Hump Day: Replenishment of morals needed after House of Cards marathon

Hump Day 2 croppedHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Moncton Times & Transcript

If you’re unfamiliar with Netflix, it’s an Internet service which allows you to watch a number of movies, documentaries and TV series for a set monthly fee. In the past few years, they’ve started producing their own series, too, ranging from dramas to sitcoms.

I’ve been a subscriber for quite some time but haven’t really used it much. All that changed over the Easter weekend, though. On the Thursday before Good Friday at 5 p.m., I closed the office and promised myself that I’d take four glorious days off. I’d even take Easter Monday off – a real treat! I was going to duct tape myself to the sofa and not move all weekend. I was tired. I was burnt out. I needed a break after a long stretch of very busy weeks.

That’s when I started watching House of ‍Cards. If you’re a fan, you’re probably saying out loud right now, ‘It’s so good!’ If you haven’t watched it, you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘I’ve heard it’s really good, but I haven’t watched it yet.’ It seems that everyone has heard of House of ‍Cards. If you have any interest in politics or business, it’s must-see TV. It is to politics what the old Dallas TV series was to oil.

So far, there have been three seasons of 13 episodes each for a total of 39 in all. Each episode lasts about one hour. There are no commercials on Netflix, so it would take pretty much all of a 40-hour work week to get through the series if you watched it instead of working. I would be quite happy if someone paid me to watch House of ‍Cards, actually. It would be a sweet job.

So that Thursday night, I watched my first full episode of House of ‍Cards. I’ve heard that it only takes one hit of smoking crack cocaine to become addicted. The same can be said of one episode of House of ‍Cards.

The series is about Frank Underwood, a longtime U.S. politician who – along with his wife Claire – machinates his way inside Washington and does anything necessary to get what he wants. He and Claire are ruthless. They will stop at nothing and are not above lying, cheating, betrayal and much worse to get themselves ahead. It’s a great show.

House of Cards (Frank Underwood)
The view from my sofa during a marathon House of Cards viewing binge.

Frank Underwood is despicable. He’s clearly evil and cares about no one. (His initials are even obscene.) The thing is, you find yourself rooting for him every time he does something terrible to someone. I found myself questioning my own morals and ethics with each passing episode because every time someone honest stood up to him, I’d find myself cheering, “Get ‘em, Frank! Make ‘em pay! Nice people are bad!”

Well, over two weekends, I binge-watched all 39 episodes. My eyes were blurry and I was sleep-deprived. The show’s a master class on how to manipulate people into getting them to do what you want. Sometimes they realize it. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s a win-win. Most of the time it’s not. You win. They lose. I won’t give you any spoilers if you haven’t watched it yet, but he’s not someone I’d cross.

I was glad when the series was finally over. There are no more episodes until next year. The binge watching really affected me. In fact, the other day, the cat was meowing for his food when I looked at him and simply whispered, “I will destroy you if you don’t shut up right now.” To which he replied with simply a head tilt and little, “Meow?”

That’s when I realize I’d watched way too much House of ‍Cards. Well, that and the time over the weekend I saw someone in line with too many items at the express checkout and told them that I’d appoint them to the Supreme Court if they’d simply move over to another cashier. When they refused, I whispered menacingly that I’d audit their taxes so far back that they’d have to dig up their dead grandmother and put her bones in jail for her not declaring one dollar of income back in 1955 when she sold a pair of handmade mittens to feed her starving children. Frank would have been proud.

House of ‍Cards is quite a leap for this tame Canadian who used to think that The Beachcombers was rough and tumble when Relic would steal a log from Nick Adonidas. Frank Underwood wouldn’t just steal the log, he’d chop up Nick for shark bait afterwards. I have one year to replenish my morals until House of ‍Cards is back. Wish me luck!

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