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HOUSE OF FOILS

House of Cards has taken a lot of flack this season, but for the wrong reasons.

Yes, the show is extremely pulpy, over the top, and borderline silly sometimes, but this is what makes it entertaining.

And the writers seem to be aware of this — having Frank lurking around the subway in a fedora while personally attending to one of his schemes was no accident.

Where the show errs is its ridiculously low esteem of the political acumen of elected officials in Washington, D.C.

Frank seemingly exists in a world where everyone was born yesterday. He’s not really a master strategist when you consider how easily people in the beltway are manipulated, most notably the President.

The premise of the whole season comes down to President Walker being the most insecure, indecisive, and trusting person in human existence. He’s powerless to make a decision without someone’s input, and then he willingly to accepts whatever he’s told at face value.

I simply don’t believe that you can become elected President of the United States and be that powerless to make decisions and trusting of what you’re told (especially after you’ve been lied to so many times).

What I’m talking about is the difference between book smarts — understanding economic principals, for example — and street smarts  — being able to read people, determine their needs, and them charm. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be the President (or a high ranking member of Congress), but you do need to have some ability to size things up and take action.

So, the success of Frank’s schemes don’t really comedown to him being able to think ten steps ahead of everyone else and play the long game; the President is so receptive to whatever someone is telling him that Frank just needs to keep spewing them until one sticks.

Ultimately, the President, and just about everyone on the show is merely a foil for Frank. Because his strategy for getting from point A to B is deception, a sucker is born every minute in  every minute in House of Cards.

This reminds me a lot about a major flaw with science fiction TV shows, including Star Trek. In these shows you have highly advanced alien species that possess technology that allows them to travel faster than light. But then on occasion the writers want to have an episode where the humans have a run in with a “primitive” alien race. The result is a species that is technology way more advanced than us 21st century humans, and yet also way more primeval. 

Or to think of it another way, there are apparently stupid aliens in space (if they’re this stupid, how did they ever get into space?).

It’s an oxymoron, and this is what has happened with House of Cards. ”kYou cannot get the top jobs in Washington, D.C. being a political novice, just like you cannot be a stupid alien zipping around space at warp drive (notice I said “top jobs.”).

This is what the entire show hinges on — believing that there are stupid aliens in space.

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