Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Watch It, Pal! #1: House of Cards

Welcome to the first installment of Watch It, Pal!, a (hopefully)series of posts wherein I tell you about a show, rank it using VERY SCIENTIFIC SCIENCE(which is inscrutable because IT'S SCIENCE), and probably make a few dick and fart jokes because I'm only human.

All shows I bring to you under the Watch It, Pal! heading will be available on one streaming service or another at the time of writing. The purpose of these posts are merely to inform you on what a show is about, and from there you can decide whether or not you want to invest your time. But, if you're reading as a way of looking for recommendations, know that I will never waste time writing a lot of words about a show I don't think you should watch, because I'm lazy and pragmatic.

This is the first one so some parts of the different scoring categories will have to be explained as necessary.
The Show: House of Cards(original to Netflix, adapted from British series of the same name)
The Venue: Netflix
Three Word Netflix Description: Witty, Dark, Cerebral
The Hook: Kevin Spacey(American Beauty, The Usual Suspects, a billion other things) is Francis 'Frank' Underwood, multi-term Democratic congressman(and majority Whip) from South Carolina negotiating the Washington, D.C. waters backed up by his wife Claire(Robin Wright, who straight up kills every single scene she's in).
The Real Hook: Very early in the first episode, Frank is informed he's being passed over for Secretary of State, a position he was promised in order to gain his help in electing the sitting President. Frank and Claire basically decide all bets are off and begin their quest to dropkick the shit out of the administration.

WMP Index: Alright, this one is either White Male Protagonist or, as I'm referring to it until I get bored, Weapons of Mass Privilege. As you've probably noticed(and in case you haven't, now you will), the main character of pretty much every hourlong drama(no matter what channel) is a white male. This guy is equal parts hero, villain, badass, cool guy, and smartest-most-clever asshole in the room. This happens because white males ages 18-49 are the target demographic for basically every company(they usually have the most disposable income and are therefore more lucrative eyeballs for advertising), and if you can tap into what me and the other Hollywood insiders call "the Reddit Hivemind" you can gain a ton of word-of-mouth support for your show.

All that being said, this show scores very highly on the WMP scale. What does a high score mean? Well, while Frank Underwood is certainly the star of the show, the badassery is split about 65-35 with his wife(technically it's 50-50, but the show is mainly about Spacey's character so he gets a ton more screen time). Together they are the streaming-television embodiment of a power couple. They have each others' backs at all times, in all endeavors, as long as their mutual success and/or increase in power and influence is the projected and anticipated end result.

The Media: Okay, so this category will have some(*cough*a lot*cough*) bias on my part. If you're reading my blog and don't know me personally, here's all the backstory you need: I have a BS in Mass Media and way, WAY over 10,000 hours devoted to media literacy. This is where I rank the portrayal(if any) and general aptitude(if any) of the media(whatever form) in the show. House of Cards has an ongoing B-story(sometimes C-story, but ALWAYS present) involving political journalists.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "but Dave, journalism is even more dead than print, and print was dead like 3 years ago!". You're right, but on this show at least they try. When someone puts forth the effort to make journalists look as hard-working as detectives from The Wire, my heart grows three sizes.

Supporting Cast: Kate Mara, Constance Zimmer(Dana Gordon from Entourage!!), Gerald McRaney, Molly Parker(Alma Garrett from Deadwood!!) Rachel Brosnahan(The Blacklist).  Lots of old white men who look like garbage fart human beings(a.k.a. Congress and senators).

Binge Factor: HIGH. Imagine Breaking Bad, but without all the stomach punches that might make you stop for the night after 2 or 3 episodes.

Final Score: After doing all the math and many VERY SCIENTIFIC calculations, House of Cards finishes with a score of 94.5

That's out of a hundred, in case you were still wondering whether or not you should watch it.

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