This Netflix original series first aired on February 1, 2013 and stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Rob and I have watched most of the seasons since then and now the series is in its fifth season. It’s a fascinating look inside the corruption of American politics, with Spacey as Francis “Frank” Underwood, a corrupt Democratic Congressman from South Carolina, and then a corrupt Democratic president. At times, it’s difficult to decide who is more corrupt and amoral – Spacey, his wife, Claire, or his creepy aide, Doug Stamper, played by Michael Kelly.
At the end of last season, it was apparent that the show’s writers believed that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 election, so the episodes were written with that in mind. The Underwoods finagled events and circumstances that allowed Claire to run for the VP slot while her husband campaigned for re-election. Imagine it. A husband and wife team running the country. Both are ruthlessly power hungry, have an open marriage, and their relationship is so dysfunctional that Freud would have a field day with them.
In earlier episodes, we discovered that Underwood is bisexual. Claire eventually takes a lover, her speechwriter, and he actually moves into the White House. In one strange scene this season, Tom Yates (played by Paul Sparks) asks what will happen if Underwood dies and she become President. “Will that make me First Concubine?”
It was tonight’s episode, though, that pretty much ended my fascination with the show. Election night. Will the Underwoods win or will a young governor, Will Conway, win the election? The Underwoods are awaiting election results in the White House’s private theater, watching Double Indemnity, an election ritual for them. There is no love between these two, only a symbiotic relationship that feeds off their mutual lust for power.
As I sat there, I thought about how stupid the Underwood’s relationship is. They lead separate lives, don’t sleep together, and the only thing they have in common is their hunger for power and the fact that they are mirror reflections of each other. Why was I wasting an hour of my time watching something that could be a day in the trump White House? Thgere’s enough of that 24/7 on the news.
Frank Underwood and trump share an appalling egocentrism and belief that they can act with impunity. Underwood doesn’t tweet as much as trump does, but he’s just as evil. He may not overtly express trump’s disdain for women, minorities, climate change, the poor, disabled and the elderly, but it’s implied with his every action. If I’m going to spend an hour out of my day watching a TV show, then give me escape – like Netflix’s paranormal series, Sense 8. Or their family drama Bloodline, filmed in the Florida Keys. Or their homage to the 1980s, Stranger Things. I don’t give a damn what happens to the Underwoods anymore. Who needs it when the media covers the nightmare reality show of the trump presidency 24/7?