Amazon.com Greenlights New Satire of Republicans by Liberal Cartoonist and Newsweek Editor

Even when TV shows are green-lighted in new and daring online forums, they still have a liberal bias! Emily Yahr of The Washington Post reports Amazon Studios has approved two new comedies, and one of them is “Alpha House,” a satire of a rental house of four oafish Republican senators "living like frat brothers" by liberal “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau. The headliner is John Goodman. The Post headline was “Fresh wit, streaming in.” 

Yahr revealed there’s another conservative-bashing journalist in the show’s credits, longtime Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter, who convinced Trudeau to take his old network TV pilot idea out of mothballs:

Last January, Alter, a close friend of Trudeau’s, brought up the idea of resurrecting the abandoned pilot. Trudeau’s response, Alter said, was something along the lines of, “Well, be my guest.” Although Trudeau was unsure about pitching the script to Amazon Studios, Alter said, Alter convinced him that an online series was the way to go.

Having Trudeau’s name attached to the project certainly helped it stand out, Alter said, especially above the thousands of scripts Amazon received when it announced an open call for ideas. But Roy Price, Amazon Studios director, insists that “once you’re on the development slate, it’s all about the material.” Even though certain projects come into the studio in different ways, he said, “I think we apply the same criteria to all the ideas that we look at.”

Either way, Price added, studio execs were thrilled when they heard Trudeau, a known political satirist, wanted to do a show about the District. “When it comes to Washington and its foibles and what makes it unique, few people have been more insightful and more knowledgeable than Garry Trudeau,” Price said.

Alter agrees that Trudeau’s voice was key to the show’s success, along with connections that helped land Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert in small roles in the pilot.

In other words, the best way for Amazon to build buzz in the liberal entertainment elites is to make a liberal-pleasing show with a famous liberal cartoonist at the helm. (Apparently, he didn't want to make an autobiographical update of "Too Close for Comfort" where the cartoonist's saner wife is an NBC anchor with bipolar disorder.)

Trudeau’s original idea was inspired by a New York Times article on four very liberal members of Congress: Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. George Miller, and then-Rep. Bill Delahunt. But he changed the political party of his “Alpha House” because, he said in a Washington Post interview:  "I never gave any thought to doing the show about Democrats for a simple reason — at the moment, they’re pretty boring. Republicans, on the other hand, are tearing themselves apart and will be for the foreseeable future. Three of my four guys were elected prior to the Tea Party, so as old-school Republicans, they’re compromised and vulnerable. Which makes them far more interesting to write about."

Democrats are boring, you know, like Bill Clinton and his interns. Yahr's story concluded with the promise that the nice-looking Republican would be having (bet on extramarital) sex during a filibuster:

In the original article that inspired “Alpha House,” housemate Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) was quoted, saying that, in theory, everyone wanted to do a TV show about the unusual living situation, but “then they realize that the story of four middle-aged men, with no sex and violence, is not going to last two weeks.”

Hearing that quote, Alter laughed. “We’ve addressed the question of sex,” he said, referring to a scene in the pilot in which the newest senator, played by Consuelos, is shown enthusiastically keeping busy during the all-night filibuster at the Capitol. [In real life, Consuelos is married to morning talk-show host Kelly Ripa.]

“And,” Alter added, in case any viewers need more enticement about another political show, “there may actually be some violence that’s coming, too.”

Here's a trailer that really gives off the Republican-are-idiots flavor, including they couldn't even shoot a pumpkin from about ten feet away:

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis