show: political animals

2

Notes: This started as a joke that accidentally took three days to finish because it wouldn’t leave me alone. I’m almost sick of this guy’s face. (Almost!) I admit I had to skim some of these. (Spread, for example, is a truly rotten movie. I dare you not to skim it.) So I might have missed something, and you might have better info than me! Feel totally free to pass it along.

My original categories were “crying” (not tearing up, but actually shedding tears) “bloody” (open wounds or other blood) and “gay” (sex/kissing/other romantic contact with another dude); upon further review, however, he only actually cried in four titles (Law & Order, The Architect, Political Animals, and Kings). So: my new categories became “bloody” “gay” and “shirtless” (very important, self-explanatory). Kings still would have hit every last one of them. Kings has it all.

I counted all the Captain America stuff as a single title because it’s the same role. The titles I skipped (Red Doors, Rachel Getting Married, Gone, Black Swan) are extremely minor roles, save for Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding, which I could not stream/download for love or money. (It’s on Amazon for eighty-three dollars, what the fuck?)

(SPOILERY) FUN FACTS:

  • He’s bloody and/or shirtless more often than not. The only roles where he wasn’t either were Law & Order, The Architect, and Spread.
  • In both Kings and Political Animals he played the son of the leader of a country, who was involved with another man that had to remain a secret because one guy was closeted, and in which the non-closeted guy committed/attempted suicide after the closeted guy broke it off. In Kings, he played the closeted guy, and in Political Animals, he played the guy who attempted suicide. In The Architect he was also half of a gay couple where one party attempted suicide.
  • In both Law & Order and Captain America: The Winter Soldier he played a kidnapped/captured sniper-assassin who is brainwashed into forgetting his former life.
  • Prior to his role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a Russian-associated super-assassin, he spent most of Hot Tub Time Machine running around in the snow yelling about commies.
  • A good portion of his filmography takes place in New York City (Law & Order, Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding, Red Doors, The Architect, The Education of Charlie Banks, Gossip Girl, Captain America), where (I think!) he currently lives.
So I've been thinking a lot about TJ Hammond

And so I made a timeline of his life, based upon what we know from the show. It’s heartbreaking just to lay it out like this. I’m writing a fic, so I couldn’t help myself. But now I’m like crying so. Anyway, I think this is accurate :

Mid-1982—

—TJ and Doug are born

1990—

—TJ is already a proficient classical pianist

—the Hammonds move into the White House

1982-1996—

—TJ is or appears to be a generally happy child, full of “smiles and light,” I think was his grandma’s phrase

Circa 1996—

—TJ enters high school, and begins to “go downhill”

Summer 1997—

—TJ comes out, probably outed by the media

—TJ sleeps with his female tutor to “check” whether he’s really gay and because “breasts are awesome”

—TJ and Doug live on Grandpa Hammond’s Farm and are happy

1998—

—the Hammonds leave the White House

—TJ becomes so addicted at this time that he never goes longer than six months sober from this point on; that means he’s fucked up regularly during his last two years of high school

—also please allow your heart to break for a moment over the fact that TJ did not let himself completely fall apart until AFTER his family left the White House, even though he was so enormously stressed out in that “fish bowl,” as he called it, okay bye I’m dead

.

1996-2000—

—TJ gets thrown out of prep schools

—TJ continues to use drugs heavily

—TJ discovers coke

—considering his family’s treatment of him in the show, I think it’s fair to say the pattern from these earliest days was more or less, ignore TJ’s self destruction until it results in a crisis that neither we nor the media can ignore, then profess love (and maybe even finally show it, to some extent) and give lectures; when he gets a bit better for a while go back to ignoring him; rinse and repeat

2000—

—presumably TJ and Doug graduate high school somehow

Roughly 2000-2002—

—TJ gets thrown out of colleges and does not graduate

—TJ stays mostly fucked up

2002-2011—

—TJ continues to live life as a “blur” and have a lot of problems with drugs

—he goes to rehab once at some point and it doesn’t take; unless he went earlier, which is possible; we have no real indication when his first stint was; but I’m going to assume it took the Hammonds a while to force him

—TJ has intermittent periods of sobriety, none longer than six months

—we can assume that TJ either actively ignores the possibility of a piano career, or makes occasional stabs at one but cannot keep it together sufficiently to get it off the ground
—based on the fact that TJ is a puppy who doesn’t so much wear his heart on his sleeve as keep it in his palm of his hand, the better to hand it to everyone around him at all times, I think it’s fair to say he gets into some relationships and yet

—clearly no one ever tells TJ they love him, because of his face when Reeves does say that indicates to me he’s never heard it before

—so we can conclude he probably got himself involved in a string of relationships with people who were as closed-off and unaware of his needs as his family was; I’m not gonna go so far as to say some of them were probably emotionally abusive but that’s a distinct possibility

—the family continues the ignore-unless-crisis plan probably

—I think it’s fair to say that during this time there were probably media stories covering TJ’s problems that caused TJ to spiral even further into addiction, considering Elaine and Douglas’ immediate need to find him when the suicide story broke

—TJ throws Doug a party and they get high on e circa mid-2010

June 2011—

—TJ meets Senator Reeves

—TJ gets sober from every substance up to and including, apparently, aspirin

December 2011—

—Reeves says “I love you.”

—TJ is happy.

—Reeves breaks TJ’s heart on the floor and steps on it

—TJ relapses on alcohol, but not necessarily cocaine

—TJ attempts suicide

 

January 2012—

—TJ has an extremely rough time with coke and other substances for a while, rough enough to send him to rehab in less than one month of using

—TJ goes to rehab

February to July 2012—

—TJ appears to be clean to his family, though we know he’s using, at least toward the end of this period but potentially throughout it (he does tell the dealer in ep 1, “Give me the usual,” implying this is not the first time in a while or even the second time in a while he’s done this); but at least we can assume his drug consumption during this time is moderate enough to hide

—TJ works on the night club business plan; and can we please talk about the fact that this is a proactive attempt to have something in his life after Reeves emptied him out? I’d argue that while TJ is underdeveloped for his age as all addicts are and so his plans are childish, and though he’s showing no respect for his own triggers for cocaine use by being around a night club, the fact that he’s trying so hard and so earnestly to fill that hole and he’s not really using that heavily shows a remarkable strength and resilience.

.

July to August 2012—

—events of the show take place

If anyone sees this and wants to debate any of my points, add anything, or flail with me … DO THAT. It would probably make my actual life.