House Of Cards

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We’ve been watching the new House of Cards (produced by Netflix). Here’s how I can tell it is good. Amanda actually started to watch it, which is unusual because she rarely watches anything. But she watched the first one, liked it, then tuned in to the second one a few days later and I had the opportunity to watch it with her. But I decided not to for reasons I won’t bore you with. However, I did catch the first two or three minutes. Which caught my attention so I caught the next five or six minutes. And so on. I ended up watching the entire episode. Then a couple of days later we watched the next episode. And so on. Now I’m watching it. It’s actually been a while since Amanda and I watched the same series (we hardly ever do that) so this is good.

There is something about House of Cards that I think is worth noting. I’ve only see a couple of episodes so this is subject to revision. Hopefully you’ve never seen it, so I can play this out with you and you’ll appreciate it more when you do watch it later. But if you’ve already seen the first several episodes or more, just go with me on this for a moment while I describe a couple of the sequences.

OK, so there is the Democratic Congressperson, Francis Underwood, who is Majority Whip (he’s in charge of rounding up votes for the party). There is a Democratic president in the White House, and the Democrats seem to be in charge but that does not mean that everybody has the same goals.

So, in one episode the following things happen. First, they are trying to get a major super duper educational reform bill passed, but all the different people at the table have different objectives so it looks like it will never pass, what with the unions and the educational reform people and whoever whoever fighting over it. Meanwhile, in Underwood’s home district in the south, a young girl is killed when she runs off the road texting something about a large well lit (at night) water tower that is designed to look like a giant peach (the local peach industry likes that) but really looks like a sex organ of some kind. She was texting about that when she ran off the road.

So, all the selfish lobbyists and others are fighting over details of the education bill and can’t get their acts together, and all the people at Underwood’s home town, including the bereft parents of the deceased girl, a local political opponent of Underwood’s, etc. are doing crazy things because they are either crazed with grief or crazed with power tripping over exploiting someone else’s grief.

So, Representative Underwood goes down to his home district but stays on the phone with his office in Washington, DC.

The outcome: Everybody in his home district calms down, he gets the Peach Grower’s association to agree to turning the lights on the sex organ/peach thing off at night, gets pro-safety billboards put up about texting, and established a college fund in the name of the dead child. He also delivers a moving impromptu sermon at the local church and makes everybody feel better about everything. Meanwhile, he smooths over all the problems with the education bill and gets it out of committee.

Knowing all that, the only thing you can conclude is that this guy, Underwood, is great! A progressive southern Democrat who knows how to get things done. Oh, and by the way, his wife runs a pro-environment non-profit! Wow!

OK, now it’s your turn. Have you seen House of Cards? Did I characterize it well? If you’ve not seen it, go watch the first few episodes and report back.

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

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7 thoughts on “House Of Cards

  1. It’s an interesting series. More anti-hero stories. Underwood’s comments to the audience are not to be commended.

  2. My loss no doubt, but I’m such a fan of the brilliant BBC version from the ’90s with Ian Richardson (as Francis Urquhart) that I can’t bear to watch a remake. Yet.
    But I’ll agree to watch the Neflix version someday if all of you will watch the original. Deal?

  3. sok: I plan to, and thus don’t mind at all promising to, watch the original which is also on Netflix, I believe.

    I suppose technically this is a remake, but it also isn’t. Different country, different political system, different overall plot, even different politics of the main characters.

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