Throwing on sweatpants, grabbing my favorite blanket and a cup of day-old reheated coffee, I slowly drag my potato-shaped form up the stairs with a series of grunts and expletives. I stub my toe on the coffee table and become thoroughly disgruntled, as the countdown clock to my impending fatal heart attack in 40 years jumps forward a few seconds from the endless stress of my own clumsiness. With a huge release of air I plop down into my favorite spot on our disheveled couch. I scream across the room for our Amazon Echo to turn off the lights, (oh yes, we’re that extra), which of course fails the first five times and I end up emotionally exhausted and discouraged about my future because I was too lazy to take the four steps to the outlet myself. Stupid-ass Alexa thinks she runs this house...
Finally, after a shite day and what could only turn out to be a failed assignment or 12 in some classes I don’t even know why I’m in, I have reached it. The golden moment when I stretch out on the couch, fart comfortably (much to the discomfort of my poor roommates), and flip on my Xbox One. Slow piece of shit takes as long as Obama’s presidency to start up, but finally I find Netflix, and the only elation I’ve had all day.
There he is, in all his glory, glaring at me from the tiny preview box: Kevin Spacey, clad in a suit and hatred, ready for political intrigue, uncomfortable questions of morality and maybe some murder. I want to be him.
Suddenly, as the Netflix logo flashes across my TV that is about as affordable as tuition at Mizzou, I find comfort. This is my favorite show, and although I’ve seen the first episode more times than I’ve had dates in my lifetime, I’m ready for an hour of gripping ‘oh god’ moments and giddy joy for the shit my boi Francis J. Underwood is about to pull. After the title theme plays out in a captivating timelapse of our nation’s Capital, the screen goes dark, and I hear the sound of a car screeching to a halt and the subsequent yelps of a poor unsuspecting doggo. Nothing has crushed me more in the opening 10 seconds of a show than Fido getting rekt in the pilot of HoC.
And then there he is, popping out of his front door, likely drawn to the sound of agony like the politician he is. Kevin Spacey, aka the big FU, wanders over to the poor pooch. He calls 911, holding the dog through his pain. Over several weeks, he rehabilitates Doggo as his own pup, starting a lifelong bond that even Lassie couldn’t dream of. At least, I wish that’s what happened.
Instead, what’s a ruthless asshole to do but hold the dog steady and put it down right there in the street with his own two hands. Then he looks up at the camera, Frank’s signature move, immediately breaking down the fourth wall like the Mexican government is sure to break down our new Yam-in-Chief’s wall. “There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain, the sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.”
This is what makes all four seasons so gripping. This evil, callous, driven man rising through the American political system, and looking you dead in the eyes through the whole journey, imparting on you his knowledge of the darker side of life. Kevin Spacey should run for POTUS in 2020, but as his character Frank. Add Beau Willimon, the show’s creator, as VP, hire on the rest of the show’s creative team for cabinet positions and BAM, you’ve got the best administration we could ever hope for. Don’t worry about national debt: Frank will strong arm even the most elite of Wall Street’s billionaires. Foreign policy? The only thing foreign to Frank and his wife Claire is compassion. Terror? Well, I’ll let them give you their official take on that in season 4.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our one true queen, Robin Wright. Nothing short of ruthless herself, Claire Underwood is the furthest thing from ‘doting housewife.’ She will be seen, and she WILL be respected. Ruth Bader Ginsburg could only dream of the flare and grace that Wright wears with perfection in this role. Claire will jeopardize and disregard everything you hold dear if it means that she, and by extension, Frank, gains power. They are the epitome of the power couple— the OG team for taking over the world. They have no equals, aside from each other. The show delves into the power structure between Frank and Claire, and the result is something unique that you’re unlikely to find in any other show, ever.
I only hope my potato-ass lives to see the day that the real life Frank and Claire Underwood, whoever they may be, saunter out of the shadows to set us straight. Through the backdoor deals in dark stairwells of the White House, to questionably legal meetings between presidential candidates and disgruntled journalists, this show parallels the real world of shady American politics. As you know if you’re a fan, ruthless pragmatism is intoxicating, and as Francis would say, “Democracy is so overrated.”
I leave you with a plea to watch all four seasons with attention and love, and a prized rating from yours truly of 9.1 out of 10 Dumpster Fires.