Politics

“House of Cards” is the Ace in the Deck on Netflix

Kevin-Spacey-House-of-Cards-NetflixNetflix’s hit series, “House of Cards,” is set to start shooting their second season. The first season of the show was released on February 1, 2013, with all 13 episodes put up for access at once.

Based off of the popular British series, “House of Cards,”the Ameri­can verison is directed by David Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” and stars Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara. With the amount of deception, corruption, sex, and lust for power portrayed in the show, the true questions come to be how realistic is it to the political world of DC?

“House of Cards” follows the po­litical career of Francis Underwood (Spacey), the South Carolina Major­ity Whip, who cleverly takes down the presidential administration that he helped to elect.

Underwood’s need for revenge is a result of the newly elected President Garrett Walker (Michael Gill) break­ing his promise of moving Under­wood up to Secretary of State if he helped him win the election.

Power is a big theme of the show, something that is stated to be the most desired thing in DC over and over again.

The character, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) has no desire for fame or money; the only thing he cares about is the amount of power he can obtain. The despicable actions that he takes in order to climb the ranks, and the reactions portrayed by the media and public give an inside look into what the political scandal­ous world is like.

As Underwood states in the show “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.”

The first episode opens up with Spacey tending to a dog that was just recently hit by a car. In this scene, the character of Frank Underwood (Spacey) looks directly into the cam­era giving a speech in which he states, “There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain; the sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.”

Shortly after stating this, Under­wood puts the dog out of its misery. The scene is an important set up for the type of ruthless character that Un­derwood is shown to be.

Upon finding out that he was not the pick for Secretary of State, Un­derwood and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) devise a plan that will slowly take down the administration and allow Underwood to move up in the ranks.

For this, Underwood manipulates a struggling political writer, Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), whom he begins to leak important information to in order to begin exploiting the people he hopes to take out of their position and place the new people he wants in them. The two soon become romanti­cally entangled, to which Underwood explains sex in politics to be nothing more than a game of power, “A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.”

Deception in order to obtain power is a constant theme throughout the show, which is further seen through Underwood’s use of the character Pe­ter Russo (Corey Stroll), a struggling drug addict who has a weakness for women. When Underwood uses him to run for the Governor of Pennsylva­nia, the current Vice President’s old seat, he forces Russo to clean up his act in order to campaign, something that Underwood counted on him not being able to do. Which, inevitably happens when Russo makes the mis­take of giving an interview drunk.

After the interview, Underwood kills Russo, making it look like a be­lievable suicide of a drug addict Con­gressman, and convinces the Vice President to take his old seat back. This leaves Underwood in the nomi­nation for Vice President, which is a position he is shortly offered.

Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson, as­sistant professor of communication, said, “I think that rather than view­ing the show as a realistic portrayal of how politics works in Washington DC, it’s better to think of it as a hy­perreal portrayal. Hyperreality is a term coined by Jean Baudrillard to describe the blending of fact and fic­tion to the point where they are indis­tinguishable.”

Phillips-Anderson said that the public looks for reasons to distrust politicans.

“It really represents our strange feelings about politics in this country, where we say we would like things to work better in government with more cooperation, but we watch programs which depict things as being much worse than they are, which fuels our belief that the process is hopelessly broken, which fuels partisanship, which makes it harder for real poli­ticians to compromise, because we expect them to act like the politicians on television shows,” said Phillips- Anderson.

Liz Anderson, a junior political science major, believes the portrayal of deceit is something to be believ­able about the DC scene.

Anderson states, “Spacey’s Shake­spearean asides and plotting with his wife, Robin Wright’s regally cold ‘Claire,’ are gloriously theatrical and display the immorality that per­meates throughout the DC political scene. However there’s nothing new or revolutionary about the content of the show itself. Shows centered on the follies of political ambition have been somewhat overdone.”

Jen Sime, a senior political science major, who is currently studying in DC also believes the corruption portrayed is a realistic look into the workings of DC officials.

Sime says, “As an MU student currently living in DC and seeing a bit of how politics works, it’s pretty darn spot-on. Spacey’s character is deliciously manipulative, and Co­rey Stoll (Peter Russo) is beautifully tragic. The scenery is extremely ac­curate, too.”

For anyone who is interested in catching up on the chilling insides of DC portrayed in the show, the current first season is still up on Netflix, and the second season is to begin shoot­ing this year.

IMAGE TAKEN from cinekatz.com