IF YOU PLAN ON WATCHING THIS SHOW OR HAVENT WATCHED SEASONS 1--4 THEN STOP READING THIS ARTICLE RIGHT NOW AND CATCH UP. THERE ARE SPOILERS EVERYWHERE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
In the middle of June, I decided that it was time to stop mourning the cancellation of "The Get Down" and start a new show. I was scrolling through the options in the Netflix menu and remembered how EVERYONE I know was watching "House of Cards"...so I decided to give it a try. I was truly not prepared for how intense, symbolic, and just overall incredible this show is. Here are some of the major themes that I have noticed in the show (I JUST STARTED SEASON 5 -- DO NOT TELL ME SPOILERS ABOUT THE SEASON OR YOU'LL CATCH THESE TINY FISTS).
POWER: I feel like I must discuss the most obvious theme in the show first -- power. Obviously the theme of power is present with Frank Underwood going from the "whip" of the Democrats to being THE FREAKING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. However, Frank uses the same force in not just the office, but in his personal life as well. He gives Claire (his wife) empty promises of them being in equal power together in the White House when he truly is just using her to look more loving to the American people and have a support system in pushing his own agenda. He literally MURDERED Peter Russo and Zoe Barnes when they got in his way and saw him for what he really is -- a beast. Every character on the show used their position to get one step further in being in the most important seat in the country. Which leads into the next theme....
TERROR/PAIN: In the Season 4 finale of the show, Frank and Claire Underwood are watching an innocent man be murdered by terrorists and suddenly sternly gaze into the camera (breaking the "fourth wall"). Only two sentences were said by Frank: "We don't submit to terror. We make the terror." And they are 10000% right. Throughout the show, they use the weaknesses of others (ex. exposing affairs, past addictions, etc.) to make sure that their plans succeed. If they do not want to do the Underwoods' bidding, they threaten not just them, but their loved ones. The Underwoods are truly a sick couple. However, they also carry pain that very few people get to see. Claire went through numerous abortions, was raped in college, has a mother with cancer, and the list goes on. You would think this would take a toll on her -- and it does. She literally get physically sick over asking Frank for help to be a UN ambassador. She plans on trying to have kids, but once Frank interrupts her with another plan, she has to swallow any hope of being a mother to make her husband happy. Does Frank care about her desire for children? Nope. As far as he is concerned, the White House is their child, and it needs their undivided attention. Frank has pain of his own as well -- growing up in a small town in South Carolina with an father he describes as "pitiful" (HE LITERALLY PISSES ON HIS GRAVE). He deals with the pain of not having a supportive father figure and growing up poor by trying to prove that he is truly the exact opposite. He flaunts his power and wealth as much as he possibly can. He makes himself seem like this terrifying individual when truly he is still that weak and helpless child back from South Carolina. He shows few moments of true emotion -- but when he does they are unforgettable. The Underwoods are calm and horrifying on the outside, but sensitive and scared on the inside.
SEXUALITY -- Sex definitely plays a role in the show. The relationship of Frank and Zoe went from being professional to also sexual, which eventually led to her death (still shook about her "falling"). BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE FATHERS DAY EPISODE??? Literally still sends shivers down my body. The look in his eyes while he was *coughs* assisting Zoe and when he said the line "Aren't you gonna wish me a Happy Fathers Day?" EW. The show to me uses sex as a way to show that while these politicians seem far from ordinary, they are still human beings. They still have needs (even though some might be strange --shoutout to autoerotic asphyxiation). And while they might use it for the wrong reasons (ex. Claire humping Frank to get him to stop crying), it still shows that these characters are not so different from us after all. However, one of the things that definitely caught my eye was the sexuality of Frank. I sensed the sexual tension when he went back to his alma mater and had the heart--to--heart with his "friend." BUT ONCE THE THREESOME WITH MEECHUM HAPPENED??? My suspicions were confirmed. This was definitely me once I realized what was about to go down:
At first, I thought that Frank was bisexual. However, I don't think you can put a specific label on him. To me, Frank lets VERY few people see who he truly is. Once he does, he also opens up romantically (ex. the author Tom Yates, his chief of staff Doug Stamper, etc.). He doesn't give himself away sexually until he can truly trust that person. However, whenever he feels like he has made himself too vulnerable, he cuts them out of his life like they meant nothing. Frank truly is a man full of surprises -- and this was for sure one of them. Whether for pleasure or as a method of deception, sexuality is important to the show.
HEROISM: I think this theme is important because in the show EVERYONE THINKS THEY ARE CORRECT. Each character sees their opinion as supreme and sees the people who disagree with it as idiots. Who is the true hero of the show -- the person who makes everything right and the world a better place? No one. Seriously. The only people who seem to be the most innocent are the American people who the White House is supposed to protect. The show portrays the American citizens as people truly along for the ride -- only seeing the drama that is broadcasted to them instead of the 80% that goes on behind the scenes. There is no savior in the show. No person who somehow brightens the day. There are only villains and the people who don't know their true identity.
Overall, this show is actually insane. It HIGH--KEY makes me feel smart watching it because I am truly learning a lot about politics Definitely watch it and let me know what you think of the Underwoods and their "strong" empire.
Peace Out Girl Scout,
Maddie the Media Princess