Alpha House

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Alpha House
Alpha House title card.jpg
Genre
Created by Garry Trudeau
Written by Garry Trudeau
Directed by
Starring
Theme music composer Anton Sanko
Composer(s) Anton Sanko
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 21 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Antoine L. Douaihy
Cinematography Patrick Capone
Running time 26 minutes
Production company(s) Amazon Studios
Distributor Amazon.com
Release
Original network Amazon Video
Original release April 19, 2013 (2013-04-19) – October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)

Alpha House is an American political satire web television series produced by Amazon Studios.[1] The show stars John Goodman, Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy and Mark Consuelos as four Republican U.S. Senators who share a house in Washington, D.C. It was created by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau. The show premiered on Amazon.com on April 19, 2013.

The series is inspired by several actual Democratic legislators who share a row house in D.C.: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Representative George Miller (D-CA).[2] The series has a number of cameos from celebrities such as Bill Murray (as Senator Vernon Smits) and politicians such as Schumer as himself. Amazon Studios offered the first three episodes of Alpha House for free, with each subsequent episode released weekly thereafter for Amazon Prime members on Amazon Video.[3]

On February 11, 2014, the series was renewed for a second season.[4] Production for the second season began filming in July 2014,[5] and the entire second season became available on Amazon.com on October 24, 2014.[6] The series was not renewed for a third season.[7]

Cast[edit]

Starring[edit]

Recurring[edit]

  • Bill Murray as Senator Vernon Smits (3 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Haley Joel Osment as Shelby Mellman, a reporter from Reno, Nevada (12 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Amy Sedaris as Louise Laffer, the wife of Senator Laffer (14 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Wanda Sykes as Sen. Rosalyn DuPeche (D-IL), the senators' next-door neighbor and the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee (14 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Brooke Bloom as Julie Carrell, Senator Laffer's Chief of Staff (18 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Kobi Libii as Aaron Stimson, a legislative aide to Senator Bettencourt (7 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Ben Rameaka as James Whippy, Senator Laffer's social media aide (17 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Bjorn Dupaty as Hakeem Agabi, body man to Senator Biggs and one of his former players (5 episodes, 2013)
  • Willa Fitzgerald as Lola Laffer, Senator Laffer's daughter (12 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Lila Newman as Charlotte "Cee" Biggs, Senator Gil John Biggs' daughter (6 episodes, 2014)
  • Natalie Gold as Katherine Sims, Senator Guzman's chief of staff (15 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Sofiya Akilova as Marta Stjepanovi-Majdandzic, the Senators' Croatian housekeeper and mistress of Senator Guzman (7 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Tony Plana as Benito "Benny" López, Adriana's aide (6 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Richard Cox as Graydon Talbot, a spin doctor counseling Senator Guzman (9 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Owen Campbell as Dilly DeSantis, loosely based on the young data scientists that worked on the Barack Obama presidential campaign in 2012[8] (3 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Molly Kate Bernard as Angie Sullivan, a videographer working for the Republican Party Chair (4 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Lee Tergesen as Col. Eugene Drake, a gay army commander who intrigues Louis (3 episodes, 2014)
  • William Thomas Evans as Senator Lamar Farkus (R-DE) (9 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Cynthia Nixon as Sen. Carly Armiston (D-NY), the chair of the Senate Ethics Committee (6 episodes, 2013)
  • Kenneth Tigar as Sen. Paul Mower, (R-ID) (5 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Marylouise Burke as Sen. Betty Mower (R-ID), widow of Sen. Paul Mower (4 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Janel Moloney as Sen. Peg Stanchion (R-ND), Libertarian activist and member of the Tea Party (4 episodes, 2014)
  • Bianca Amato as Sen. Alice Graves (R-ME) (2 episodes, 2014)
  • Bob Balaban as Sen. Elliot Robeson (D-CA) (2 episodes, 2014)
  • Lucy DeVito as Charity Robeson, daughter of Senator Robeson (4 episodes, 2014)
  • Anita Petry as Camila Perez, a Spanish Professor visiting from Barcelona (3 episodes, 2013)
  • Chance Kelly as Bo Carthage, the CEO of a private military contractor (2 episodes, 2013)
  • Matty Blake as Captain Brandon Carshaw, Ret. (2 episodes, 2013)
  • Wendy Makkena as Molly P. Andresun (2 episodes, 2014)
  • Tracy Howe as Colonel Wozniak (2 episodes, 2013)
  • Ted King as Al Hickok, a Tea Party activist running for Senator Laffer's seat during the primaries (2 episodes, 2013)
  • Penn Jillette as a fictionalized version of himself, running as the Democratic candidate for Laffer's Senate seat (5 episodes, 2014)
  • Ed Rendell as a fictionalized version of himself, running as the Democratic candidate for Robert Bettencourt's Senate seat (2 episodes, 2014)
  • Matthew Humphreys as Colonel Leland Grimmel, a war hero and former basketball player running as the Democratic candidate for Senator Biggs' Seat (4 episodes, 2014)
  • Tod Susman and Lee Wilkof as the Watt Brothers, wealthy casino owners and business men from Nevada funding Louis Laffer and Gil John Biggs (4 episodes, 2013–14)
  • Tamara Tunie as Eve Bettencourt, Robert Bettencourt's divorced wife (2 episodes, 2014)

Cameos[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Season 1 (2013–14)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original release date
1 "Pilot" Adam Bernstein Garry Trudeau April 19, 2013 (2013-04-19)
Re-election battles, looming indictments, parties, their Party... these senators need a drink. And a new housemate.
2 "No Shame" Adam Bernstein Garry Trudeau November 15, 2013 (2013-11-15)
The senators adjust to their new roommate, and his girlfriend, as preparations for the Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan continue. Meanwhile, Louis' appearance on The Colbert Report takes a wrong turn, leaving him to search for an alternate way to win over voters.
3 "All Weapons Red" Adam Bernstein Garry Trudeau November 15, 2013 (2013-11-15)
As the re-election battles heat up the four senators travel to Afghanistan as part of a Congressional Delegation and encounter a surprise.
4 "Triggers" Jake Schreier Garry Trudeau November 22, 2013 (2013-11-22)
After a surprise explosion in Afghanistan leaves Louis recovering from an injury, Adriana makes controversial private arrangements for the group to return home.
5 "Hippo Issues" Michael Mayer Garry Trudeau November 29, 2013 (2013-11-29)
Tempers heat up as Gil John's wife Maddie (Julie White) arrives to help him prepare for his upcoming debate with Digger Mancusi. Meanwhile, Louis continues to recover in the hospital and Senator Armiston (Cynthia Nixon) leads an ethics committee investigation against Robert.
6 "Zingers" Bob Balaban Garry Trudeau December 6, 2013 (2013-12-06)
Louis continues to gain constituent support as Shelby (Haley Joel Osment) chronicles his recovery. Gil John faces Digger Mancusi in a town hall where he struggles to keep up with his polished and well-liked opponent, despite much help and coaching from Robert and Andy.
7 "Prayer Brunch" Bob Balaban Garry Trudeau December 13, 2013 (2013-12-13)
Rosalyn (Wanda Sykes) organizes a prayer brunch to celebrate Louis' homecoming from the hospital, but the Senators and their fellow Democrats find it difficult to set aside their differences. Aaron and Tammy's relationship continues to grow and Lola has a surprise in store for James.
8 "Ruby Shoals" Michael Mayer Peter Gwinn & Alison McDonald and Garry Trudeau December 20, 2013 (2013-12-20)
While on the campaign trail through North Carolina, Gil John blows off a meeting with the governor to visit Ruby Shoals where he becomes re-inspired about his campaign. Robert's pro-fracking visit to a constituent's home in Pennsylvania does not go as planned.
9 "The Rebuttal" Jann Turner Will Graham & Jared Gruszecki and Garry Trudeau December 27, 2013 (2013-12-27)
Robert proves to the ethics committee that he would never take a mohair suit while Andy prepares to deliver a rebuttal after the State of the Union. Louis is put in the spotlight on his first day back when James mistakenly tweets a photo intended for Lola from the wrong account.
10 "Showgirls" Andrew McCarthy Garry Trudeau January 3, 2014 (2014-01-03)
Louis decides to help showgirls organize, but the Watt brothers stand in his way. A video of Gil John hitting a soldier with a chair in Afghanistan goes viral so Maddie looks for a way to humanize him and Andy's Vanity Fair cover shoot takes an unexpected direction.
11 "In the Saddle" Clark Johnson Garry Trudeau January 10, 2014 (2014-01-10)
When another senator dies unexpectedly, Gil John is asked to organize the funeral arrangements. Louis wins the Nevada primary, but Robert has to face off in a Pennsylvania debate to cool the competition.

Season 2 (2014)[edit]

On February 11, 2014, the series was renewed for a second season.[4] Production for the second season began filming in July 2014,[5] and the entire season premiered on Amazon.com on October 24, 2014.[6]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original release date
12 "The Love Doctor" Michael Mayer Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
Gil John helps a former player become a war hero, and quickly regrets it. Robert hosts an engagement party for his latest matchmaking success, but isn't prepared for the surprise guest.
13 "Gaffergate" Andrew McCarthy Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
Gil John pays a visit to the Watt brothers, Louis worries when an old college friend threatens to share stories, and Andy tries to talk his way out of "Gaffergate," only to learn he's got bigger image problems.
14 "The Contest" Michael Mayer Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
Andy and Adriana start planning for a future worthy of a first family. Louis preps for the "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest, while his opponent, Penn Jillette, preps for their senate race. Back at the house, the Watt brothers find a new way to taunt Gil John.
15 "Shelter In Place" Andrew McCarthy Will Graham, Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
Cee Biggs brings her reality show cameras to her father's office - just in time for gunshots that trigger a lockdown on Capitol Hill. Rosalyn (Wanda Sykes) forces Robert to face the truth about his marriage, and Louis is forced to let go of a fantasy.
16 "The Apparition" Michael Mayer Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
Gil John tries to right things after the Watts brothers "Swift Boat" his former player. Julie shocks Louis and Louise (Amy Sedaris) by announcing she's pregnant from an anonymous donor, while Adriana confronts Marta the housekeeper about Andy. Louis tries to debate Penn Jillette, but he's no match for what the magician has up his sleeves.
17 "The Retreat" Andrew McCarthy Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
The senators head to a Republican retreat at a Virginia plantation, where they're haunted by the ghosts of slavery, Ronald Reagan and their exes. After a soul-cleansing bonfire with the housemates, Gil John awakes with a new fire in his belly.
18 "The Civility Zone" Jann Turner Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
Gil John finally breaks through to daughter Cee, then gets a lesson in civility from the women's caucus. Andy heads to Miami to try and win back Adriana, and gets some insights into his "condition" from a therapist. Meanwhile, Robert ignores his advisors and helps register black voters.
19 "Bugged" Bob Balaban Will Graham, Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
After a break-in at the Alpha House, the NSA does a sweep, and gets suspicious – which lands Robert a new covert mission. Meanwhile, Gil John goes to bat for the women's caucus bill, earning him a whole new following. And Louis's aides inspire him to publicly "evolve" on gay marriage, much to their chagrin.
20 "There Will Be Water" Antoine Douaihy Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
Gil John gets attacked by Sarah Palin and embraced by the media. Pressured by the party chair, Louis nudges Julie to consider a big wedding. Robert is forced to kiss up to his ex-wife's new beau, but gets some help from Rosalyn (Wanda Sykes).
21 "The Nuptials" Adam Bernstein Will Graham, Garry Trudeau October 24, 2014 (2014-10-24)
As the election returns come in, Gil John meets with a presidential campaign advisor, while Robert wonders if he still has a job. Katherine and Julie discover their wedding has been turned into a major political event – after they arrive.

Reception[edit]

Reaction to Alpha House has been generally positive.[9] Metacritic gives season 1 an average rating of 68/100 based on reviews from 18 critics.[10] Rotten Tomatoes gives the show a score of 72% based on reviews from 25 critics.[11]

Broadcast[edit]

In Australia, where Amazon Video isn't available, the series airs on SoHo, premiering July 14, 2014,[12] and returning for season two on February 26, 2015.[13]

Production[edit]

Post production including ADR recording for the series was done at recording studio Cherry Beach Sound.[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients Result
2014 Satellite Awards[15] Television Series, Comedy or Musical Amazon Studios Nominated
Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical John Goodman Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lazarus, Susanna (May 29, 2013). "John Goodman's Alpha House given full series by Amazon's new pilot scheme". Radio Times. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Bash, Dana (December 4, 2013). "The real 'Alpha House': Yes, this is where some Senators actually live". CNN Politics. CNN. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ Cavna, Michael (2014-02-11). "Trudeau puts daily 'Doonesbury' on long-term hiatus to work on renewed 'Alpha House'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  4. ^ a b Cavna, Michael (2014-02-11). "THIS JUST IN-Trudeau puts daily 'Doonesbury' on long-term hiatus to work on renewed 'Alpha House': 'I'm ready for an extended break' - Comic Riffs". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  5. ^ a b Dionne, Zach (2014-03-12). "Amazon Ordered Four of Its Pilots — Including 'Transparent' — to Series". Grantland. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  6. ^ a b "Alpha House on Amazon.com". Alpha House on Amazon.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Rothstein, Betsy (May 18, 2016). "'Alpha House' Will Not Get A Third Season". The Daily Caller. Retrieved July 28, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Cast details from imdb.com". Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Amazon says its original show "Alpha House" is a hit (critics say it's OK) — Tech News and Analysis". Gigaom.com. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  10. ^ "Alpha House - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  11. ^ "Alpha House: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  12. ^ Purcell, Charles (July 14, 2014). "New this week: The Recruit, The Bridge, OITNB, Rake (US), RHONJ, Super Rugby finals and The British Open". Foxtel. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  13. ^ Purcell, Charles (February 26, 2015). "NEW THIS WEEK: NAB Challenge, V8 Supercars, Alpha House, Project Runway All Stars and more". Foxtel. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Post production for Alpha House in the studio via ISDN". Cherry Beach Sound. October 7, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  15. ^ "2013 Nominations". International Press Academy. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 

External links[edit]