House of Cards

I watch a lot of long-format TV shows, but I generally don’t comment on them here. Nevertheless, House of Cards is apparently being discussed in interesting circles. Plus, I’ve watched the first two episodes, so I’m an expert.

I’m skeptical that the show can stay good, but it’s been good so far – even rivaling the original British version of the show.

Francis Underwood (they Americanized every other detail of the show except apparently the main character’s name) is a majority whip and has been screwed over by the new President. Francis was promised the Secretary of State, but someone else was nominated. Francis begins ruthlessly exacting his revenge.

I suppose we’re supposed to see Francis as the sort of politician that we don’t want. However, it strikes me that if you actually believe in the separation of powers, Francis is exactly the sort of politician that you need.

After screwing him over, the President attempts to placate Francis by giving him good seats at the inauguration, some extra tickets to a good inaugural ball, and seeking his input on an important legislative endeavor (the actual text of which is written entirely by some 20-somethings – if it showed them copying language from “academic” papers, it would have been perhaps too realistic). The problem with Congressmen these days is that they would accept these tokens of power and continue to happily support the President.

When this happens, separation of powers dies.

If you really think American government can work, you need guys like Francis. Ah, Democracy.

(If you’d like a recommendation for some reactionary entertainment, allow me to suggest Coppers.)


7 Responses to House of Cards

  1. peter horne says:

    I thought the main protagonist in the British series was called Francis Urquhart. But then, why change it to underwood?Seems pointless.

  2. zimriel says:

    Was watching Rome last night. The second season. There is a great scene in there where Octavian is promising Cicero that he will not do anything without Cicero’s advice and consent. Cicero agrees to let the new Caesar into Rome. Of course once Octavian enters the Senate . . .

  3. Fearless says:

    I also just watched the first two episodes. Like where it’s going so far but reminds me of a similar show Boss starring Kelsey Gramar that was just canceled after one season. Was a fan, but apparently no one watches Starz.

  4. dearieme says:

    “Episode two examines the shocking scenes … with police cars and stations under sustained attack from bricks and petrol bombs.” A reactionary would observe that the police came under attack from people, whose weapons included bricks and petrol bombs. Who, he would wonder, might these people be? Scum, obviously, but what sort of scum?

  5. It’s a great show. If you’re interested in some deep dive geeking out about House of Cards, give my blog a visit at Would love to know what you think.

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