House of Cards is one of those shows that you can’t just idly watch, you can’t passively watch it. It has many moving and interacting pieces to it so to simply follow along is to miss out on much of the experience of this show. A show like “Blue Mountain State” on Spike is a show that you can just lazily sit around and follow it’s antics and still not miss anything important to the story, while House of Cards is something that in order to truly appreciate, you have to be completely involved.
It is very Macbethian in its style with Frank scheming his way to the top with his wife helping and supporting his maneuvers. It’s easy to like that when you like MacBeth and you like to see something that takes in your mental senses intellectually instead of through just simply going along with violence. The season ended with his rise to power so in MacBeth style this leaves for his fall, which may or may not be season 2. It took its time in the rise of Frank, 13 episodes. It wasn’t a rush to get him to the top and then plot his fall. It was calculated and meticulous which is everything Frank is. I was pleased with the realism of Washington DC along with some of the more unrealistic parts. What I mean is that we saw the type of wheeling and dealing that happens in our government to get things going(in order to get Obamacare passed back in 2009, there were deals made with people from several states to get their vote), the “you rub my back, I rub yours” kind of thing. We saw a realistic thing play out in an unrealistic scenario with Frank getting the VP nomination in the way he did.
My frustrations with the show were Claire(until she broke rank with Frank and acted on her own) and Russo. I got tired of seeing Claire just bow down to Frank’s ambitions over and over again when you know that she is capable of so much more, just look at CWI. At times, she bored me. It did all come back in the end to her being the loyal wife but there is that touch of rebel in her and you know it is there and you want it to come back out again sometime. She seemed more human when she was that rebel instead of figuratively being attached to Frank’s wants. With Russo, I just wanted his run to end. I like that he’s a bro and every guy does envy his ability to get multiple girls but he always had this looming feeling over him every time he was on screen for me. It may have been death, it may have been something less ominous but there was this feeling that his time was running out and I couldn’t get over that fact. I didn’t dislike his character, I just knew that at some point he would go away because you can’t have a guy have that kind of meteoric rise and thundering crash downward and expect him to bounce back because that would be unrealistic and pussy-footed(to have to have him around). Spacey was amazing as Underwood and the use of breaking the 4th wall wasn’t overly used, it was used enough to get your attention and give enough insight without making it boring. The making of Stamper’s character as Frank’s extension in “the field” as his enforcer was excellent, considering that makes Stamper an enforcer for the Democratic Party’s enforcer. I did like Zoe’s charcter even though at the beginning I felt it was somewhat forced. I gradually turned around on that one when I saw the way she was used. Overall I give the show 4 out of 5, I loved it and want to see season 2 but the frustration I had with the characters made me want to fast forward chunks of the given episode many times.
I had Option 1 of posting on a week to week basis, so I had the incentive to watch one episode per week and post about that. Just for assignment purposes, I wanted this option because doing this one at a time, once per week became a part of my routine. I knew when I had time to sit down and watch it and it just worked better for me because I knew when to sit down and watch the next episode. It a sense it became appointment Netflix with the caveat that Netflix has no set time but I do so I did not center my day around it, I just found a spot for it to go. I ended up watching the show on Friday when I had no class and a lot of free time. I would get a few ideas about which my direction my review would go and just let those ideas fester. It wouldn’t be until Sunday when I would write and post my blog because I felt that my thoughts were more worked out than if I just post right away which may have looked like at ramble instead of something coherent. I have binged other shows on Netflix, albeit none with this kind of involvement to understand the story line, and I like the option of not binging better. Binging has the advantage in a social setting of everyone being around the same point in the story which is ahead of you but with watching the show at set intervals you have more time when the episode ends to just sit on it and work everything out and see where you stand on the show. With binging, you don’t get the satisfaction of digging deeper into the story later on because it is a constant movement forward. Non-binging gives you the opportunity to take everything in and get a clearer image of the story and who the characters really are. Sure binging is much faster and more people seem to want to binge a show but it seems like they do that just to get to the end to have that “OMG!” moment faster and know what happened and it’s too fast. The explosion of what just happened comes to quickly and sure you finished but all the feels could have lasted longer. Non-binging will get you to the end as well, it takes more patience and is more satisfying because you get that connection with the characters and the show. It isn’t simply “that’s my favorite character” it’s “that’s my favorite character because…”. Bingers miss the questions raised by the story just to get to the end of the story, they miss part of the ride. Binging is best if you are trying to catch up with everyone or stay at the same pace as your social group but non-binging just has that emotional element to it that makes the whole experience complete.