Alpha House: A Review of The Best Show You Probably Aren’t Watching

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

First things first, did you know that Amazon Prime accounts come with some video streaming services? Most of my friends didn’t. Or if they did know about the video they were not aware that Amazon has now journeyed into having their own original series (like netflix before them). Or, if they some how amazingly knew about that, they certainly did not know that one of those shows is absolutely amazing.

Alpha House stars John Goodman and is the brainchild of Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau. It was inspired by a group of real life Democratic congressmen who share a home together in DC but in Amazon’s version the house is instead occupied by four Republican Senators. It is hilarious to the point of literal knee slapping and delightful and a must watch for any political junkie out there. Unless perhaps you think Ted Cruz is a swell guy- the show asserts that he is going to “drive away the Latino vote for the next two generations.”

Netflix’s very successful House of Cards probably would not work if it tried to be set in our real political universe. The premise of it involves too many high powered deals to just never show the president because of course you couldn’t cast him into a TV show. Alpha House, on the other hand, is set out on the edges of the political world instead of in the center and manages to take place around real figures.

Important political things are happening around the characters but they are the background to the re-election campaigns, ethics investigations, and presidential ambitions of the main characters. While the show is full of little moments of quick humor, it is not lacking in plot like many comedies. It is compelling not just for the laughs but also because of deeper plot lines that mean you often end the week’s episode wishing they did a big drop like netflix because you deeply want to know what is going to happen next.

The show occasionally blends in clips from C-SPAN and even goes so far as to feature numerous people appearing as themselves. As a result feels super in the moment. I really hope the next season (please let there be a next season!!) features the moment that Ted Cruz decided to read Green Eggs and Ham. The clip would be right up the show’s alley.

John Goodman’s excellent acting goes a long way to make the show outstanding but he isn’t alone in giving a great performance. The main characters are all delightfully well written and performed with outstanding conviction, but it doesn’t stop there. The more minor roles on the show – whether they are staffers (whom one of the show’s senators competes with Chuck Schumer to set up in marriages) or disgruntled showgirls- are often highly memorable themselves.

I really hope I am not the only one so engaged with show because it not getting a second season would be a tragedy. I know at least a few others are watching because one political forum Josh frequents bears the tagline “Hippo Issues” currently- a reference to Goodman’s characters confusion over the term RINO. I just hope there are enough of us to get Amazon to give it another season.