Bud Hammond: Former president and darling of the nation. A flagrant misogynist and racist, prone to calling women "hot piece of asses" and Italians "dagos." Hungry to get back into the political spotlight, he's not above manipulating his ex-wife into bed in order to secure a diplomatic post.
Garcetti: The current president. Floundering and depressingly pragmatic, he allows a hostage situation to go south in order to secure a nuclear peace treaty with Iran.
Susan Berg: Ambitious journalist who made her name by exploiting Bud Hammond's infidelities. Once wrote a supposedly feminist book titled "When Bitches Rule." Secures a week-long interview with Elaine Barrish in exchange for not going to press with dirty secrets about her son. Her editor/boyfriend gives the dirty story to a hot young blogger, with whom he's also having an affair.
The Hammond boys: Douglas the dutiful son who works for his mother, plans to marry soon, wound tighter than a spring. T.J. the self-destructive gay son who attempted suicide, and has a flair for fashion and drugs.
Elaine Barrish: Formerly Elaine Barrish Hammond. Former FLOTUS, currently Secretary of State. Whip-smart about almost everything besides her ex-husband. After a hookup in a sleazy motel, she realizes he's been flattering her so she'll send him to Iran for the hostage negotiation. It's still the best option, so she doesn't rescind the offer, but hopefully she's wised up for good. At first finding herself at odds with Susan Berg, the two come to a sort of mutual respect. Elaine, fed up with the cynicism and incompetence around her, decides to run for president again.
Stay tuned for the full weecap.
Lending an air of verisimilitude to the story, Andrea Mitchell introduces us to Elaine Barrish Hammond in the form of a news report on the former First Lady's bid for the office of the President of the United States. She was also once Governor of Illinois, a mighty fine killer of aliens and an overly romantic spaceship. Her resumé is long and impressive. The report is upbeat, as is the cheering crowd waiting for Elaine's appearance in the ballroom of a downtown Chicago hotel. The only one who doesn't seem especially happy is Elaine, who solemnly picks out a maroon jumpsuit/jacket combo while Andrea drones on in the background.
We watch the proceedings as if watching MSNBC's live coverage. It's actually kind of a neat way to slog through a lot of exposition. As each person makes his or her way to the ballroom stage, a reporter fills us in on the particulars. There's Douglas Hammond, Elaine's son and tireless campaigner. He's accompanied by his Japanese-American girlfriend, Anne. Next up is Thomas, or "T.J." to his family, as the reporter says. "Everyone kept waiting for his homosexuality to be an issue, but nope, it never was!" What an awkwardly written and spoken line. Elaine's mother Margaret joins them up on stage next. Now a jazzy number starts to play and the crowd goes nuts as Bud Hammond enters the room. "Man, they love this guy!" the reporter gushes. Bud shakes hands and jumps up on stage playing air guitar. I hate him a little bit already. The reporter notes that the former President got into some trouble for calling his wife's opponent incompetent. That seems like kind of a mild thing to get into trouble for.
Finally, Elaine gets up on stage and addresses her adoring supporters. Only at this point do we learn that her bid for the nomination was unsuccessful and she's conceded the race to Paul Garcetti. She addresses the young women watching and tells them encouraging things about the future of women running for office. My feminism has failed me a bit, because I'm terribly distracted by the red PVC obi she's wearing with her maroon ensemble. Once away from the scrutiny of the cameras, Elaine lets the cheerful facade fall away. On the way back to Elaine's office, Bud is stopped by a small throng of supporters. A young woman asks him to sign her pin, which is perched precariously near her heaving bosom. "Mr. President, why can't you run again?" she asks. "Would if I could, honey," he tells her. Honey. Hate levels... rising. Margaret tersely tells him to move along.