Hulu has optioned the rights to a Hillary Clinton alt-history drama series, and in this one, it’s looking as if she may still want to be president.
Based on Curtis Sittenfeld’s 2020 fiction novel “Rodham,” the drama series would imagine a world where Hillary Rodham decides against marrying Bill Clinton and instead chooses to forge her own unique path to higher office.
According to Variety, the architects of the potential series include Sarah Treem, co-creator of “The Affair,” executive producer of “The Handmaid’s Tale” Warren Littlefield, and the author of the novel himself.
Earlier this year, Hulu released the series “Hillary,” a portrayal of the former Democratic presidential nominee’s life and the 2016 presidential election. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who was a subject of criticism in the series, gave it a less-than-stellar review.
“Unlike Secretary Clinton, I don’t want to relive 2016, we’re in 2020 now,” said Sanders, Clinton’s chief 2016 rival, in reference to her dunks on him.
But the series “Rodham,” should it ever actually air, appears as if it will go in a decidedly more rogue direction, particularly because of the graphic and odd nature of the novel on which it will be based.
Back in May, NPR summarized the premise of the novel:
Rodham is a nauseating, moving, morally suggestive, technically brilliant book that made me think more than any other in recent memory about the aims and limits of fiction.
Hillary’s early life is the same: the suburban upbringing, Wellesley College, law school at Yale. There she meets the same Bill: charming and unfaithful with, eventually, credible assault allegations against him. But here the story changes: She leaves.
In a book review, Vox called the novel an examination of “what feminine ambition looks like when it is untethered from a man,” complete with “genuinely shocking” descriptions of Bill and Hillary’s fictionalized intimate life.
Furthermore, in the author’s work of historical fiction, Bill Clinton never becomes president in 1992, but rather, ends up becoming a tech billionaire before deciding to run for president again in 2016, against Hillary Rodham, according to Vox.
In this funhouse mirror version of the 2016 election, Bill becomes an amalgam of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, a dark horse who upsets a primary that was supposed to be a settled matter, a celebrity candidate with outsider cred and an enthusiastic fan base of tech-loving young men. (Bernie himself does not appear in Rodham, which seems uninterested in criticizing Hillary from the left. Trump, though, does.) Bill’s charisma and tech-world sheen make him political Teflon, unhurt by the accusations of sexual misconduct that fly around him, while Hillary finds herself accused of sexual harassment over having a junior staffer shave her legs.
As the election goes on, Bill’s avid young men supporters are overwhelmed with a profound, rootless hatred of Hillary. At his rallies, they begin a chant: “Shut her up!” And Bill, who loves a crowd, reacts with pleasure.