Alpha House (2013–2014)
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"Alpha House" follows four United States Senators who live together in the same house. With rent so high in Washington DC, this is actually something that real life congressman end up doing. We see them go about their days with fund-raisers, committee meetings, lunches, and more. It appears a majority of this season will deal with re-election strategy as they try to hold onto their seats in Congress.
One of the most refreshing things about the show is that even though the four Senators are Republicans, the writers don't have people constantly belittle them and put them down in exceptionally well-written monologues. They instead parody the culture of the right-wing by cartooning the facades of it. I personally find the humor funny, but I hope the writers will do it to Democrats as well. Goodness knows liberals can have a sense of humor about their party too.
A lot of people have called this unoriginal and compared to "House of Cards". This isn't HOC, but it's not trying to be. It's a satirical comedy about the inner workings of the beltway. People crying 'Ripoff' seem to forget that HOC was a remake itself. I have a feeling once the show picks up, people will learn to like it. In the meantime, Amazon hasn't given a timetable saying when the next episodes will be released, but I can't wait to see them!
Alpha House may be a deliberate attempt to create a US counterpart to such behind-the-scenes British political satires as Yes Minister and The Thick of It. Like those classics, Alpha House depicts politicians not as evil, or Machiavellian, but rather as very human products of a certain unique culture. These are people who wield great power, yet they're just as slow-witted as the rest of us, and just as unaware of their own blinkered viewpoint. Their priorities are shaped by the relentless pursuit of re-election; the needs of the populace hardly enter into it.
By letting us get to know these characters, and even to like them, Alpha House gives us a very different understanding of their world than we'd get from serious political commentary. It's a show you can't help thinking politicians themselves would enjoy, just as Maggie Thatcher was reputed to enjoy Yes Minister.
I hope the Daily Show/Colbert/Realtime audience discovers Alpha House, and gives its approach a chance. This is political humor that's a bit more subtle, but just as worthwhile.
I have to say that I have always loved John Goodman and I find he is a wonderful character to humanize his house-mates. More than any of his fellow senators he seems accidental in his service--and probably the most honest.
The production values are wonderful in Alpha House and the tone is sweet underneath. Everyone is just trying to get through the day with their own craziness. Wives, lovers, dogs,subcommittees, social media, sex, power and meme are hysterically dealt with. Bravo, Amazon.
It's amazing the extent of which the writer uses every opportunity he can to let viewers know where he stands on all the major political issues (abortion, religion, global warming, gay marriage, etc.), AND greatly disparage the other side in the process.
(I'm not talking about satire. I'm talking about overt statements that are clearly not meant to be funny, just statements).
The thing is, I AGREE with SOME of the writer's politics, and where his political enemies are being foolish. I just can't stand the writer using the dialogue of what could be a great show to let us know where he stands, and how much he loathes the other side.
Great shows that do politics WITHOUT coming even close to taking advantage to the extent this writer does: The West Wing, House of Cards, & SNL.
Sure, in the aforementioned shows, you can see which way the writers lean, but they're not using their position to take cheap shots and manipulate the audience.
The ONLY reason I gave this show any more than the minimum 1 star, is because John Goodman can still act... But they obviously used almost all of their budget to get him, because the supporting cast sucks almost as bad as the show's writers.
But all political bias aside, this show honestly sucks! Is it supposed to be comedy??? Or a drama? It FAILS epically at both! It is NOT funny! (No, not even with John Goodman) And the story lines are not at all enthralling! Absolute garbage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Instead watching this mindless drivel, you should watch the great Kevin Spacey give an accurate portrayal of the sociopaths and scumbags who rise to power on Capitol Hill.
This show sucks! WATCH HOUSE OF CARDS INSTEAD!
Laugh out loud funny, yet with plenty of truisms and real soul, the Alpha House walks the fine line between adult-style frat house/coming of age and political "walk and talk" fly on the wall and doesn't mince it's words addressing matters of drugs, sex, racism, bigotry, religious intolerance and also putting new social media front and centre; Twitter is HUGE in this show as is Skype-type face-time, showcasing new problems that politicians face and ways they can address their constituents. It intersperses fiction with clips of real clips of Obama and committees on the Hill, and it pokes a bit of fun at far-right Republicans.
Love this show, highly recommend it. Can't believe it's not had enough publicity!
Looking beyond all of that the writers show their ignorance through some of their jokes. In the third episode John Goodman makes a joke about how Bagram Afghanistan is the hottest place he has ever been and he is from a swamp. Bagram never actually gets that hot while Kuwait where they had just came from is always horrendously hot. If they wanted to do that joke they should of done it in Kuwait not Bagram.
Make no mistake. Plenty of money and time was expended here. The acting and technical direction is excellent, first-rate. But the writing and the end result is, to be charitable, sophomoric buffoonery. And more than a bit off-putting.
This is not good. Surely those writing the Amazon checks for this effort expected total excellence. Instead, they have a mess that could only please the low-information Daily Kos crowd, perhaps drug-addled sophomores on the slow end of the bell curve.
Amazon, I love you. I support you. I recommend you for your service and your value. And I will continue to do so. But. I could not be persuaded to pay for this. Indeed, you could not pay me to watch it. I went four episodes deep, and it did not get better.
Spend your development dollars elsewhere, Amazon. This 'series' is a shameful, tasteless, and painful loser ...
The cast is brilliant in their respective roles especially John Goodman as Gil John and Matt Malloy as Louis. They all play very stereotypical characters but they do it damn well. Everything they do is a contradiction and depends on public opinion. When they're not in the public eye you get to see the real them. It's refreshing.
It's new, it's fresh, and it's definitely worth watching.
If you liked West Wing, you'll like this show. Just as witty and equally thought-provoking on current-day political culture without Aaron Sorkin's lightning speed dialogue style (thank goodness). Like West Wing, the acting is superb and there are numerous cameos of newspeople and politicians for your political/news junkie pleasures.
If you like Newsroom, you'll like this show. Newsroom was satire at its core. So is Alpha House. Both mostly pokes fun at the current day Republican Party but AH does it better. Both use characters who are Republicans to satirize the party's platform but AH is less preachy and thus more effective than Newsroom was. So far AH hasn't gotten too preachy but there is a possible vulnerability there that I hope the show manages to avoid going forward. This specifically surrounds one of the biggest subplots of the show concerning one of the characters and his inability to reconcile the conservative values he feels pressured to uphold with his sexuality. In fact this character and his family provide the bulk of not only the humor but the backdrop for the overall satirical message of the show. I will stop here to avoid giving too much of the show away.
I hope Amazon continues this show. It really is a breath of fresh air. And I think it's better that it's on a forum like Amazon versus television. I didn't think so at the time but in hindsight I concede that HBO may not have been the best venue for Newsroom. The type of audience it and shows like AH attract is quite specific. It's not a general audience type of show. I'm glad the powers that be apparently realize this. Speaking of those producers, I noticed Jonathan Alter, a regular commentator on MSNBC is executive producer of AH. This is simultaneously fascinating, impressive and alarming. It alarms me because MSNBC has become way too biased and preachy for its own good. I am hoping the kind of disingenuous proselytizing it does doesn't spill over to this show. I am hoping the setup of the show--the interaction of four Republican lawmakers--keeps it grounded and somewhat balanced. I am looking for a positive future for this show.
Check it out!
'Then I saw Marvelous Ms. M and LOVED it. So, so, so much better than Gilmore Girls. Now I've just finished Alpha House.
Such good writing, the characters were funny and clearly drawn--and I could actually tolerate our government, or lack thereof.
I know it's 2018 and several years have passed, but gosh, Amazon, bring this show back.
I seldom buy things from your company so shipping isn't important to me. Spotify can't be beat. I love it to death. But you sure can impact millions of people with high quality, non violent entertainment. That's definitely worth $10 a month.
This is a comedy in the same vein as "Yes, Minister", where there's no laugh out loud moments, but the wit shines through, the situations are absolutely believable and the politicians are shown to be real people, just like everybody else. Admittedly, these people have more power and influence than others, but they're just as incompetent, vain, self-serving, out of touch, ignorant, and grubby as you'd expect any politician to be.
Although there are threads that run through the series, each episode is also sufficiently stand alone that you can miss one or more programmes and still enjoy the show.
I can't help thinking that any detractors of this show are Republicans, annoyed that these men are Republican senators but, really, they're just politicians. Ignore whatever views these people spout and just enjoy the messy business of 21st Century politics.
If you care about politics, watch this show. If you enjoy wit, imagination, and satire, watch this show twice, it's that good.
I was hoping with the election of Obama that we could come together as a country and both parties would work together and do great things but the left wing extremists are just malcontents and need to keep the ugliness of our political system alive for the foreseeable future.
Would be nice to see an attempt by the media in this country to produce something fair as we know there are numerous democrat politicians with criminal indictments and felony records but I guess they wouldn't want to trouble the American public with trivial information like that.
If you are in anyway entertained by politics, DC, and cameos from IRL politicians and journalists, then give this show a try. C'mon, as Kevin Spacey, said, it's hard to make jokes about a town that Is one. This show does it well. Plus, it's an election year!
None-the-less, this tale of 4 likable if goofy Republican senators sharing a house in DC has a good number of laughs, and a larger number of slightly rueful smiles. (Along with a trove of enjoyable supporting characters). And while Trudeau's gently left leaning sympathies are clear, you can be sure he shows his Republican protagonists' likable, human sides, and isn't afraid to make Democrats look as opportunistic and small minded.