Daily Recco, November 6: House of Cards for everything American

Do you need a better understanding of the ongoing American elections? Binge watch House of Cards on Netflix this weekend.

 |  3-minute read |   06-11-2020
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Fiction is a mirror of reality, for the most part, they say. That is, if you consider — House of Cards — the American political TV series to be fiction indeed.

The resemblance that the series has with the American politics in real life is uncanny. For starters, the drama is about a ruthless Congressman (and his equally ambitious wife) who navigate the corridors of power in Washington DC. Look a little more closely, and you have the lead character — Frank Underwood (played and held phenomenally well by Kevin Spacey) — being denied the chair for Secretary of State in the first season. He then starts gathering his gears to plot his revenge and eventually goes on to become the Vice-President of the USA.

However, he is not the one to be satiated with that and the viewers get to witness his extremely shady dealings, followed by the rigged elections for POTUS. And when we say shady dealings, we mean everything from the power-hungry, (VERY) manipulative streak to the ruthlessness of the characters. Now, we are not implying rigged elections have anything to do with the ongoing plebiscite — nothing that we know of as of yet, that is. House of Cards is more 2016 than 2020.


And when Francis Underwood does become the President, we know that he is mean and totally self-serving, but then we have viewers rooting for him. The dynamics of the Frank-Claire relationship could well remind one of a real-life power couple in American politics. Again, we leave that open to your interpretation on the series being a work of fiction. After all, any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead) or actual events could well be purely coincidental.

Each episode of the series spanning over six seasons, and each sub-plot in each of those seasons is fast-paced, racy with a brilliant storyline — take a bow, Beau Willimon! The casting is great and each of the lead actors adds layers and depth to the respective characters. In a world of power, there is nothing black or white. So you would find yourself hating Frank Underwood with every pore of your being, yet rooting for him to be the POTUS. Don’t be too hard on yourself in such instances — you are not alone. The storyline in the corridors of power has too much intrigue.

As the desi Twitterati rightly said, only those in India who watched House of Cards were able to understand US elections in its entirety.

House of Cards has had a lot of people saying a lot of things about its last season, Season 6, the one without Frank Underwood. Spacey was removed from the series after several sexual assault allegations surfaced against him, and the series closed with a weak finale. But that's no reason to not watch House of Cards. Most of it is just brilliant TV.

So, for those who are completely lost in the labyrinths of the dynamics of Biden, Trump, Kamala Harris and Uncle Sam’s plebiscites, this weekend should be dedicated to (re)watching House of Cards on Netflix to understand the ongoing elections of the world’s oldest democracy better. Even after anxious America chooses its leader. 

Also Read | Daily Recco, October 23: Avatar: The Last Airbender, not your average cartoon


Rajeshwari Ganesan Rajeshwari Ganesan @rajeshwaridotg

The author writes on wildlife, environment, gender issues, science, health, books and a host of other topics. A professional journalist and a passionate environmentalist. Former Assistant Editor, DailyO.

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