House of Cards

housecardsI finished watching Netflix’s House of Cards last week. While I saw all 13 episodes in a relatively brief time, I did not have the same intensity as with other marathon TV watching (ex. early seasons of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Homeland, Parks and Recreation). I did not binge.

The main reason? I just didn’t really like almost any of the characters.

The men are byproducts of their vices and power. There is little self-control or morality at play.

The women ultimately are objects of desire who use sex to further their ends (with some exceptions).

The show is wonderfully acted with great production values, surpassing twists, and great suspense and surprise. But that’s only enough to make it good.

While there are an endless number of characters to remember, the main characters all are unpleasant at times and not particularly sympathetic. Kevin Spacey, as the so-bad-he’s-good, is no Walter White. He is too privileged, too powerful, and too mean to really care about. Robin Wright lacks emotions in her role. Kate Mara’s character makes unpleasant choices and she seems so juvenile, it is hard to take her too seriously. Corey Stoll has had periods of great appeal, but then pursues such unsavory and horrible choices that he becomes repellant. Michael Kelly, perhaps because he is mostly an enigma, has somehow remained one of the few amiable characters.images-2

DanaNow it is true that show also has some pretty ludicrous plot moments. But so does Homeland. Those characters are compelling and despite their many flaws I find them appealing enough to let me look past it. Well, except Dana. She is the worst. On House of Cards, I just don’t care enough about the characters because despite their many flaws, in my heart I don’t really like them that much.

In the small complaint department, the theme song played over the opening credits is dull (It’s no West Wing theme, which won an Emmy). And the cliffhanger (no spoiler) is not much of a “cliffhanger”.

So if you love The West Wing or Political Animals, as I do, you will probably like House of Cards, but I bet you won’t love it.

2 comments on “House of Cards

  1. I completely understand where your coming from. Although the show is great and the actors are excellent, none of the characters are praise worthy. In every show there should be at least one character whom you can sympathize with or relate to in some way, this show lacks that. For more information on Entertainment/Current News, and shows such as House of Cards and Homeland, follow and check out my blog:

  2. Mila says:

    Hello Rabbi,
    Just saw your video on Reform Temple of Forest Hills site and decided to check out your blog. I been a member of RTFH for many many years and I am also a huge movie fan.
    Saw your post about “House of Cards” I haven’t seen yet since its only on “streaming” at the moment and I prefer watching DVD. Have you seen the Original BBC “House of Cards” with Ian Richardson? Its wonderful, amazing. You can rent it on Netflix.

    Looking forward to seeing you at the Temple

    Mila Meyers’

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