I approach House of Cards with an armistice of understanding. I recognize its stench of being too pleased with itself, its tired tropes, its pomp, its empty cynicism are the end result of viewing governing through the prism of the building power for its own sake, rather than contributing to the unfinished pyramid which is our republic.
And it’s no surprise that the real Washington D.C loves the show.
So, I wasn’t really surprised to learn about this season that President Underwood invents a fake terrorist threat to win a presidential election.
What else should you expect from a person who strong-arms a union leader, pushes a reporter in front of a train, or, in the case of the current season, murder a sitting Secretary of State with a flight of stairs?
After all, a series with no nuance should not expect to develop any at this late juncture but House of Cards has crossed the line from being unoffensive, trite trash to being reprehensible trash.
The funny thing about this show is I’ve never stopped watching in a sense. As a very casual viewer, I checked out about halfway through season two and then subsequently caught up through Wikipedia summaries and recaps on social media, always morbidly curious how far the show would go.
And now I know. And somehow this last development struck a nerve.
When I read recently that Russia tried to hack voting places in 39 states last November, in addition to creating fake news and disinformation to undermine our Democratic system, it made me all the more disgusted with a country with its own state-run news agencies and fine with jailing and intimidating political dissonants.
The characters on House of Cards “ratfuck” people all the time but it now serves as a unwilling bedfellow to all the chicanery when our institutions are under attack by unscrupulous authoritarians.
I don’t like thugs and despots on principle and this is what thugs and despots in power do when they do not wish to curry honest political debate which might otherwise kick their ass off the throne.
With all this in mind, it confirms Frank Underwood as the thug he always was. Resourceful and highly-motivated, but a thug all the same.
Screw ’em and his milquetoast show.
House of Cards rode on the coattails of being Netflix’s first original series and innovating a phenomenon of debuting a whole season of television for streaming then consumption. Besides that it carries no pedigree other than looking incredibly expensive to produce.
We all know the show is retelling a very stupid version of Macbeth, so could we fast-forward to the end in the show’s run where its Macduff stand-in takes dear Frank down a peg or two…