I tried watching an episode or two of Amazon’s Alpha House last night but there were the usual streaming-from-overseas problems. I started to use the Tunnel Bear solution but then I made the mistake of lying down and that was all she wrote. Has anyone given it a whirl, and are there any reactions to share? A Gary Trudeau thing “skewering conservative stereotypes.” The reviews have been good. John Goodman sleeping in the shower. A Bill Murray meltdown cameo. Right up my alley.

Some people still think that a comedy show is supposed to make you laugh. No sophisticated comedy writers or producers are trying for that these days. They’re trying to make you quietly chortle or chuckle or…what, vaguely snort some form of muted approval? That’s the idea, the intent. When are people going to realize that “no-laugh funny” isn’t a fallback rationalization but a desired aesthetic? It’s where all sophisticated humor was lived for…what, the last fifteen years? Longer? Only idiots laugh out loud.

“Stepping up into the big leagues in both the same way and same venue as Netflix, Amazon’s Alpha House is a polished comedy — not a game-changer, but the kind of show a premium service should be happy to have,” wrote Variety‘s Brian Lowry. “Loosely inspired by a real house where congressmen live together in D.C., the half-hour series will get a ‘zero’ rating from all the expected conservative mouthpieces but provides instant credibility to the service’s original-programming efforts. Whether or not viewers choose to subscribe to Amazon Prime in order to continue watching beyond the three-episode free preview, perception-wise, consider this primary battle won.”