Amazon To Produce Garry Trudeau’s Alpha House

Alpha House

Cable television has been increasingly producing their own dramas and situation comedies, competing successfully with the networks in terms of quality if not ratings. Additional sources of original programming have been popping up. DirectTV kept Friday Night Lights alive, showing the show before NBC in its last few seasons. Netflix realized that there are many sources for old movies and television shows and that they had to produce their own shows to attract new subscribers. This year they put out shows including House of Cards and a revival of Arrested Development. This was done in a unique manner of releasing the entire season at a time so subscribes could view them at their own pace, similar to watching old shows on Netflix. Amazon Prime is trying to compete with Netflix, providing a combination of pay-for-view shows and shows available without additional charge to subscribers to the service which began as a way to get free or reduced shipping with an annual fee.

Amazon let subscribers chose among over a dozen pilots, airing those which attracted the most support. Yesterday Amazon announced that they will produce Alpha House, which received the most attention due to being created and written by Garry Trudeau, best known for “Doonesbury” and staring John Goodman. There are also cameo roles by Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert in the pilot.

The show, based on a real property in the District that has housed a rotation of various Democratic senators for years, has been the brainchild of Trudeau since about 2008. Inspired by a New York Times story about the house, Trudeau originally wrote the pilot for network television, but things didn’t pan out.

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…

Goodman plays Gil John Biggs, a brash, unfiltered senator from North Carolina who seems to be the leader of the alpha house. When he’s not making fun of his roommate-colleagues, he’s on the phone with his wife, back in his home district, who’s telling him to step up his game, because the beloved Duke basketball coach is planning to run against him in the next election. Goodman is joined by Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy and Mark Consuelos, who also play Republican senators.

(Trudeau went against the political affiliations of the actual house because, he said in a Washington Post interview, Democrats are currently pretty boring, while Republicans “are tearing themselves apart and will be for the foreseeable future.”)

The pilot skewers various aspects of Washington, cracking jokes at the expense of both conservatives and liberals. In one exciting coincidence, Trudeau penned a scene about an epic filibuster years before the 13-hour speech in March by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). At first, the writers of the show were worried that an all-night filibuster might seem unrealistic; after Paul’s performance, truth proved stranger than fiction, and the scene stayed.

Please Share

War on Christmas Wrap Up

The war on Christmas is over this season, with Christmas once again coming despite the paranoia of the right. In the video above, Sam Seder mocked the war on Christmas in 2005:

SEDER: Listen, as far as the war on Christmas goes, I feel like we should be waging a war on Christmas. I mean, I believe that Christmas, it’s almost proven that Christmas has nuclear weapons, can be an imminent threat to this country, that they have operative ties with terrorists and I believe that we should sacrifice thousands of American lives in pursuit of this war on Christmas. And hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

Seder also spoke of operational ties between between Santa and Al Qaeda.

Thomas J. Brown wrote this parody of The Night Before Christmas:

‘Twas the war on Christmas

‘Twas the month of December and all through the land,
Decorations went up, stores were looking quite grand.
With strings of lights in my eye, silver bells in my ear,
I could tell without doubt that Christmas was here.

The children were eager from the usual cause
Of waiting for presents from old Santa Claus.
And I too will admit to being agog,
To finally drink my annual egg nog.

But while shopping for presents, there arose such a clatter,
The shoppers all stopped to look what was the matter.
A grinch of a customer was causing a scene,
Spoiling a moment that should be serene.

Her voice loud and high-pitched, as shrill as a fox,
She was waving her arms, as if ready to box.
What cause of her anger? ‘Twas an innocent phrase;
The clerk had but wished her, “happy holidays.”

The poor pimpled lad in the ugly red sweater,
He made no defense, he spoke not a letter.
With a tug on my arm, my wife said, “let’s go,”
But something inside caused me to say, “no.”

The full poem can be read here.

Doonesbury showed how the War on Christmas was handled at Fox:

db121224

Please Share

Banned Doonesbury Part 6

Please Share

Banned Doonesbury Part 5

Please Share

Banned Doonesbury Part 4

Please Share

Banned Doonesbury Part 3

Please Share

Banned Doonesbury Part 2

Please Share

Banned Doonesbury Part 1

Please Share

Doonesbury Calls It For Obama

Garry Trudeau has already submitted the Doonesbury comics for next week and has reported a victory for Barack Obama. The news comes in Wednesdays strip which shows soldiers in Iraq sitting around a television set when Obama is announced as the winner. He explained to The Washington Post:

“Nate Silver at Fivethirtyeight.com is now giving McCain a 3.7% chance of winning — pretty comfortable odds. … Here’s the way I look at it: If Obama wins, I’m in the flow and commenting on a phenomenon. If he loses, it’ll be a massive upset, and the goofy misprediction of a comic strip will be pretty much lost in the uproar.  I figure I can survive a little egg on my face.”

Just in case, newspapers which do not want to run the strip should McCain win have also been supplied with old strips to rerun.

Please Share

Doonesbury on Republican Science

sit_science.jpg

Please Share