Monday, March 2, 2015

The World is Not Enough: House of Cards Season 3 Teaches Us About Human Nature

For some reason no one I know, not even TV junkie Michael Offutt, watches Netflix's House of Cards.  Or at least I don't think anyone mentioned it the last couple of times I talked about the show.  Which is too bad, because it's awesome political theater.  To recap:

Season 1 focuses on Congressman Frank Underwood and his wife Claire plotting to get him the vice presidency after he was denied the post of Secretary of State.

Season 2 has Vice President Frank and Second Lady Claire plotting to overthrow the presidency to take it for himself.

In season 3 then we learn that Frank's rise to the top was for the most part a Pyrrhic victory.  Sure he's the president, but with a Republican Congress and a Democratic party that is plotting to run someone else in 2016.

But the biggest issue in Season 3 is the implosion of Team Underwood.  Frank and Claire were always partners in crime (sometimes literally) but in Season 3 we find that while Frank has what he wants, Claire wants more than First Lady.  She tries to become Ambassador to the United Nations and when she's rejected for having no experience, her husband gives her a "recess appointment," ie naming her the ambassador while Congress is on break.  And almost immediately she runs into trouble with the Russians and resigns to basically become Frank's Eva Peron in Iowa.

What Francis can't understand all along is:  why isn't First Lady enough for his wife?  For two seasons (and 20 years before that) the White House was the brass ring.  So why can't she be happy now that they're there?

This is one of the problems with human nature.  We say we want something and then when we get it, we want more.  For instance, up until a couple of years ago I would have said all I wanted was to get a book published.  Then I got a book published and that simply wasn't enough.  I didn't just want the book published; I wanted to actually sell some copies of it, which is where the "publisher" and I disagreed.

Pretty much every book or movie about rich people says this same thing.  You can have all the money and stuff in the world and yet that doesn't make you happy because there's still something else you might want:  friends, glory, power, or whatever.  Like The Great Gatsby for instance.  Gatsby had all the money, stuff, and fame you could want but he didn't have Daisy so he was just fucking miserable.  And Daisy was married to some rich dude and she was just fucking miserable.

Hence what I'm saying:  you can have the world and it's still not enough.


  1. OH I watch House of Cards! I'm just slow on it. This weekend I almost finished up season two, and I agree that it's great. I'll move onto season 3 once its over because well, it's there. The reason I don't watch too much stuff on Netflix is simply the inconvenience for me. I don't have a Roku and pay for a huge cable package (so my naturally laziness is to watch cable). For me to watch Netflix, I connect my laptop using an HDMI cable to the television, have to switch to HDMI 2 on my set, then log onto Netflix. It sounds easy but it often loses out to just changing a channel.

  2. I've never seen this show but it sounds fascinating. The big problem we all have is we don't know what we really want. Do we want the world or just the love of close friends? That's the real question.

    1. Well as the song says, everybody wants to rule the world. Just most of us come to accept that it won't happen.

  3. The thing about publishing is that if you want to keep being an author you have to continually produce something. Otherwise, the alternative is to quit. I've been resistant to quitting, even though it's taking me forever.



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