Last night I watched the first two episodes of David Fincher and Kevin Spacey‘s House of Cards on Netflix, or more specifically on my iPad3 as I laid flat-ass on a big bed in a Santa Barbara hotel room. I found it familiar but pleasurable like a good juicy steak or my favorite flavor of popsicle. Was I staggered by it? Was I doing cartwheels in the hotel hallway? Awe-struck, open-mouthed? No, but I felt taken care of. It was like sinking into a womb with a drink in my hand, and I don’t drink.
Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright in David Fincher’s House of Cards.
If I was partly or mostly satisfied, my plan would be to watch the remaining 11 episodes of Season #1 on a piecemeal, catch-as-catch-can basis. But I intend to binge when I return to L.A. tomorrow afternoon. I want all of it, all of it, not just some of it but all of it.
House of Cards is about Spacey’s Frank Underwood, the House Minority Whip, going on a revenge tear after a promise that he’ll be appointed Secretary of State is reneged upon by a new U.S. President. It’s essentially Richard III — reptilian ruthlessness, breaking-the-fourth-wall asides, etc. — in our very own Washington, D.C. Subtle maneuvers, inflicting pain and really loving it. This is default Spacey, what he’s best at, yah-yah.
Honestly? I didn’t really believe that Rep. Underwood would devote himself this fully to destroying two nominated cabinet members. (Lord knows what he’ll do in episodes #3 to #13.) Because revenge is for suckers. What goes around eventually comes around and sooner or later the aroma of vengeance leaks out. So if F.U.’s agenda is sure to be discovered (as he surely realizes deep down) why go there in the first place?
Simple — because it’s fun for us, sitting out there in Netflix-land, to watch F.U. stick the knife in time and again, and then wink as he slides it back into the sheath. Jaded, darkly amused, half-bored. But c’mon…this kind of behavior is fairly whacked, and even on a sociopathic level it argues with the way things actually work out there.
The hunchbacked Richard III — bitter, self-loathing, barked at by dogs — gave himself to evil because he had no other pleasures. Better a king in hell than a peasant in heaven. But Rep. Underwood has a high position, wealth, power and a 40ish, moderately hot Lady Macbeth-type wife (Robin Wright)…just not enough to satisfy him at this stage in his life, or so he tells himself.
The bottom line is that Spacey’s Machiavellian monster is amusing to watch but you can’t root for the guy, not really, so watching House of Cards becomes an arm’s length, heh-heh experience. No investment or empathy. But that’s okay.
I had a big white pillow sitting on my chest with the iPad 3 resting on it, and I was just pigging out, man. Swimming in that shit. But I think I’ll catch the rest of the series on my 50-inch Vizio. Because it bothers me to keep holding the fucking thing upright with my fingers.
Note: The last line in the second paragraph is from a Lou Reed song.