Does 'Alpha House's Garry Trudeau Know Any GOP Pols?
There's an old axiom that one should write about what one knows. By that logic, Alpha House, the Amazon Studios production that premiered late last year and returns for a second season in late October, should be about four Democrats sharing the same roof.
After all, the inspiration for the show was The Omega House, a Capitol Hill residence shared by three Democrats--Sens. Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Chuck Schumer (New York), and Rep. George Miller (California). But creator/writer Garry Trudeau and executive producer Jonathan Alter, a liberal who's worked as a journalist, author and TV commentator, weren't in the mood to pick on folks like these.
Trudeau--whose progressive politics are evident to anyone who reads his Doonesbury comic strip--just didn't think the Democrats were compelling enough, so he made it about four GOP senators, played by John Goodman, Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy and Mark Consuelos.
Speaking to Breitbart News and other press at the summer edition of the biannual Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Trudeau said, "I just thought that the Republicans were at a more interesting place for me dramatically than Democrats right now. When I did 'Tanner '88,' it was the Democrats who were in the wilderness.
"This time around, I could see the world of (moderate) Republicans...who were seeing their world turned upside down, that they were taking so much fire from the right that they had to recalibrate all their positions."
But when Breitbart News asked him if he had any contacts or friends among GOP lawmakers--which he ridicules via the show--to provide insight into what really goes on, Trudeau said, "Jon knows a lot of these folks, and we get a lot of feedback through him.
"Really don't know anyone on the Hill. I never have. I live in New York City, and I don't socialize or talk to them. I just create these fictional worlds, and hopefully I get the feel and tone of it right, but it's really not from spending a lot of time with these guys."
Alter then mentioned getting the inside scoop from the GOP side, saying, "I talked to Sen. Grassley's chief of staff just two days ago. He's a Republican senator from Iowa. And, you might have noticed, in the finale of season one, we had some Democrats, but we also had Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican party, as a cameo, and Grover Norquist and Dick Morris.
"On the Democratic side, Anthony Weiner was in our finale last year."
In happier news, Trudeau said that Bill Murray, who made appearances as disgraced Sen. Vernon Smits, "might" be back.
Oh, and Clark Johnson, who quipped that his mother is still not speaking to him because he's playing a Republican, expressed a hope for change at the GOP.
"I would like to think," he said, "that there could be room for a compassionate Republican in the world, and I would like to reach for that guy and play that guy, the so-called Reagan Era Republican, and to put humanity to it, as opposed to just (Rep. John) Boehner, poor guy, just up there, you know, trying to spew out the party line."