A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Lots of behind-the-scenes political happenings give viewers a somewhat cynical, but not negative, view of government.
Positive Role Models
The characters who inhabit Alpha House are realistically imperfect: They drink, smoke, and sometimes philander. They aren't bad guys, but neither are they the morally upright types we might expect GOP officials to be.
Violence & Scariness
Guns are displayed and discussed, and at one point the Alpha House roomies go to the basement for drunken target practice at a pumpkin in front of a mattress.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No nudity, but sex is frequently joked about and referred to. One character hooks up in a White House room in front of sleeping colleagues; this is played for laughs. Sexual and insulting language is sometimes used, such as when one senator calls another a "faggot." One character is always on the hunt for sex.
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Frequent cursing, usually in joking rank-outs: "He makes you look like a horse's ass." There are many uses of four-letter words, including "f--k," and "s--t," plus epithets such as "faggot."
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Products & Purchases
Mentions of real-life celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stephen Colbert. Colbert appears as himself on one show, hosting one of the Alpha House officials as a guest.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Members frequently drink and make references to being "s--tfaced" or "liquored up." They may act foolishly after drinking, for example, playing with guns.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.