Amazon's 'Alpha House' Serves Up Stale GOP Bashing

Amazon's 'Alpha House' Serves Up Stale GOP Bashing

Garry Trudeau, the creator of Amazon’s Alpha House, uses up so many anti-GOP cliches in the show’s pilot it’s a wonder any remain to fill out a full season.

Alpha House, part of Amazon’s foray into original programming, plays out like an extension of the Obama 2012 presidential campaign–paint the GOP as anti-science, phony on supporting the troops and, of course, vehemently anti-gay.

Amazon’s concept of sharing pilots with the public for their approval is a transparent–and noble–effort. So why bother breaking the decades-old TV mold if you’re going to produce yet another liberal political show? Is Alpha House really filling a need?

The pilot does offer slick production values, and we’re treated to a manic Bill Murray cameo in the show’s opening moments. The comedy more or less ends there.

John Goodman stars as one of four Republican senators living in a modest home in D.C. His character’s cake walk of a re-election evaporates when a popular ex-basketball coach enters the race. Now, Goodman’s good ol’ boy character is in for a battle, which means he’ll have to travel to Kabul to shore up his phony “I support the troops” rhetoric.

His fellow roommates hold out little hope for satirical gold. Mark Consuelos shows a wicked comic sensibility as a philandering young senator, but the horny politician shtick feels instantly dated.

In between, we watch the Republicans filibuster a clean energy bill (because they hate the planet), mock climate change (because they’re anti-science, don’tcha know?) and slam gays. We also see a Tea Party candidate cradling his rifle like an old friend, or perhaps a lover.

How much work did it take coming up with these hard-hitting, novel attacks on the GOP? A bloated coffee break likely sufficed.

The show’s liberal bona fides need no introduction. Not only as Trudeau of Doonesbury fame the man behind the project, but its executive producer is liberal pundit Jonathan Alter. So is it any wonder the GOP digs are so superficial and rote, the kind a hack writer would churn out while auditioning for a role on The Daily Show’s staff?

Alpha House might get some love if it existed on HBO, a network eager to coddle left-of-center content. In the democratic realm of streaming television, it had better offer more original laughs should it merit full-season status.