I didn’t think I was going to enjoy House of Cards AT ALL, so I’ve just gotten around to watching it.
Of course Kevin Spacey always puts in WORK, but the topic was so boring that I just couldn’t see being interested in the series.
I think the only thing I heard about it was people gasping and being all shocked about some scene with a dog.
So yesterday I started watching it and almost turned it off halfway through the first episode.
I decided to give it a chance and it probably took until near the end of the 2nd episode for me to appreciate the type of writing they’re doing.
Promises & Lies
One of the first things that happens is Spacey is supposed to get a job that he doesn’t get. He says to the woman who promised him the job “You promised”. She proceeds to tell him that things are different now compared to the time when she promised him the job and she and her boss NEED Spacey to continue doing the job he’s been doing for them.
So immediately I’m like “What kind of unethical people are these?”.. She didn’t even try to lie about it or act like he misunderstood what she had told him. She simply said, basically “That was then, This is now, Take it or Leave it.”
That means her word is worthless.
Also, her boss refused to be the one to tell Spacey or even discuss the situation with him after the fact. This means not only that her boss’ word is worthless but that he’s also a chump. This isn’t a good chain of command to work under.
Another character is some bald dude driving around drunk and high with a hooker in his car. I’m like “Why are we watching this nonsense? \o/”. He gets pulled over and thrown in jail and Spacey gets him out of jail without charges by making promises to the current Chief of Police at 4am.
The bald dude gets released and seems not to have a single clue why until Spacey tells him to his face about the list of charges they had planned to press. Bald Guy then pledges his undying, never-ending, total and complete loyalty to Spacey.
Let me fast forward quite a bit because this guy’s storyline illustrates the writing style.
A situation comes up where Spacey needs Bald Guy to do something he doesn’t want to do. Bald Guy flexes and postures quite a bit as if he’s actually somebody. When it’s time for action, Bald Guy does what he was told to do and now all of his friends (and about 10,000 more people and their families) HATE HIM and may very well attack him if they see him in the street, for a) what he did, and b) his lack of an explanation for what he did.
This is something I’ve been telling people about government for a very long time… If you’re running for an office that means you aren’t a part of the system. If you aren’t a part of the system, you don’t have access to Top Secret files. If you don’t have access to Top Secret files, you don’t have all the information you need to make an educated decision about, say… Closing a famous jail.
Once you finally GET in position, you’re cleared to see the intel, and then you go HELL NO WE CAN’T CLOSE THAT JAIL!!! :O
What happened to Bald Guy is that he inadvertently enrolled to be a lackey in the underlying system.
“Back to the front.. You will do.. What I say.. When I say… BACK TO THE FRONT!”
“You WILL DIE.. When I say.. You MUST DIE… BACK TO THE FRONT!”
“You SERVANT.. You COWARD.. You blind man, back to the front.”
Hookers & Blow
Similar to “The Matrix“, there are at least two systems [I’m only up to episode 06, so there may be more], let’s call them What Seems To Be and What Actually Is.
Bald Guy seems to be an important government employee. What he actually is is a drug addict that’s under permanent blackmail by Kevin Spacey and his assistant.
Speaking of Spacey’s assistant, there’s an interesting scene with the hooker from the car where dude gives her $10,000 to “forget” that she was in the car with Bald Guy when he got busted. I found that scene to be interesting as well as incredible (meaning Not Credible) in the light of what happens in reality: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandra_Levy
Chandra Ann Levy (April 14, 1977 – c. May 1, 2001) was an American intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C., who disappeared in May 2001. She was presumed murdered after her skeletal remains were found in Rock Creek Park in May 2002. The case attracted attention from the American news media for years.
The police investigation revealed she was having an affair with Congressman Gary Condit, a married Democrat then serving his fifth term representing California’s 18th congressional district, and a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Condit was never named as a suspect by police and was eventually cleared of involvement. However, after a cloud of suspicion was raised by the intense media focus on the missing intern and the later revelation of the affair, he was not re-elected in 2002, with the Levy issue cited as a contributory factor.
The circumstances surrounding Levy’s death were unclear for eight years. On March 3, 2009, D.C. authorities obtained a warrant to arrest Ingmar Guandique, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador. He had been convicted of assaulting two other women in Rock Creek Park around the time of Levy’s disappearance. Prosecutors alleged that Guandique had attacked and tied up Levy in a remote area of the park and left her to die of dehydration or exposure. In November 2010 Guandique was convicted of murdering Levy; he was sentenced in February 2011 to 60 years in prison. In June 2015, Guandique was granted a new trial in March 2016 on appeal.
The Dawn, It Fades To Grey
So Bald Guy is no longer who he appears to be. The weird part in the writing so far is that HE doesn’t seem to realize who he actually is now. He keeps fronting and perpetrating like he’s actually going to do something autonomous and for some reason, Spacey never tells him the truth which is that his alternate life path is to still have been in jail and not having a job at all, so he needs to be grateful and shut the **** up.
There’s even a scene where Bald Guy blames Spacey for people hating him. It’s pretty insane. It’s like don’t you realize that if you hadn’t been a creep to begin with, you wouldn’t have been forced to betray your constituents? It’s as if these people are just now realizing the game they’re playing and how deeply submerged they already are in the quicksand.
Same thing with this newspaper manager. There’s a scene where the owner of his business tells him something to do and he replies “Let me think about it”, to which she replies “Think about it all you want and then do what I told you”.
All you need is that interaction to understand that she’s paying everyone’s salaries so she’s the boss and he’s managing HER business for her.
Somehow, this isn’t obvious to this dude and he keeps fronting like he’s important. He keeps making decisions that don’t make any sense because they’re being overridden by the owner, which they should be because she outranks him.
He wants his subordinates to follow his instructions while simultaneously not being a proper subordinate to HIS BOSS.
It’s strange writing, but it’s useful for the style they’re utilizing throughout the show.
Basically, people are running around reacting to What Seems To Be without seeming to be aware at all of What Actually Is.
As a video editor, I don’t appreciate THE WAY they’re doing it because the character flaws are too obvious for me to even label them as flaws.. They’re more like deliberate mechanisms to set people up for dramatic punchlines.
I do appreciate the mechanism they’re using, however.. They’re writing for the long game instead of the short game.
Once of the best scenes is also one of the shortest scenes. I had to rewind it a few times to understand what I was looking at. Nicely Played! 😀 .. Cops roll up to some dude and they show a car that doesn’t have a front bumper on it and you’re like “so what?”, but that’s the dude that ran over the dog that was still alive until Kevin Spacey killed it in the beginning of the show.
This was brilliant because not only did Spacey kill the dog but he set that driver up for something he technically didn’t do. Yes, he drove away from the scene of an accident, but no that driver didn’t kill that dog. Spacey doesn’t care about any of it.
The reason I enjoy this two-system, long-game writing is because that’s how things work in real life for Movers & Shakers.
There is a lot of material that you see because people are deliberately telling you what they want you to know, like in this very blog post I’m currently writing. 😀
There is a lot of material that you never see and you’re never made aware of it unless it’s critically important to tell you.
This is sometimes referred to as N2K or Need To Know basis.
The people who need to know know who the other people who need to know are.
Everybody else stays in the dark.
You’ll find out what time it is when it’s already too late for you to do anything about it.
You aren’t a part of this system but you think you are.
Let me give you a hint.. If things change and nobody asked your opinion before the changes occurred, you’re not N2K.
Sit back and enjoy the ride.
I speak to people in California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Europe just about every single day. Deals are being made and business plans are being set up. You won’t know about these plans because you aren’t involved in the plans. You won’t find out about the plans because you don’t know WHO I’m talking to in those areas in order to even ASK THEM about what I’m talking about.
Meanwhile, you might read a blog post from me or some other comment on Social Media somewhere and think you understand who I am. You don’t.
This is why I’m enjoying watching the storyline of Spacey’s character. He isn’t laboring under the illusion of equality.
Spacey knows who he is and who you aren’t.
Spacey knows whether or not you’re even a brick in the wall.
And even if you are… Who talks to bricks?
Spacey’s wife is an incredibly boring character. I usually fast-forward through her scenes. I stopped and pressed play when I saw her in the hotel room pressing up on the dude, but… *sigh*… The writers did her like they do all females in television shows and movies and she pretty quickly goes “I can’t”, and “I should go”. *YAWN*
I don’t know who writes this stuff but it always goes down the exact same way like they had some international meeting on how to write women’s sex scenes.
So then his wife goes home and Spacey is “waiting up” for some odd reason. No explanation about why he’s still awake. They never show Spacey planning to go to sleep.
So the wife says that the dude she was just in the hotel room with is in town and that he’s staying at that hotel. Spacey asks her where she’s staying, and she says “Here” and they smile at each other and share a small little slight peck kiss.
Just about 2 1/2 seconds later, Spacey bones the reporter chick.
I’m like who are these people that write this nonsense? If they’re in an open relationship, they’re in an open relationship. If that’s the case, how come the chick felt guilty about doing what she obviously wanted to do with the dude in the hotel room?
So then when Spacey gets back after plastering the reporter chick, his wife wants the SitRep on what Spacey’s benefit in leverage is from having sex with her.
ummmmm… WHO WRITES THIS ****??? 😀 hahaha
His benefit was screwing her. Period. Don’t worry about whatever extra stuff he gets from it.
He did it because he felt like it, just like you should have done what YOU felt like doing in that hotel room.
By the way she’s debriefing him, it’s clear that this has been their relationship for a long time and she’s still feeling guilty about doing something Spacey EXPECTS her to do? Nah. Weak character development. 🙂
She also fires a bunch of people and her assistant reads her the riot act about how she’s ruining her life because she’s currently 59 years old and nobody’s going to hire her ever again to do anything.
After that, she has all these Macbeth-esque encounters that make her feel worse and worse about ruining those people’s lives.
Meanwhile, I’m like who the **** cares? \o/ What’s the point of this arc? What’s she going to do differently in the future because of how badly she feels for firing 19 people in one day? It’s all completely irrelevant and a waste of the viewers’ time.
His wife buys him a rowing machine and he hates it to begin with and then you see him on it incessantly, afterwards. What is he working out for? He clearly doesn’t feel like tappin’ his wife. He already bagged the reporter chick.
Having said that.. At least the writers spared us the horror of attempting to show us a scene of Spacey waxing the reporter chick’s ass. [*shudder*]
Suckers… Don’t Last A Minute
So I’m looking forward to continuing watching this series.. Not because the characters are compelling. They aren’t. It’s because this is a different style of long-game writing that I’m enjoying learning about.
When you first see Spacey bail out Bald Guy, you think it’s because they’re friends or they’re on the same team.
We find out down the line that he was only bailed out because he could be used to great political effect by Spacey and his sidekick.
Spacey goes to some dude, tells him to overthrow his boss, the dude declines, Spacey does it anyway, and when they get to the meeting where the dude tells the boss [truthfully] to his face that he didn’t try to overthrow him, he names someone who SHOULD truthfully clear his name, except the boss already asked that person and that person assured him that this guy is guilty as charged.
The reason that guy lied is because Spacey hooked it up so he was able to keep 3,000 jobs in his sector in exchange for helping with the coup.
The reason Spacey was able to offer that is because he blackmailed Bald Guy into not standing up for the 12,000 people that work in the same industry in his sector.
The reason Bald Guy got blackmailed is because he’s a drug addict and a generally weak-minded person.
So you have to watch the show to understand how Spacey is manipulating things behind the scenes. Without one level of leverage, he can’t get to the next level of leverage.
He has to recognize the potential (or lack thereof) in the people around him and make the right plans and moves.
There’s nothing wrong with living on the surface. Most people do. They only recognize the tip of the iceberg when most of it’s actually underwater.
So far as I’ve watched in the series, House of Cards has offered an interesting insight into N2K to people who weren’t aware that it exists.
Yes, you voted for a candidate, but they got their money from lobbyists and are more interested in lining their pockets than doing what they told you they were going to do.
Yes, Spacey and his wife are married, but no they aren’t going to separate from each other because one of them had sex with someone else.
What sense does that make?.. Where is Spacey going to get another high-level chick like his wife? It’s certainly not the reporter chick. Where is his wife going to get a high-level dude like Spacey? The rest of the power brokers would be scared to death for their careers if they were the next man boning Spacey’s wife. There’s nowhere for either of them to go but down.
They both know that people are going to throw sex at them for their looks, power, or money. It’s no big deal.
Meanwhile, people who don’t possess *ANY* of those attributes disassemble perfectly good relationships because one of them enjoyed having sex without the other one. Really? Who actually cares?
So enough reviewing from me… BACK TO THE FRONT!!! 😀