I’m always on the hunt for something new to watch while I fold the laundry, and this last month, my best find was the Netflix Original, House of Cards.
From the getgo, this little gem feels like it fought its way off of HBO and into the real world, but left all the gratuitous sex, violence and profanity behind. Admittedly it does still have some sex and profanity, but it rarely feels gratuitous and in almost every case, is done [I hate this word] tastefully and only to the degree “necessary” for the scene. So, on the to good stuff…
Kevin Spacey stars in this dark political drama as a seemingly low-power senator, but through his conversations with himself slash the audience [an artistic choice that takes some getting used to] we learn that he is a cunning, ruthless and brilliant master manipulator. So I suppose it follows that he became a politician, huh?
Anyway, the show follows his power-gaining gambits and the people that he uses as his pawns, played by Kate Mara, Robin Wright and some other guy whose name I always forget but whose face I always remember… Colin Mochrie? Nope, he’s busy with Whose Line again… [checks IMDB] Corey Stoll.
That’s him. Got the cop/thug with a soft side thing going on, which fits his character – a senator who is also a recovering alcoholic trying to get his life back without losing his position. You can imagine how well that goes, and how the conniving Kevin Spacey makes use of him.
It was halfway through the first episode during a scene with Kevin Spacey’s character and his wife that I was like, “Hey, the wife looks like Princess Buttercup… ohemgee it IS Princess Buttercup! She’s aged really well!” Silly ejaculations aside, Robin Wright has shed her curly locks and wow-that-looks-ridiculously-heavy crown in favor of a short crop and power LBD, but she manages to maintain her quiet presence and delicate demeanor without seeming like she’s merely a trophy wife. Far from it – she’s just as cunning and ruthless in her own way as her husband, she’s just way more refined about it.
She’s got the kind of power that makes you melt in your socks, both because it’s hot and because you’re sure that despite her soft voice, if you don’t give her what she wants, she’ll quietly choke you to death with her bare hands while whispering in your ear, “I know it hurts, and I’m disappointed that it’s come to this, don’t worry it’ll be over soon.” Then step over your lifeless body with her Chanel pumps and be on her glorious way with the same amount of regret as if she’d just broken her diet to eat a Cinnabon.
But just as important as the brilliant acting is the brilliant writing. I always love a good political drama, and this squarely fits the bill for “My Current Favorite”. The plot moves along at a great pace, but not so fast as to not be able to keep up while folding laundry and chasing kids back into the other room. It’s authentic and believable, and totally captivating. There are clear good guys and bad guys, but since the protagonist is one of the bad guys, it’s quite the turnaround to be rooting for people who aren’t the protagonist.
In our weird way we want Kevin Spacey to conquer the world, but mostly only so we can see what he does to get there and what he does once on top. And when the underlings band together to help a hooker get her life back, or when Corey Stoll starts to not do as well as we were all hoping, we can’t help but cheer them on because dangit, this is a downer world and the good guy has to have a happily ever after!
All in all, totally worth the watch. In fact, after my next show, I think I’ll watch it again… yeah. It’s that good.