Sure, it's well known, that the inspiration behind Amazon's new show "Alpha House," was the row home of Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and former Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass. But those aren't necessarily the lawmakers that show creator Garry Trudeau used for inspiration, he revealed at the program's Washington premiere.
First, Trudeau's characters are all Republicans. "Our hope is that they'll be the four most likeable Republicans in the country," Trudeau said, talking to the crowd gathered at the Newseum. The party affiliation, Trudeau promised, wasn't politically motivated. "It's not just because I want to bring to bear my progressive point of view in telling stories about Republicans, it's just, right now, the best story in town."
For example, two of Trudeau's four main characters are feeling the effects of tea party primarying, including Sen. Gil John Biggs, played by John Goodman. "Law & Order" actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson served as inspiration for Goodman's character, Trudeau said. "Somebody who really didn't feel like politics should involve the effort that everybody else did and came to Washington with that sense of entitlement," Trudeau explained, linking his statement to Thompson's "misbegotten" presidential campaign. "Obviously Gil John likes his life here, he just wishes it didn't involve so much work," Trudeau continued. In the first episodes, Biggs isn't even campaigning for re-election, until Duke's basketball coach threatens to challenge him.
Actor Mark Consuelos' character, Sen. Andy Guzman, a Cuban-American Floridian with presidential ambitions, is roughly modeled after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., both Trudeau and Consuelos said. "By all accounts, Rubio has a different home life," Trudeau said, noting Guzman's womanizing ways.
As for the depiction, Consuelos joked that Rubio's office was very upset. "I called them and said, 'you're welcome,'" Consuelos continued. "No, none of that happened. I hope to meet him at some point."
Meanwhile Durbin, a real life resident of the "Alpha House" inspired home, said he hoped that Consuelos was playing him. "The best looking one," Durbin nodded and pointed, as he stood warily to the side of the premiere's red carpet. (He'd rather it be blue, the Democrat was overheard joking.)
Durbin also said his living situation was far more boring than the fictionalized one. "It's maybe a little different than the real life version, which involves three middle-aged-plus white men, no sex, no drugs, no violence," Durbin said, before slightly revising his stance. "Violence would involve rats, drugs would involve Metamucil and the closest thing to sex is pictures of our grandkids – that's not even close," he said of his digs.
Actor Matt Malloy, who plays Nevada Sen. Louis Laffer, a possibly-in-the-closet Mormon conservative, said he didn't base his character on anyone. But one scene that Malloy's character took part in, wrestling with comedian Stephen Colbert, hit a little close to home to someone else. "I actually did leg wrestle Stephen Colbert," Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Whispers. "I consider this more of a documentary than a comedy," he laughed. Chaffetz said the show in many ways, got Washington right. "Look, Republicans are a target rich environment, so there's plenty of material there," Chaffetz said.
And the fodder from the GOP Tuesday night, was the breaking news that Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., had been busted for buying cocaine. A pack of current and former Democratic members of Congress gabbed about Radel's fate as they were being edged off the red carpet, while Chaffetz just shrugged. "I have no idea what happened," he said. "I wish him nothing but the best."