“Servant of the People” isn’t a good show. It follows Vasyl Petrovich Holoborodko, a plain Ukrainian school teacher that gets thrusted into becoming the president of his country. The production value and writing isn’t anything special, and the plot is generally predictable and stale. However, the show itself isn’t what makes it one of only two Ukrainian tv shows on Netflix; that honor is attributed to the star, Volodymyr Zelensky.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because this actor hasn’t just made the news for his drama career, but also for his role in politics. Though he got his start on the stage, Zelensky was elected President of Ukraine on April 22, 2019. So far in his nine month run leading the country, Zelensky has been involved in one of the biggest American political scandals of all time: President Donald Trump’s impeachment. During a July 25 phone call between the two leaders, Trump allegedly threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine unless Zelensky promised to investigate Trump’s possible 2020 opponent Joe Biden’s son. It’s safe to say that Zelenksy’s television career won’t be his legacy.
As the show progresses, Holoborodko overcomes the trials and tribulations of his newly found power, complete with slapstick comedy and other hilarity. Ukrainian government isn’t something lots of people care to know about, possibly because it is fairly confusing. It isn’t clear in the show how exactly Holoborodko was elected, but it happened. The President has five days to nominate someone for Prime Minister, who has to be approved by the cabinet. Once approved, the Prime Minister looks over the seven cabinets, who generally run the entire government. Pretty confusing, right?
Holoborodko’s family is a big part of the President’s life. At the beginning of the series, he lives with his mother, father, and sister, and the dynamic between the four of them mirrors a typical family in America. They bicker and disagree about a lot of things, but at the end of the day, they support each other. In my opinion, this aspect of the show is what makes it worthwhile. Ukraine, a 16 hour flight away from Columbia, Missouri, can seem worlds away from the culture we are used to, but the homely feel of the show demonstrates how similar we can be. Even if the show follows the President of Ukraine, played by the President of Ukraine, viewers will notice how similar our human experiences are.
To decide your own opinion, watch “Servant of the People” on Netflix.