What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Alpha House is a mature political comedy with frequent strong language and lots of references to sex. The main characters are Republican senators who seem to take their responsibilities lightly and mock things viewers may hold sacred, such as laws and the U.S. military. At least one of the senators is divorced; we see him dating, hosting women in his limo, and even having sex with one woman standing up against a wall surrounded by his sleeping colleagues. Race and sexual orientation also is up for mockery, as are religion, abortion rights, and feminism. Easily offended viewers will find much to be upset over, but political junkies will find Alpha House fresh, funny, and realistic.
What's the story?
Four Republican senators share the Washington, D.C., ALPHA HOUSE, but they each have their own problems to worry about. North Carolina's Gil John Briggs (John Goodman) has been coasting on his past as a famous basketball coach for years, but now he faces serious electoral competition from Duke's current basketball coach. "You're like a retired god, but he's active," says roomie Louis Laffer (Matt Malloy), who's worried that his constituency views him as weak and unmanly compared to his gun-toting Tea Party opponent. Meanwhile, senior Pennsylvania Senator Robert Bettencort (Clark Johnson) is caught in an ethical dilemma that could get him bounced from his job, and newly single Florida rake Andy Guzman (Mark Consuelos) is just as interested in maintaining his slick can-do image as he is in racking up bedpost notches. Will the four of them hold on to their jobs, retain the respect of their constituencies, and keep the GOP together in the face of a new ultraconservative threat?
Is it any good?
Garry Trudeau, you've still got it. The Pulitzer prize winner and creator of the long-running political strip Doonesbury has created something fresh and funny. Every aspect of this production is wonderful, from writing to set-dressing to acting to camera work. The dialogue is realistic yet hilarious.
The dramatic challenges set up by Alpha House's pilot are equally interesting. Briggs is on a collision course with a better-loved sports figure; Bettencourt is thisclose to being called up by the Ethics Committee; Laffer desperately seeks a way to look more "ballsy" to the electorate. These are funny guys with funny problems; viewing hours spent watching them work things out is time well spent for mature viewers with a taste for politics.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether they believe Alpha House to be an accurate representation of how political figures behave. Is the show realistic, or are things amped up to provide comedy?
Is the viewer supposed to like the senators featured on the show? What about their characterization brings you to this conclusion? Are we supposed to be laughing with or at these characters?