Defenders of Amazon’s Alpha House will argue the show delivers a snarky, inside the Beltway comedy for the company’s streaming content launch.
Here’s how “inside” the show is–in the opening moments of the first new episode we see Republican politicians glued to MSNBC.
Alpha House doesn’t improve from there.
The show, based on the first of three installments available for free viewing, insults the GOP, serves up a semi-nude John Goodman and throws a snarky jab at The Drudge Report. The latter features a reference to Drudge information as mere “gossip,” as if it cannot be trusted.
The coup de grace, a walk on role for Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame, lets her uncork this line at two GOP congressmen:
“Nowadays, stupid and stupid’s mutant cousins, crazy and evil, are all that’s left of your party.”
It’s not a shock given the talent behind the show–liberal cartoonist Garry Trudeau and liberal columnist Jonathan Alter fill out key creative spots.
But is it funny?
Beyond an awkward elevator exchange between a comely female and the show’s lothario (Mark Consuelos) … no. The cast is rock solid–Consuelos impresses despite his cliched role, and any time Goodman is on screen is a bonus. The production values mirror your average network show, and the story moves briskly enough even if the content is wafer thin.
Where is the sense of vitality that powers similar shows like HBO’s Veep? It’s hard to imagine Alpha House creating loyal viewers like rival Netflix enjoyed with shows like House of Cards.
Speaking of Cards, that drama delved heavily in political matters without being ideologically rigid. The approach welcomed viewers on both the left and the right.
Amazon’s Alpha House essentially calls half of its potential audience “crazy and evil,” hardly a solid business move from an otherwise savvy company.