and comedy as a way to deliver a very important message at a very important time,” Michele says. “The comedy and the music is a vehicle for that. I’m happy to be on a show that gives us a way to talk about politics and current issues in a little bit more of a light-hearted, easily digestable manner for the audience.”
Sadly though, while Glee fans can expect plenty of music from Courtney and others in his rap community, Michele says that for now she’s just excited to play a role in which her acting comes before her voice.
“I never say never, but I was excited to be a part of a show that has a musical theme to it and to not be at the forefront of that,” she shrugs. “I’ll leave it to the boys.”
Sure, sure. We’ll see how long that lasts.