Just How Real to Life is House of Cards?
After partaking in a few Valentines Day drinks and nibbles this past Friday evening, my boyfriend and I scampered home to get down to the real business of the night. Yes you guessed it, the much-anticipated Season 2 arrival of House of Cards streaming live from a Netflix’s account near you. I have always been drawn to stories centered around power and how different characters real or fictional are affected by its allure. The characters in House of Cards are in a constant battle amongst themselves to attain power and then control that authority once they have achieved it. This struggle to the top of the ladder, set within the context of modern day US politics often imitates narratives that seem strikingly similar to stories and all to familiar real life scandals that have come out of Washington in recent times. It is this slippery slope politicians must dance around to stay competitive within this game they play and what keeps myself and viewers alike hooked each episode. Season 1 sucked us into the dirty web of Frank Underwood’s world as he influenced, extorted, lied, killed, and left a trail of destroyed lives to put himself in a position for Vice President and left me hungry for more.
Much to my delight Season 2 kicks off without skipping so much as a beat to its original power hungry plot line. Now with most series I get sucked into whether based on events that have happened in real life or purely fictional stories like House of Cards, I’m curious how real to life they may be in regards to the worlds and lives they portray. With approval rating abysmally low for congress and the somewhat blatant corruption imposed by third party interest groups, it seems permissible that at least some of what’s portrayed in House of Cards could very well be happening behind closed doors in Washington.
In preparation for his role, Kevin Spacy who plays Frank Underwood actually shadowed a current acting congressman and claims that the story lines worked up for the series are not that farfetched from what actually takes place. Spacey also asserts that the show is equal part a fictional fantasy and gritty documentary.
“99% of the show is accurate and the one percent that isn’t is that you could never get an education bill passed that fast.”
A Compelling Juxtaposition to Modern Day US Politics
I personally take this with a grain of salt, as Kevin Spacey is obviously a biased source directly connected with the shows hype and success. The thing that I believe House of Cards really does nail however is its portrayal of the chaos modern day politics is swept up in. The traditional democratic process is being hallowed out making it up for grabs to the highest bidder. There is a culture of closed-door deal making coupled with ravenous demands and threats from third party interest groups. The mainstream media that operates on a 24-hour basis is distracted, drained, and influenced to target certain stories while ignoring others, thus shaping our viewpoints as they see fit. But most importantly we are living in an age where powerful figures that may have once been kept in line by stronger checks and balances are rewarded for their ruthless and self-serving nature. Regardless of how true to life each viewer perceives this show to be, its is undeniable that Frank Underwood is an extremely captivating and compelling figure as we grapple with the paradigms of what he represents within the issues and debacles our present day government faces.
What do you think? We’d love to hear you sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!