"House of Cards": a few grapes among prunes

House of Cards bores me when Spacey's character Frank Underwood talks to the camera. It's a dull device and a huge reason why I also can't fully enjoy The Office or Parks and Recreation. I don't need a character's permission to identify when something remarkable happens. It conveys: "Here's what I'm doing, in case you are too stupid to figure out what I just said to other characters or to understand what you just saw." I get it. It's supposed to bring us in. We are buddies with the character, on the inside track. It's like we're there in the office with them as their confidante! "Wouldn't it be great to get up to the break room and dish on that crazy thing, or that character yet again doing what he/she does, with Adam Scott or Jenna Fischer? Amirite?"

Man, I'm gonna soliloquy the fuck from this Oval Office desk to y'all!

Man, I'm gonna soliloquy the fuck from this Oval Office desk to y'all!


#RestoreTheFourthWall, shows, and stop having characters talk to me directly unless a soliloquy is really important and clever. And the way House of Cards does it is rarely essential or clever. It's a way for the slow people (all of us?) to feel smart. One commenter put it:

I've only seen a couple episodes of this show. Are they still doing that thing where Kevin Spacey puts someone in a booby trap and they sputter "B-b-but I thought we were friends!" and then Kevin Spacey turns to the camera and says "Politics is full of sneaky traps"?

And Spacey's alleged South Carolina accent sounds lazy, putting about 30% of the effort he put into Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Finished season 2 of House of Cards tonight, several months behind the rest of the world. Spoiler: a very bland President gets an injection of about 30 IQ points for half an episode, sees all the schemes, then goes Flowers for Algernon and loses his intelligence and resigns for dumb, vague reasons. Sending a boat to China, calling it back, and going to marriage counseling? Or something? U.S. citizens would care about any of this, to the point of giving him only an 8% approval rating?

The participation of noted media pundits is amusing, considering the show shits on the journalistic profession and the media over and over.

Robin Wright as Claire Underwood felt like the center of the show in the second season, and the dynamic between the two of them as a married power couple is the most interesting part. The show has other ripe moments here and there, but I can't recall any moments of genuine insight about politics or the human condition.

A season 3 is coming in 2015. I'll have to think whether to bother watching any more episodes.