House of Cards Season Review and To Binge or Not to Binge

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.


Keller v. Greenwald

In a civilized debate about the future of journalism we have Bill Keller championing the tradition approach that journalism must be impartial and not have any leanings while in the other corner we have Glenn Greenwald taking the mantle of journalism must bring the facts to the table and that hiding one’s leanings is misleading.

I have to side with Greenwald in this debate. There are already news agencies taking sides, but they all hide it which is a problem Greenwald talks about. We all know Fox News is the go-to media outlet for conservatives, MSNBC is the the liberals, the NY Post has right leanings, and the Daily News is liberal. America’s new most trusted newsman is Jon Stewart and we all know he is liberal while also calling out everyone for their stupidity. Colbert is a sarcastic liberal if you can figure that out. The point of this paragraph is that people have their views and that is okay, but don’t hide them under the thin veil of “objective reporting”. Stop it. We all see through it and know which way you lean so embrace it and be honest. This DOES NOT excuse reporters creating and/or spreading lies to support their view. Journalism needs facts and truth regardless.

Being impartial isn’t in our nature and to pretend that you cannot have an opinion is ludicrous and self-neutering. As Greenwald says, “journalism is a kind of activism” and to do that without sharing your viewpoints on anything isn’t effective. Knowing exactly what a reporter’s views are allows the reader to understand why they write a certain way and why they want to tell you this side of the story or that side of the story. It allows the reader to know exactly what they are getting. It allows a journalist to call out what is wrong when it has to be instead of just limiting themselves. It creates watchdogs and there can never be enough of them. Instead of trying to constantly trying to straddle the fence, journalists can now give the facts and what they mean for us; instead of A and B it becomes A and B and here’ why they are good or bad for C.

The biggest problem that Keller believes will happen is that people will put themselves more into a chamber of listening to who shares their views. The problem is this, we already do that. We are already at that point so why do we still have groups so petrified to look anything else but fair and balanced. Everyone supports or disapproves of something so no can truly be balanced, but we still hold that unfair standard to repress something that is simply human; having views, biases, and agendas. We still have this idea that we have to be presented every side of something, its why creationism is still taught in schools in certain states even though it has no shred of evidence and every respectable scientist is an evolutionist.

Let’s dump this standard because it wants us to repress something that is simply human and it is now just a thin veil to keep a public image.

Extra Credit: Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito, The Miami Dolphins, and NFL Culture: Where it went wrong

It the last few weeks the Miami Dolphins have been under the spotlight concerning Richie Incognito’s behavior towards Jonathan Martin. Martin left the team after an alleged incident in the cafeteria of the Dolphin’s practice facilities where Martin was left by himself after he sat down to eat by his teammates. We have heard that coaches ASKED Incognito(who has never had a good reputation, even having an incident at Nebraska in 2002 of attacking a walk-on player

A quick look at both players:Jonathan Martin was a 2nd round pick out of Stanford, picked in 2012. At Stanford, he was a 2 time All-American and during his redshirt-freshmen(meaning he was academically a sophomore, but eligibility wise for playing football a freshmen) year he was the starting left tackle for the Stanford Cardinal, the offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks in the Pac-12. He blocked for Toby Gerhart(now on the Vikings) the year he set school records in rushing(1871 yards) and touchdowns(28).

Richie Incognito was drafted in the 3rd round in 2005 by the St. Louis Rams out of Nebraska. In 2003, he was an All-Big 12 player. In 2004, he was dismissed from the team for fighting with a teammate. In 2009, he was named the NFL’s dirtiest player in a poll by his peers. He has played for the Rams, Bills, and Dolphins.

With the bullying epidemic in America, this gained more notoriety because this happened at a professional and public level whereas most of the anti-bully movement is mainly focused on schools. This was not an isolated incident, Incognito has a history of doing these things to other people. From the beginning I supported Martin; he did not get violent and he acted professionally in this. Going to the coach would do nothing and asking him to stop would add to the image of Martin being “soft”. Football is a tough game and has a macho-man image and has a culture of toughness being a priority(i refrain from calling it a warrior culture image because playing a game is well short of being a warrior). Other NFL players have stood up for Incognito, the bully, by saying the victim, Martin, should have stood up for himself, including Antrell Rolle.

I played football is high school, I missed my senior season but helped the team in any way I could and was on the official roster. From my experience, here is where the Dolphins and players went wrong; they forgot about brotherhood. Brothers mess around and joke with each other, I did it with my teammates and they did it with me. We understood that we were a team and that we were in it together. No one ever crossed a line in terms of insults and  to the point where it could be considered bullying. No one was ever pushed to the mental brink that they had to leave the team. There are many subgroups to a football team, and speaking as one, the offensive line is the closest…or should be. The 5 of us starting my JV year were lovingly known to coach as “The Fat Fucks”, and I was the right tackle. We became “The Fat Fucks”, we played intense and became our own little team, a clique if you will. When I was having a bad game or getting chewed out by coach, one of my 4 brothers was the next one there to say, “C’mon Mumford, you’re better than this. We need you.” After I had a bad game against Kellenberg, in which I had made several mental mistakes in plays and had several holding calls(most of the penalties called against me that season were in that one game), coach threatened to take my starting job from me. This was a shot at my pride and my ego and the first person to come up to me as we went to scrimmage was out left tackle, Anthony Spadaro, who looked me in the eyes and said, “You’re keeping that fucking job.” It was tough love, it was brotherly love, it was what I needed. I kept my job as the starter. Being an offensive linemen is the most thankless and selfless job in sports; no one knows who you are unless you screw up, you don’t have many stats except how many sacks you gave up(4 JV year, each is a blow to your pride), the success of the quarterback and running back are correlated to you and what you do. The 5 guys in front of the QB need to be a unit, the most cohesive one the team. Those are the first guys that had my back. When a wide receiver on our team made a crack about my mom, while we were on the bench, I tackled him and attempted to take his helmet off  and hurt him. Those were the guys that got me off while simultaneously telling our receiver not to say anything about my mom.

This team had to know about it and no one stood up for Martin, that is what upsets me the most about this. The offensive line was the one that should have known the most about it because they are together the most often. Instead of the warrior culture of “manning up and playing through it” that has damaged the brains of several players and caused them to kill themselves, they should have stopped what was insults clearly going over the line. Their is no way they did not know something was going on. The sense that Martin should only have the emotions of rage and anger and take those out on either Incognito or someone on the other team(the point of “toughen up” is to instill an inherent anger within the person so that they harbor it an take it out on the opponent) and not allowed to feel anything else regarding these insults pervades the league. To not allow someone to feel hurt and shunned by his teammates isn’t brotherhood, its a psuedo-totalitarian regime.

You are suppose to feel part as though you are part of something when you are part of a team and Martin was not made to feel part of anything. He was driven to a point of emotional duress and strain. He was made an outcast of rookie(which is weird because this is his second season) hazing that went way over the line into threats and racial slurs by a group of guys that are suppose to be more than teammates. He had no way of relieving his stress than to leave that environment.

The bullying and systematic tearing up of a person is bad enough but to have it done by a group of guys that you are suppose to look at as more than teammates is what upsets me the most. Football is a tough sport and a physical sport, but the men that play it are not the mindless cogs in the machine we think they are. They feel and they hurt and to see that pain be inflicted on someone by the guys that are suppose to have his back is the worst part about this.

As of now, Incognito is suspended by the Dolphins and the NFL is investigating the issue. I do not know what the punishment will be, but there will probably be a financial reprimand. The bigger issue is the future of their careers. The Dolphins won’t have both players back in the future, it will be awkward to say the least. This will affect both of their careers at different levels. When other teams look at Martin, the players may not be as trusting with him because of a possible snitch label and soft label taped to him. Incognito will be looked at at a business and PR level. How will it look if the team signs the new face of bullying? Not good.

The only thing to do now is let everything else come out and see what happens.

House of Cards Season Finale

The season finale had interesting moments, but overall was flat. There was nothing new to it. We were well aware that Frank was eyeing the Vice Presidency that was left vacant by Matthews and while he was in St. Louis, when we learned that Tusk was vetting Frank for the position and would give the green light for his nomination if Frank would do something for him. Frank did not want to get himself stuck with someone he did not trust because he wants to get ahead without having to be loyal to someone like Tusk. This episode became, more or less, a waiting game on when exactly Frank would get the nomination. There was nothing much with Frank’s storyline this episode, because we knew he would find a way to get force Tusk to give him the nomination without having to sell himself off to Tusk.

Zoe has switched who she sleeps with for sources, but that’s how you get ahead in Washington. She is with Lucas in order to get him to use his police sources to find arrest records. They want Russo’s arrest record so they can get a clearer picture on what actually happened to him. They get in contact with Rachel but she is scared into saying nothing by Stamper.  Zoe and Janine, with Lucas being a sidekick, have set a net around Frank that we will have to see if it closes next season, but so far, they are at the beginning. We will have to see how exactly they go about everything later on but Zoe is now becoming a liability to Frank and has betrayed him. That will also be something to look out for in season 2.

Claire’s story was probably the most interesting. With Gillian threatening the lawsuit against CWI, Claire goes to Gillian’s apartment in order to work things out. Claire does not want this going to court and Gillian’s lawyers don’t know why she won’t settle either but we got a little bit of an insight.  She wants this to get national attention and because Claire is the wife of the Majority Whip(now Vice President) it will. She sees Claire, rightly so, as manipulative and domineering and wants to knock her down a peg by going after Claire’s baby, CWI. Now Claire wants an actual baby. That was the most unexpected part of the episode because she alludes to not wanting children earlier in the series.  As to why, it was tough to discern, but it seemed like because she was feeling empty.

The best scene was Frank in the church. He isn’t an atheist, he believes that God exists but he hates Him and God hates him. He is a Christian in the loosest possible sense that he just believes God to exist. God will never help him, so he rationalizes that maybe the Devil will help him out, “Maybe I’m talking to the wrong audience.”  The Devil only speaks the language of depravity, which Frank is fluent in but not a native of.  He calls out Peter to say what he couldn’t say in life. “There is no solace above or below, only us. Small, solitary, striving, battling one another. I pray to myself, for myself,” is the quote of the entire season  because it encapsulates Frank. He will not ally himself where he doesn’t have to, he understands that people are small in the big picture(his big picture), and he will destroy another to move only a few moves ahead if he has to. His faith is only to himself, because in the end, he can only trust himself.


There is no way you can watch “Blackfish” and still want it to remain open; from keeping information about whale attacks,  to putting these whales into psychotic states, to having little care about the emotional being about these animals. Orca whales have been seen to have an emotional set that humans do not have and that is seen through MRI scans. The “Killer Whale moniker is completely false and gives these animals the sense of a cold-hearted monster, but these whales are like the dogs of the sea; they want to be your friend. Whales have their families, languages, and cultures based on their pods, but those in captivity are just thrown in together(which would be like throwing an American, a Greek,  and someone from Finland in the middle of Colombia; we have different cultures and languages and now we’re somewhere completely unfamiliar). The scenes about Katsaka’s baby, Katina, being taken away from her and her subsequent, unheard calls before were heartbreaking. There are no recorded whale-on- human attacks in the wild by Orcas but there are about 77 in captivity. So there is clearly it is something we do to them to make these whales a threat to people.  We have seen whales also attack and murder each other in captivity.

After  Brancheau’s death, OSHA took Seaworld to court hoping to change work conditions that would end the whale attacks at the expense of the show’s entertainment value. When asked if all the whales have the potential to attack trainers the way Tilikum(who has been involved in two previous human deaths) did, Ms. Clark responded “All men have the potential to be rapists.” That was the point where I realized, they just do not care. They aren’t talking about rape(which is obviously awful) so stop with the blatantly obvious deflection attempt. These animals are several tons and are completely capable of killing, and killing a human with extreme ease. They don’t care about the trainers involved in working with these animals and they don’t care about the animals.

By the end of the film, I wanted SeaWorld to just stop existing. The film does a great of job, of not slandering SeaWorld, but just simply saying, “here are the facts, this is what happened, it can happen again.” The facts are objective, the videos are objective, the using of Tilikum as a sperm bank is objective, pointing out the lies of SeaWorld is objective , and the way the whales are treated is objective. The film doesn’t exaggerate anything, SeaWorld did it. This isn’t sensationalism, its actual telling the facts and just being awe-struck at the amount of abuse the whales take and the trainers being in serious danger. This is was an emotional movie for me to watch because I grew up loving animals, Jeff Corwin and Steve Irwin were my childhood heroes and I watched every show they had on. This movie got to my inner kid that loved animals and hated to see them suffer.

House of Cards Chapter 12

Claire has just gone Queen Bitch, and I love it. She isn’t just attached to Frank anymore, just going along with what he wants, but now looking out for her own interests.  Claire have Gillian autonomy over the Botswana project but also has to let SanCorp pull a PR stunt and let them film the project. This is an “I owe you one” to Remy for getting the water filters out of Sudan. I understand Gillian not wanting to allow that action because SanCorp is against everything that CWI stands for and wants to accomplish and I sympathize with her on that. Claire on the other hand isn’t letting Gillian ruin her relationship with Remy and SanCorp. Claire sends a pregnant Gillian on a “leave of absence”(fired) in response to this. It’s a harsh move but I love it because that one move symbolizes everything Claire is becoming; a no-nonsense, “I do what I want” woman.

Janine is looking into the shipyard in Russo’s district and sees a connection that after he refuses  to testify for his shipyard not closing(which is what he ran on) that Underwood is now backing him for the Pennsylvania governorship. This is strange because Frank is an accomplished representative while Russo is just a junior representative, why would a Duke(he isn’t a king, just the duke seeking a coup) want to associate himself with the newly minted noble? She’s putting pieces together about Underwood that Zoe is too blind, or refuses, to see. Her new boyfriend(seemingly), Lucas, is the one that finally gets to her. Zoe visits Echo(she was with Roy in one of the first episodes when Russp visited them). Echo, under the condition of staying anonymous, tells all. The blinds are off and Zoe is now seeing how malicious Frank really is. Before now, she hasn’t seen this because Frank had given her the fast track for her career and Zoe is now on top of the heap in Washington. She wouldn’t cut off the hand that fed her, but with everything that has happened and Janine’s work she has to see it now.

With Matthews throwing himself into the governor race in Pennsylvania, the space is open and President Walker needs to fill it in. Walker wants St. Louis billionaire Raymond Tusk(much to Frank’s chagrin) to fill the void.  Tusk is not the average-American which is a criticism about his candidacy; to put a billionaire in power would just be seen as a detachment from the average-joe. People want a politician they can connect with in power(which I think a smaller reason to why Obama beat Romney, other than the Republicans complete alienation of everyone outside of white men). Frank is now in Missouri trying to convince Tusk to take the position, something contradictory to what he wants; Frank has opened about his want for the position and wouldn’t put someone else there. The twist is that Tusk and Walker know each other better than Walker is letting on and Tusk spills it saying Walker sought his advice and Tusk is now vetting Frank, who believes he is vetting Tusk. The genius of Frank is seen in the next minute or so. Tusk says he will give the green light for Frank to be the VP under the condition that he does Tusk a favor, without saying what it is. Frank does not want to get stuck with someone in order to gain a position. He leaves and begins to find a way to get the recommendation from Tusk without having to do this favor; they’re going to dig up some dirt on him. This is something that I noticed between Claire and Frank; she allied with SanCorp to get money and is now indebted to them and now SanCorp expects an under-the-table alliance with her while Frank refuses to do that if at all possible. It isn’t that Frank wants to achieve everything as a lone wolf, it’s that he doesn’t want to get stuck with someone he isn’t too sure about. Frank is careful and meticulous, he plans out everything. Claire can be rash and quick to action and this has landed her in a position with SanCorp where she has to help them out and before she had to help kill the Watershed Act because SanCorp wanted it. This is part of her making her own character from Frank.

House of Cards Chapter 11

Frank’s intentions are out in the open as he tells Linda Vasquez that he wants to be nominated to the Vice Presidency. With Vice President Matthews being convinced to leave that office to run for his former position as Governor of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is always a key state in any election because it can go either way. A democratic governor helps the democrats seal that state for the 2016 election. Matthews is simply damage control after Russo’s campaign completely collapses after his radio interview. There are less than 2 months until the governor election and with the rift(seemingly part real and part myth thanks to Frank) between the president and vice president. VP Matthews seems to be have been a good enough governor to have been on Russo’s campaign trail and the only choice to run against the republican nominee.

it makes sense as to why Claire did not stay with Adam Galloway. For as happy as she is with him and seems to have been in their past relationship, she does not fit in to his in-the-moment lifestyle. Frank plans and looks to the future, meticulously planning the future. Adam just lives in the moment and doesn’t care exactly what happens in the future as long as he is living in it. She cannot be in love with him for more than 2 weeks as she puts it. Frank also has an emotional opening in this episode about Claire.

Russo will not drop out of the race officially. In a drunken stupor, he falls asleep in his car and Frank turns it on with the garage door closed so that Russo dies but looks like he committed suicide. I’m completely okay with Russo dying. For too many episodes, I just wanted to skip past every scene with him in it because of total apathy towards him. The last few episodes, I cared more than usual about him but it came with a grain of salt as after a character’s rise, there is going to be a fall. He fell out of the story. He went from rags to riches(figuratively, of course) and that cycle doesn’t repeat after the fall for most. After the fall, the story usually comes to its end for that character and his time to exit had simply come. His story was played out and couldn’t go any farther without it being awkward and forced. He was killed off with some dignity.


Behind the Scenes of the Colbert Report

In a previous post, I posted a picture of my ticket to see Behind the Scenes of The Colbert Report. Comedy Central is sponsoring the New York City Comedy Festival which goes from November 7th to November 10th with different performers at different venues across Manhattan. This was at Town Hall on West 43rd street. This show featured Colbert and his writing staff and they discussed how the show is made as well as take questions from the audience. The show opened with the Colbert Report opening and then some clips from the show’s history.

They first discussed how bits are written and if they are shelved and how the show is created in a short amount of time. They begin working at around 9 or 9:30 in the morning and by 4 o’clock they have the entire script ready for editing. By 5 they have rehearsals. By 7 they film. They do this for 161 shows per year. This process, from what I inferred from the writers was that this process can be both soul-crushing and completely uplifting. They have to keep their ideas rolling even when they have nothing going. There were about 14 writers on stage and they pair up so that they don’t fall into a rut. For everything that happens in those hours from getting to work to taping, they consistently put out a great show. What makes it even more challenging for them is that they have to write everything to fit Colbert’s on-air persona(which he was not in for the show). I always thought he’d be given something and fit it into his character. Everything that is written has to be written based on the character’s past sayings(such as bears are godless killing machines and are the biggest threat to America, his ultra-catholicism, “truthiness”), his character’s narcissism  and the characters view points. They even do that for his character for his interviews.

The Q&A segment was the better part of the night. There were several questions that stuck out at me. One was about the lack of diversity on the staff. There were 17 people on stage, including Colbert, which had one woman and one non-white person. After some sarcasm about “Are you sure there are any women here?,” and a joke that “There aren’t that many white people, may are Jewish,” Stephen gave a somewhat generic answer of not looking at names while reading their samples and judging based on that. Sam Kim(the one Asian guy) talked about how he got the job and filled it with sarcasm. Everyone on the staff, that spoke, was funny. It isn’t Stephen making it funny, the cast around him is just that good.

The best question of the night was from a college student in the upper balcony who asked that since most college students got their news from his show, do they actually try and influence people? We all know that Colbert’s character is extremely sarcastic and that in reality he is probably a liberal which would lead to one thinking that their is some sort of attempt at influence happening. As soon as that question was out Colbert was out of his seat making a giant 0 with his arms. They do it strictly for the comedy and aren’t trying to influence young people, “We’re on Comedy Central, not Influence Central.”

A young kid asked what the craziest moment of the show was in its history and in it was the most light-hearted moment of the show. Stephen gave the story of the best piece that never made it to air and the segment with it. Their 2006 Christmas episode featured The Decemberists and Guitar-Mageddon. Earlier that year Colbert did the “Green-Screen Challenge” which the The Decemberists ripped-off, leading to a “feud”. This culminated in Guitar-Mageddon. In studio was Morley Safer, Elliot Spitzer, Henry Kissinger, Rick Neilsen, and Peter Frampton. He cracked up when he recalled having Kissinger introduce the segment and the non-used clip of Kissinger reading a script saying “Where are my panckes? I was promised pancakes. I can’t, this is too much.”

I loved this show, Stephen was hilarious along with everyone on the staff that spoke. It was full sarcasm and wit while actually giving an insight into how the Colbert Report actually runs. It comes off as a job that will happily burn you out. Jokes that people put their hearts into(one’s joke of comparing Paul Ryan to some from the boardgame “Guess Who?” actually left the audience hysterically laughing but never made the show) they do not make it and the ones that do. It was a wonderful experience to see a pop-culture phenomenon like The Colbert Report in a new light.

House of Cards Chapter 10

With the fall out of the Watershed Act being defeated in the House, Frank deals with multiple rebellions. Zoe knows about Claire’s betrayal and threatens him with it, Claire leaves to see Galloway in New York, and Russo seems to have grown a pair. Continuing from the last episode, Claire and Russo are the most improved characters. I actually care about them and what they do. This episode is one where they are the main characters and what they completely overshadows what Frank and Zoe do. This is great for the show, in my opinion, because instead of constantly being fed only two stories as the center pieces now you have 4 stories that are actually worth something.

Also, Russo has just set himself up for the fall and I completely love it. I know the last few episodes have made me care about his story, but not him necessarily. I’ve spent so much time just wanting him off screen that I do not care what happens to him now. His story is running thin at this point; unless he is Mike Tyson reincarnate, he isn’t going to go from rags to riches back to rags and then riches again. Simply put: he rose, he fell(even if it was artificial), and now he’s done. I just have a feeling that he’ll be completely out of the picture sooner or later. Claire sleeps with Galloway just to get back at Frank it seems. Good for her. She’s been dealing with all of Frank’s stuff beyond well and has had to put everything she cares about at CWI on hold. Her story’s future is still unknown because they aren’t going to take her out of the picture but what’s her role going forward is somewhat murky. She cannot go back to being the quiet wife anymore, it wouldn’t work because that would just be a devolution of the character. Zoe’s rebellion was the tiniest of them all but that was necessary for the show’s sake. If her role changes too much, the entire show changes and the show’s flow would be disrupted. Plus she has shown a feisty side already so this is nothing new, just a bigger situation.

I did love this episode for the development of Russo and Claire’s stories. I still care about their stories. That makes two weeks in a row. 5/5