House of Cards

House of Cards is set in Washington, D.C. and is the story of Congressman Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th congressional district and House Majority Whip, and his equally ambitious wife Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). Frank is passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, so he initiates an elaborate plan to attain power, aided by Claire. The series deals with themes of ruthless pragmatism, manipulation, betrayal, and power. – Wikipedia Synopsis

Now I don’t usually post about things other than books, it seems that people really don’t enjoy anything else than on my blog other than that, but sometimes other things than books really captivate me. This time it happens to be the TV show House of Cards.

I started to get back into House of Cards with all of the news of the upcoming presidential election going on. I used to find myself super intrigued by politics, especially in my high school years, but that has only diminished year after year now. It seems that some of that interest is still there, because now I am starting to get back into it.

Cinematography

I find myself thinking about how certain shots just work, but on rare occasions, I really recognize it as masterful representation of the art that is trying to be conveyed. This happens with House of Cards.

What better scene than our lovable anti-hero laying back in his opulent leather chair in the twilight of the night. The shot is dark. Frank needs to come up with a new plan. He silently plots his next victory while only being lit up from time to time by the orange lit end of his cigarette.

It’s a perfect scene.

Character Development

What really gets me, is whether or not all of the major characters actually develop or not. Sure they move up, get better jobs, do more things, but at their core are they actually going through change and conflict? Maybe not. The show continues to go down darker roads as it shows people going through struggle, going through immense internal conflict, but by the end, have they made it out for the better?

The show started with a focus on Frank being the main character, his wife Claire was just that. His wife. Overtime Claire starts to come into the spotlight more and more. The hints of who she was is there, but we don’t get to see the full picture until later in the show. This turned out to be the best idea the writers could have done, because Claire commands just as much of the story as Frank. Her success becomes even more exponential than her husbands, and she is portrayed perfectly on screen by Robin Wright.

Are you still there? Whatever Francis told you over the last five years, don’t believe it. It’s going to be different for you and me. I’m going to tell you the truth.

Power Corrupts All

“Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value.”

One of the biggest themes this show presents to us, is how power corrupts. Or is it the length that people will go to for power that takes corrupt turns? Either way the show presents us with a captivating look at just how dark and gritty it can be. Which works even better in the political setting as those people must display themselves as the exact opposite of that.

Does it stop with just the power and corruption? Not at all. The story will take you down very dark turns touching upon almost everything.

Political Intrigue

“Shake with your right hand, but hold a rock in the left.”

Everyone wonders what it would look like if the curtain were draw back. What is goingFrank House Of Cards GIF by Vulture.com on at the highest levels of our government that we don’t know about? It almost has a sort of romanticism that goes with it. A lot of people get fueled by this; we are seeing more and more of vocal extremists on every side screaming about a million things. How could it not be entertaining?

We all have our opinions of what should be done, what is right, what is wrong, and have thoughts on all sorts of policies. What starts to make it interesting is the corruption and the lengths politicians will go through to make sure their opinions are the ones that are known, and the ones that are executed upon.

Frank Underwood

“What a martyr craves more than anything is a sword to fall on. So you sharpen the blade, hold it at just the right angle, and then 3,2,1…”

If you’ve been around here before, you know that a good villain fascinates me, and takes all of my attention away from the rest of the story. Frank Underwood is one of those characters for me. He is written to perfectly encapsulate all of the qualities of a sociopath. One of the best ways that this is shown is by having Frank speak to the camera directly on occasions. The breaking of the fourth wall usually rubs people the wrong way. It has to be setup very carefully or you risk throwing the entire credibility of what you trying to accomplish away. For me, House of Cards succeeds in using it as a tool to enhance the viewers understanding of Frank Underwood. When Frank makes another political play, and then looks directly into your eyes, it sends shivers down your spine. Frank will tell you his secrets in a way that shows how all of his schemes are premeditated, and shows just how dangerous he can be.

Such a waste of talent. He chose money over power. In this town, a mistake nearly everyone makes. Money is the Mc-mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who doesn’t see the difference.

Should I Watch It?

If any of this seems remotely interesting, I highly recommend giving it a chance. Now is the perfect time to get into it with all of that is going on with US Politics. It’s fun to think about the show when your phone is blowing up 24/7 with headlines like “Trump Impeached!”. What the hell is even going on anymore?


 

LIFE OF CHAZ (1)

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23 thoughts on “House of Cards

  1. I watched the first couple of seasons but kind of lost interest, then when the whole Kevin Spacey MeToo ordeal happened I didn’t really see much point in coming back to a show that fired its principal actor. What you said about whether or not the characters are developing though stuck out to me. You’re right that they don’t change much and while this may be something we expect from fiction, when you think about it how often do people in the real world REALLY change? Generally we have an arc we’re travelling on and are unable or unwilling to change it, I find. Interesting to think about, nonetheless.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I completely agree that House of Cards is a fantastic work of cinematography. The drama definitely sucked me in more than I thought it would. Usually, if the show doesn’t have aliens and spaceships, it’s not really for me. I felt like House of Cards gave me a glimpse of the type of shananigans that occur in DC. Good storytelling technique kept me wanting more at the end of each episode – not to mention those closing scenes from each season.

    I haven’t finished the last season yet, and I still might, but for now, I’ve settled into watching my nice, comfortable, sci-fi shows.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a tough question to answer! At the moment, I think I would say it’s The Expanse. I’m working my way through the books, spoiling the story by watching the show, but I’m enjoying the story either way. I feel like so far the makers of the show have done an excellent job visualizing what we read in the books.

        Aside from The Expanse, I think my favorite sci-fi TV franchise is Stargate. I love the idea of digging something up out of the ground, only to find that it is the key to the future.

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  3. I’m rewatching “House of Cards”, just starting the 3rd season. The first time (when it originally came out) I was just following the plot. This time I am paying more attention to the cinematography and character development, and the dialog. I’m impressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I watched the first few seasons of this one, but then the whole Kevin Spacey scandal happened and I stepped away from it. Perhaps enough time has passed to where I can separate the artist from the art and I can try and finish the series.

    Unfortunately, I believe the original British version of the show is no longer on Netflix, but it is still worth a watch once you get a hang of the British political system and its differences from ours. And learn how to pronounce the protagonist’s last name, Urquhart (it’s pronounced like “URK-ert”).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You definitely evoked my interest in the show with this post. I’ve seen glimpses of House of Cards ads, and heard a little about how good it is, but I was never sure about watching it. My uncertainty to do so was even more so after Kevin Spacey’s drama blew up. Your post is enough to make me at least reconsider it though. You really made the characters, character development, and overall themes sound interesting without spoiling anything, so the option to watch is still open, which I appreciate.

    Also, I love how you say you got into it because of all the real political drama going on right now. I similarly prefer to focus on imagined drama that can at least be somewhat followed and understood than the mess that is real politics.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I watched it for three seasons and also faced the moral dilemma of the #metoo movement. It’s sad looking back given that Robin Wright (Claire) is such a powerful actor and was going to be the ultimate opponent for Frank. But you’re right the character development was fantastic and I can still remember that scene where Frank pissed on his father’s grave. It’s those shows you can’t watch passively. It’s involves your entire being.

    Liked by 1 person

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