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With 'Courage, New Hampshire,' tea party movement enters world of entertainment

Shot on a shoestring budget, "Courage, New Hampshire" is intended to depict traditional American values espoused by the tea party movement. But the show is yet to win a TV distribution deal, so it will premier Sunday night in a movie theater then come out on DVD.

By Staff writer / June 25, 2011

A scene from "Courage, New Hampshire," the new tea party-inspired effort of Colony Bay Productions in Hollywood. Photo is from Colony Bay's web site.

Colony Bay Productions


Los Angeles

Since the inception of the tea party movement, we’ve had tea party candidates, slogans, and rallies. Next up – tea party TV?

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“Courage, New Hampshire,” is the first effort from a new TV production firm, Colony Bay, formed by a duo of Hollywood tea partyers.

The first episode, titled “The Travail of Sarah Pine,” details the struggles of a Colonial American woman to bring to justice the British soldier who fathered her illegitimate child.

It was shot on a shoestring budget of some $120,000, and is intended to depict traditional American values espoused by the tea party movement. Their goal, the producers say, is to balance mainstream entertainment which they believe tends to treat conservatives and people of faith unfairly.

“Most TV sitcoms and dramas tend to depict conservatives and traditionalists and people of faith as halfwits,” Colony Bay cofounder James Patrick Riley told the Hollywood Reporter. “That tactic lost its edge about four decades ago and we think it’s time to turn the tables.”

But because the show does not yet have a distribution deal with any TV network, it will premier Sunday night in a movie theater house in Monrovia, Calif., and then come out on DVD.

While this grass-roots approach to storytelling fits neatly into the populist strains that infuse the tea party movement, it also raises questions on the one hand about the viability of overtly partisan programming and on the other, what its expanded presence in popular entertainment tells us about our deeper political culture.

“This is just the next frontier in the whole party polarization fight,” says Sean Theriault, associate professor of government at the University of Texas in Austin.

“It is just one more example of the increasing Balkanization of our culture,” he says, adding, we have liberals who watch “Modern Family” on ABC and conservatives who feel the traditional family values they hold dear are being undermined by depictions of alternative lifestyles.

“And so now, they can watch shows from Colony Bay instead,” says Theriault.

The electorate is growing increasingly polarized, edged onwards by the explosion of primaries and caucuses where candidates with the most extreme views often prevail, says Villanova University communications professor Len Shyles.


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