John Y. Brown, III on “House of Cards”

If Nicolo Machiavelli had been born several hundred years later and written a TV series, he would have written House of Cards

If you are a political junkie and worry that you may fall into the political abyss and want to know how to survive (at least according to Hollywood’s version), you can’t do much better than the new Netflix series House of Cards.

Is it a true reflection of the rough-and-tumble, all too human, sausage-making political and policy process in DC? The answer I would offer up is, Not as much as the series would have you believe. But more than DC’s real players would want you to believe.

It isn’t art reflecting reality as much as an artful presentation of the high drama of DC’s inner workings. And as dramatic TV goes, it’s about as good as it gets.

JYB3_homeThe morale of the series? I’m only a few episodes in but would say that it’s a play on the idea of a House of Cards. Sure, it means an unstable structure that could collapse at any moment. But according to the series, it’s not the structural problems that are of primary interest. But how one plays the hand of the cards they hold. In hopes of surviving regardless of what happens to the house itself.

It’s not a drama that captures politics as it is– but captures the caricature of politics shrewdly and subtly.

It’s a drama that, if you aren’t politically inclined, is hard to watch and impossible to look away from. And if you are politically inclined, easy to watch and you won’t want to look away.


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