By Lissa Harris
For those readers that don’t have the time or energy to binge-watch all 13 episodes of Season 3 of House of Cards, this is for you. (For those who intend to watch Netflix’s Emmy-winning political thriller, beware of mini spoilers.)
Frank Underwood—who I will affectionately refer to henceforth as FU—I’ve missed you, sir! As I watched the opening credits I thought back to all your misdeeds—the lies, the manipulation, the murders—and wondered: How could you possibly get any more vile?
That was before you made the short trek across the well-manicured lawns of the cemetery housing your father’s remains, and watched in disbelief as you relieved yourself on his grave, while the American public thought you were “paying your respects.” And all the while explaining to us, the audience, why it’s okay that you’re behaving like a five-year-old child. (Apparently, the elder Underwood was weak—an unforgivable offense in his power-hungry son’s eyes).
What’s the point, FU? There’s always a point, a qualification, a spin on what we all know to be right and true in our hearts and minds.
I can’t watch Kevin Spacey’s portrayal of Frank Underwood without thinking of his performance as Jim Williams in Clint Eastwood’s 1997 film, Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil.
Both are selfish, conniving, and from the south. Both characters will do whatever it takes to get what they want, including murder. And both are capable of making a very, very bad idea appear not that bad at all, as if it’s the only obvious course of action.
But unlike Eastwood’s film, which had some kick-ass music and one of the best transgendered actresses of her time delivering perhaps the best line in the movie, “It’s like my mama always said: Two tears in a bucket, motherfuck it.”
House of Cards lacks charm and substance. I can smell a point coming from a mile away. It’s like watching a porky pig cartoon where the little devil pig slides in, whispers some crazy nonsense into the dumb pig’s ear, and then slides away looking smug and satisfied with his superior intellect and powers of persuasion.
It’s like that every time. And the poor dumb pig, whether it be President Walker, Edward Meechum, or Doug Stamper, is left to bear the consequences of whatever heinous deed FU or CU (Claire Underwood) has convinced them to carry out.
Even when he’s seemingly sincere in making his point, like when he tries to convince Claire that a job as UN Ambassador would require making some tough decisions by possibly killing children in an air strike against a presumed terrorist (how condescending, poor Claire is still being raped), FU is boring and predictable.
I’m not falling for it anymore, but apparently everyone else is. Aside from watching Doug Stamper’s beautiful breakdown, both physically and emotionally, this season opener is a bust. FU, FU.