My favorite comedy series these days isn’t on the networks, on cable, or even on Netflix. Airing (or perhaps, streaming, is a more accurate term) on Amazon.com Alpha House has now entered its second season. And not a moment too soon! The series, an original from Amazon Studios, this season, allows us to binge on all ten new episodes.
Created by Doonesbury mastermind Garry Trudeau, Alpha House follows the political and personal lives of four fictional Republican senators who reside in a shared house within the current, and very real politics of 2014 Washington, D.C. Of course, this being an election year, the plot is infused with fund-raising, various ghosts in the closet, encounters with dark money and its purveyors, etc.
Lest you believe that these senators are cookie-cutter “wingnut” Republicans, be assured they’re not. Each of the four men have both heart and conscience (well, maybe except one of them–Cuban-American opportunist and sex addict Andy Guzman, played by Mark Consuelos with an ever-present twinkle in his eye), and are created with nuance by both the writers, and actors portraying them. They are all “moderates” within the current definition of “Republican.” (Even the most conservative of these senators would likely be challenged by the hard Right of the party.)
John Goodman leads the cast as Gil John Biggs, a North Carolina senator up for re-election. At the end of last season, Gil John had a crisis of conscience in the ever-more-to-the right Republican party, refusing frame his message to please the tea partiers in his midst. This season, having won the primary, he faces a young man–a colonel and his own protege, running as a Democrat. Gil John, who had thought his battle had been in the primary and would now sail to November victory finds himself with nothing in the coffers to oppose the Medal of Freedom-winning Iraq vet. So what is a good Republican to do? Seek out the Koch…er, rather (in this series) the Watt Brothers for their dark money. Chaos ensues.
The other senators (Bettencourt of Pennsylvania, Guzman of Florida, and Laffer of Utah (Matt Malloy) are also hit with their own personal and professional crises leading up to the November elections. The satire is painted in broad strokes, but the personal stories behind the stories of the four senators, their families and staffs are often more nuanced than expected, in large part due to the great performances by Goodman and the rest of the cast. There are romances (boy-meets-girl, girl-meets-girl, and perhaps a hint of boy-meets-boy in the closet of one of our heroes.
So, if you’re looking for something to counteract the negative campaigning, talking heads, and meaningless polls, binge away. Alpha House is sure to cure the election-season blues. Alpha House is free for Amazon Prime subscribers.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00CDBTQCW,B00KITEHUW,B00O5AUEXE]