Why HBO's ''K Street'' doesn't get our vote -- The political drama unsuccessfully blurs the line between fiction and reality

By Ken Tucker
Updated September 26, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
K Street: Greg Weiner

Why HBO’s ”K Street” doesn’t get our vote

Forget ”Carnivàle” — the strangest show on HBO is ”K Street,” the George Clooney — Steven Soderbergh production about a fictional D.C. political-consultancy firm that debuted Sept. 14. Here’s our spin.

DUO LEAST LIKELY TO GIVE TRACY & HEPBURN COMPETITION James Carville and Mary Matalin, who play themselves — read: honking, married strategists for hire — spar with self-congratulatory obnoxiousness. (Carville was said to be ”addicted” to politics, like, 659 times in 30 minutes.) Their interaction with the actors playing their business partners (John Slattery and Mary McCormack) was pure cinema falsité.

POL MOST LIKELY TO BE HURT (SO FAR) What was Howard Dean thinking, letting producers co-opt his participation in the Democratic debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus? In real life, Dean got praise for handling questions about race relations. But ”K Street” underscored how Carville fed him his best line, making Dean come across as a manipulated chump.

POSSIBLE ALTERNATE TITLES ”Asexual, Lies, and Videotape” or ”A Punch in the Solaris Plexus Best Kept Out of Sight.”