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Tonight my husband and I watched our first episode of House of Cards, well behind those who were plugged in long before us. Have heard about it forever of course, but just didn't get our hands on it till now. We got a good deal on the first season on e-bay and went for it, love ourselves a good series.

And we are in that new demo called "binge watchers." IOW, we like getting our hands on a series and watching it in a week or so, totally immersing ourselves in that world.

We just finished the second season of Game of Thrones---and Lord, w/both more than its fair share of gratuitous violence and sex, as well as a bunch of unintentionally funny lines, what's not to love?!, LOL. We are not snobs about what we watch, and winter seemed a good time to delve into a fantasy world.

Anyway, I digress, but needless to say, House of Cards was quite a departure, or was it? It's much more well heeled of course, and at least in the first episode, there was no
scenes of men humping women like dogs, which is ubiquitous in Game of Thrones. No heads were slashed off, no one was tortured w/hot pots full of rats applied to the midriff area, etc, etc.

But still, I was struck by how alike the two are. From what I can tell, "House of cards" presents an incredibly jaded and cynical view of politics, and in its own way, is no less brutal than "Game of Thrones," minus the graphic and more direct applications of power. And to me, this makes it much less comic book, and much more disturbing than "Game of Thrones," which one can safely categorize as "unreal."

Now, I don't consider myself naieve about the brutal side of politics, how could I be when I'm here every day, LOL. But I do wonder why the beltway loves this show so much, all kinds of articles about how glad they all are it's back for a second season. Last week during the snow storms, I head several pundits give thanks that the second season had arrived just when all was bleak and cold and everyone was suffering cabin fever.

Really? Is Kevin Spacey so good at being an asshole that he achieves Gordon Gekko like status in 2014? I can see that he is acting this very well, that's not the point. And, I can appreciate that the gimmick of him talking to camera is interesting and different.

But I dunno, I just found it....dispiriting, but not disinteresting. The dispiriting part comes with the idea that this sort of cynicism and corruption is now so taken for granted that it has no choice but to try to at least be good entertainment. And in doing so, it insulates us from the fear and horror of it.

I know it's all as old as this country, or any country, or any fantasy of power such as "The Game of Thrones." What seems to be newer about it to me, is that it asks us to wink along with it, to accept this is the status quo in Washington, and whose to say it's not. But somehow, in accepting this as good entertainment, do we cross the line where we also accept it cannot be better? Do we accept that this is just the way it is and vote it an emmy for being so gosh darned putrid?

Perhaps it gets better? Perhaps there will be a nuance of redemption as hubby and I continue to watch? Those who have watched more of it will I hope weigh in here. Nevertheless, we will continue to watch it, because like "Game of Thrones," it's dastardly, and dastardly is indeed entertaining. But unlike "Game of Thrones," it's not framed as fantasy. It's framed as how things are, and like I said, I have no doubt there's truth in it to a point.

And somehow, I don't think it's going to get better, and while I'm no fan of
Pollyanna entertainment, I think I may not end up a fan of the opposite. Not seeing too much aspiration to anything in this series, and I think we all need aspiration.

And hey, what up w/all those shots of politicians opening up their morning papers to be shocked by some headline? Again, really??!! I'm no spring chicken, am not in Washington, am not a politician, and some friends would even call me a luddite. And still, I haven't unfolded a paper w/my coffee in years. I click on the internet w/my coffee. Just seemed out of step to me w/the times, sort of an old fashioned note in a series that seeks to be where it's at.

Anyway, I would enjoy hearing what y'all think about this series. Not particularly important but kind of fun to chat about.


Originally posted to StellaRay on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:38 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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