-{This post assumes that you have not watched the Amazon series Alpha House and either have no intention to or don’t mind spoilers.}-

There will, evidently, be no Season 3 of Alpha House. This is not a huge surprise. Real life rendered the show redundant.

A brief explanation of what the show is about. It follows four Republican senators through their personal and professional lives. Keeping the character descriptions as short as I can, they go:

Senator Gil John Biggs, played by John Goodman. He’s a former UNC basketball coach who went into politics mostly on account of his wife’s (Julie White) ambitions. Over the course of the series he gradually drifts towards the center on climate change, military sexual assault issues, among others I can’t recall. He’s probably the most sympathetic of the lot. Senator Robert Bettencourt, played by Clark Johnson, an African-American from Pennsylvania and stylistically doesn’t deviate much from other characters played by Clark Johnson. Senator Louis Laffer, played by Matt Malloy, an effeminate Mormon from Nevada. Most of his story is his mentally dancing around his apparent sexual attraction to men, and some jokes about Mormonism. Senator Andy Guzman, played by Mark Consuelos. He’s intended to be a parody of Marco Rubio and is really the only character who takes the place of a real senator.

On the whole, the show was surprisingly sympathetic to its Republican characters given the givens. The only bad character was Guzman, and he was coming around. Even Laffer, the anti-gay gay guy, had endearing aspects. It even undercut one of its themes (Republicans are the party of Old White Men) by insisting on a diverse cast (giving us black Bettencourt, Hispanic Guzman, and a black and couple gay aides) It is what it is, of course, and I always have to grade such shows on a curve. But given the constraints of Hollywood, a failed Turing Test here and a lefty sermon there are somethings I can live with. I’ll take what I can get, and I lament that there won’t be more. I recommend the show to anyone who follows politics who is not either (a) a liberal who believes conservatives must be portrayed with horns on their heads, or (b) a conservative really sensitive about being made fun of.

The show ends with Laffer slowly realizing his homosexuality, Bettencourt waiting on the returns of a really close re-election race against real life Ed Rendell, Guzman gearing up for a presidential bid, and Biggs being urged by some to run. I was not surprise when the announcement of a third season was indefinitely delayed. The show weaved between reality (Obama is president, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul exist, Rendell and Schumer appear) and fiction (none of the principals are real, and Rubio doesn’t exist). And the entire point of the show is to ridicule Republicans. What could this show possibly do to the GOP that the GOP hasn’t been actively doing to itself?

The more I thought about it, though, I was thinking about it all wrong. There was actually a more fascinating story to tell that would have made Season 3 amazing. And very in keeping with the character, if not the original intent, of the show. One of the things I’ve constantly wondered was what it would be like to be a Republican congresscritter while all of this was going on.

There were a couple of ways that the show could have handled this. They could have inserted two of the characters into the race with Biggs as Kasich and Guzman as (of course) Rubio. They also could have inserted a new character in place of Ted Cruz and just kind of had at it. It would have been a great deal of fun if they could have pulled it off. I go back and forth on whether it would work better with the Kasich/Biggs thing or without it (if it would have made it too busy), but John Kasich’s campaign was so weird that there’s some comedy material in there somewhere. If they go this route, I would probably swap Trump out with a similarly atrocious reality TV candidate pattered off Duck Dynasty (Rip Torn may be available).

An alternative to that is simply to have any and all presidential runs fail and have them hanging out in DC while all of this is going on. This might be easier, and ultimately more fulfilling. Start the show right about the time Rubio (Guzman) drops out. Keep the three-person race as Trump/Cruz/Kasich or swap them out for Torn/somebody/somebody if you want them to appear on the show as characters or you want to avoid the characters endorsing real live politicians.

In any case, just as I believe House Slythrin would be the most interesting House to be a fly on the wall in Harry Potter, the Republican caucus would be a more fascinating (and more hilarious) venue than it was from 2012-14, the first two seasons. I can envision plots of people trying to get them on board the Trump Train (or Torn Train or whatever) and I’ll even take an eye-rolling scene where they refuse to endorse their party’s nominee (except I’ll be cheering instead of rolling my eyes).

Category: Theater

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