Political TV & Me

house-of-cards

As some who have read my past blogs know, I’m not big on politics, Canadian or otherwise. Sure, it’s fun at times to take an outsider’s look at US politics, but that’s solely because of how circus-like the whole thing is. So much emphasis goes in to each election, whether it be the candidates running for it, the attack ads flying around against both major parties, or the debates. Dear LORD, the debates. But as easy as it would be for me to launch into a tirade about the current state of things in the US, I’d rather talk about politics in the world of fiction.

Now, given that I’ve never liked politics, I grew up ignoring many shows to do with them. This includes shows like “The West Wing,” “The Newsroom,” and “Veep” to name a few. I only ever watched anything political via satire shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” But last year, my fiance’s mom encouraged us to give the Netflix original, “House of Cards,” a try. And let me tell you, it was worth jumping into. For all the dumb, exaggerated decisions/moments that take place within it, at its heart the show is full of intrigue and backstabbing that I can’t help but get caught up in.

Ironically, much like political shows, I also don’t usually like shows where the main character is an amoral douchebag. There HAS been the occasional all-around “good” person in the four seasons of the show, but most of its cast consists of people who have a LOT of dirty laundry. You don’t even have to look further than the main characters, Frank and Claire Underwood (especially so with Frank early on). Both of them are ruthless, scheming, terrible people who will do anything and screw over pretty much anyone to get what they want. And yet…it’s the journey they take to accomplish their goals that continues to keep me coming back. For obvious reasons, I won’t jump into spoiler territory, but the show makes it a dilemma to decide whether to root for them or see them fail at times. Of course, some people might be against them from the beginning, and that’s fine. They (again, especially Frank) make it clear from the very first episode that they’re not “good guys.” Honestly, I enjoy the fact that they work well as a team more than the fact that they’re evil people.

Even with four seasons under its belt, the show still manages to surprise me with its twists and turns, and it still makes me chuckle whenever Frank delivers a sarcastic aside to the camera. Many of the supporting characters are also fun to watch, no matter whether they’re supporting the Underwoods or trying to undermine them. The plots of the show have varied in hitting or missing (Season 3 is still the weakest to me overall), but I feel the show has gotten back on its feet recently. I even feel that, in a weird way, I’ve gotten more insight into how US politics work. Not everything is factual, mind you, but I feel I understand how their government is at least structured. It’s great that they can use the show to reflect some real life topics, but I really enjoy the little touches they bring to each character. I should utterly hate Frank for his ideals and immoral attitude, yet he has a Southern charm to him and also loves hobbies like playing video games and making battle dioramas.

The newest season ended on a very intense note, and I can’t wait until Season 5. Frank and Claire are more deplorable than ever, and it’ll be interesting to see if the next season will be the one to see them finally fall. Yes, no matter how much I like their partnership, I know their status won’t last and I want them to go down fighting. Until then, I’ll be eagerly awaiting to see how they continue to stay afloat in the White House.

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