“After all, we are nothing more or less than what we choose to reveal.”
–Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey)
There are things to recommend this series, a show that follows House Majority Whip Underwood as he exacts revenge on everyone who kept him from a plum political appointment he expected. But, despite moments and scenes and even sequences that engage me at times, I remain ambivalent about the series as a whole.
That’s why I have put off writing about this series. As television goes (Netflix streaming…but still an episodes, television format), it’s pretty good, but I’m not finding it memorable.
Maybe one reason is that Francis/Frank Underwood does not reveal very much (especially for a guy prone to direct address to the camera!), which limits my investment in him.
Or, maybe it’s because I don’t feel like these are real people but automatons of some vague, political ilk that is so cold, cold, cold.
Either way, my emotional distance from the series is less that I don’t like Underwood than that I don’t feel that I know him or most of the supporting characters, for that matter.
Underwood and his wife (Robin Wright) are cold and unknowable, yes, but also given to excess. Now, that’s something interesting because the distribution model Netflix used for the series (making available all of the first season’s episodes in a single day) indulges a penchant for excess.
How American, really.
We like to stuff ourselves with a good thing to a point exceeding satiety. I’m guilty, too, and frequently like to “dive” into series. But, there is something that bugs me about diving in without abandon.
This series, unlike others I have become captivated by over the years, inspires no wanton desire. The feeling is more detached interest or a desire to finish the lot of episodes or a sense of responsibility to join the conversation about House of Cards.