Warning: this program is rated TV-MA and may be unsuitable for children under the age of 17.
An adaptation of the original British series of the same name, “House of Cards” has won three Emmys and a Golden Globe for its first season. In the show, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright play the power couple, with a very strong emphasis on the “power” part, of Francis and Claire Underwood. Located primarily in Washington DC, the show centers around politics and journalism. To be frank-pun only intended for those who decide to watch the show-I believe you should start watching immediately. However, if you are in need of persuasion, I can help.
Between Speech and Debate, Model UN, YAG, Mock Trial, ASB, and The Cardinal, students of Seattle Academy clearly express interest in politics and journalism. Although fairly dramatized, “House of Cards” does give an insightful look into the lives of politicians and journalists in DC and how the two realms intertwine. The plot involves international politics, investigative journalism, and complex psychological power tactics all at a steady and gripping pace.
Manipulative, clever, and ruthless, the characters of the show are my favorite aspect. Protagonist Francis Underwood begins his story as a US Congressman. He, along with his equally calculating wife Claire, continuously deviate from moral boundaries in order to slake their thirst for power throughout the show.
A unique aspect of the show is that it uses a technique that is normally utilized by comedies; it breaks the fourth wall. “Breaking the fourth wall” is a term used to describe the act of a character addressing the audience or showing knowledge of an audience. The audience being the metaphorical “wall.” Francis often gives knowing looks at the camera during his performance, and occasionally gives eloquent speeches to the audience, a creative decision that adds depth to both him and the show.
Claire Underwood is strong, driven, and very well dressed. She is every bit as driven and Machiavellian as Francis and has rightfully earned the place of my favorite character on the show. I would not suggest going quite as far as either of them do to get what they want, but I do think that there is a lot to be learned from the duo that you should keep in mind the next time you run for class president.
Since the political and personal dynamics of the show change frequently, anything specific about the lives of those who cross the path of Francis and Claire would be a spoiler and is therefore up to you to watch on your own. With spring break coming up, “House of Cards” is a perfect show to watch on both airplanes and living room couches alike. Additionally, with finals just out of the way, the flexibility of having all episodes available at once also leaves you with no reason not to watch it whenever that one hour of free time strong-arms its way into your schedule. However quickly you can catch up, I do hope that you will be there with me waiting to see whether or not the delicate structure of small sheets of paper built by Francis and Claire Underwood will stay standing in the next installment of House of Cards.
Praise for House of Cards from Seattle Academy:
“I like that the show is not afraid to go where some shows would not, all while keeping the sophisticated, dark tones that make it what it is.” Grace Gannon (‘14)
“Everyone is so hard core. Frank and Claire are pretty… terrifying.. but also I want them to be my parents. They all have these complicated relationships with everyone else that are all connected. The characters are definitely the best part of the show.” Kate Swan (‘16)
"I can't watch this show without getting really angry. But that's what its creators are going for--they definitely want you to cringe." Mia Mlekrov (Faculty)
“The show is very carefully put together. The plot is clearly meticulously planned out, and the costumes/sets always look authentic. Also, it is a great binge watch because all the episodes are released at once (by season) and are available commercial free.” Julia Delany (‘15)