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Thu Dec 19, 2013, 08:40 AM

I just read Chris Cillizza's negative review of House of Cards

here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/12/17/president-obama-loves-house-of-cards-i-hate-it-it-heres-why/

...and it completely reinforced my impression that he's a pompous snob with that holier-than-thou mentality which is "just right" for Morning Joe and that ilk.

He doesn't much like the show, and he underlines the fact that President Obama does: if you read his reasons and rationale, it just isn't realistic. I like that fact that he's personally offended that a female journalist uses her feminine wiles to manipulate people. He states that that is "far-fetched" and "frankly offensive to female reporters everywhere". It's a generally stupid review and he confesses to have watched only three episodes (!) which makes him qualified to have an opinion.

In my less-than-humble opinion, Mr. Cillizza, since I know that you're going to read this since you Google yourself routinely, this is EXACTLY what is wrong with you, your colleagues, and what's left of your profession. You short-cut everything to make it easier upon yourselves, you have no sense of drama, of literature, of historical context. You have no sense of humor, you don't understand literary caricature, you fail to comprehend what others might find fascinating and you rubber-stamp everything with the remarkably small collection which resides upon your desk.

So you stated that it lacked verisimilitude - you didn't bother to use that word but I will - why don't you, then, research and write an article profiling your co-worker Andrea Mitchell, whom I knew from Philadelphia, and discuss how fascinating it must be to be a national reporter...nay, an international reporter whose job it is to find the soft underbelly of the Establishment and discuss it in public, BUT who is incidentally married to the man who controlled the money supply of the Nation and thus the entire economy of the globe. Can you imagine what she knows and when she learned about it? Now there would be some REAL reporting. But no,you spend your time horsing around with Joe and Mika, criticizing the President, forecasting doom when the wind seems to be blowing in that direction, and not recanting when the breeze shifts 180 degrees. In addition you lambaste fictional characters for not being realistic enough - well, they're fictional, sort of like your friend Mitt Romney's Corporate Person-hood folk.

Oh, and one more thing: (many of us can write in conversational tone as you do, we just aren't paid a salary to do so) before you review and compose an opinion piece why don't you watch the entire show, read the entire book, stay for the end of the film? Lazy "journalism" is unbecoming.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:08 AM

1. Cillizza is a Beltway insider hack.

 

And this is just exhibit #4847261.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:10 AM

2. Your House of Cards was simply a remake of a UK 1990 BBC series

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Cards_%28UK_TV_series%29

I have yet to watch the US version despite the fact I've got on DVD. I have no concept of it being quite as vicious as our version here.



I'd guess the original inspiration came from Machiavelli's The Prince : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince Allegedly most world leaders have read that and taken it to heart.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:30 AM

6. We thought the U.S. version was terrific. (nt)

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Response to Paladin (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:55 AM

10. I'll probably enjoy it too

but you should at least watch our original for comparison.

Some clips here :

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:30 AM

7. You might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.

One of my favorite BBC mini series. I've watched it at least three times.

On the scale of evil, Underwood is a child by comparison with Francis Urquhart.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 10:13 AM

13. Yes. Thank you for letting the colonists know about a show featured on our Masterpiece

 

Theater every few years, one that won an Emmy here in 1990, and is widely available.

Sadly, since Francis Urquhart was paid so little by your ungrateful government, he had to take a job being Halle Berry's butler in that immortal American classic...B.A.P.S. I highly recommend it to you.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 10:46 AM

15. "the colonists"

I prefer "our cousins"

I'm guessing you may also have seen the original of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with Ian Richardson AND Alec Guinness.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:12 AM

3. Cilliza early on seemed to be a sincere and careful young reporter. He has since

sucked up to Andrea Mitchell and daily seeks to please her with what he hopes is his savviness in divining the political winds of the nation through the cocktail circuits of DC.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:18 AM

4. The power in House of Cards probably isn't with the faction he favors

Therefore he doesn't appreciate it.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:26 AM

5. Your basic plastic pundit

There are dozens of them just like him.

IMO the title of his review gives him away. He "hated" the show simply because the president loved it and he wants all the cool kids to like him and he knows if he manages to get a snotty little dig at the president, he'll get invited to more of the A list cocktail parties.

I watched the entire series and enjoyed it. But the best part of it was that it got me to watch the original BBC series which was twice as good and had a leading character that was way more slimy than the Kevin Spacey role in the Netflix show.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:34 AM

8. Part of the problem is that it doesn't actually translate.

It works better in its original British setting because the party whips actually have some significant power (here in the UK there's such a thing as party discipline; certain votes will have a "three-line whip", which means: members are expected to be present for the debate in the Commons, and are expected to support their party. Ignoring a three-line whip, or voting the other way, leads to "having the whip withdrawn"; worst-case, a member will be expelled from the parliamentary party and not selected for his constituency at the next general election. So in the world of the British House of Commons, the government's Chief Whip is actually someone with some degree of power who's not above browbeating MPs into voting as they ought (and in the case of intra-party drama, given enough support, might stand a chance of becoming party leader and/or Prime Minister). In the American context, though? It doesn't work, at all.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 09:40 AM

9. Ah, here's the telling part....

Chris sez: "Maybe I just have bad taste in television. (I spend a fair amount of my time watching “Bubble Guppies” and “The Fresh Beat Band” with my kids.)"

Yes, Chris. If you watch Bubble Guppies and the Fresh Beat Band when there are awesome kids shows like Yo Gabba Gabba and Team Umizoomi on the same channel, then yes, you have shit taste. Thankfully, my kids are old enough that I no longer have to tolerate any of those, but having my own experience with almost all those shows, I can say that some are clever and funny, while others are tedious and saccharine. Seems Chris gravitates toward the latter.

----

Great criticism of the Cillizza piece, though. I had my own issues with the show (although I liked it a lot) (and I don't like the asides to the camera either, incidentally), but Chris seems to completely miss the point of just about every narrative device House of Cards employs. My real takeaway is that he's just too close to the reality to appreciate the fictionalized version.

But I do think there's kind of a maturity issue here. I've been collecting records for the last 30 or so years; consequently, when the VH-1 documentaries come on, I can always take issue with band A being put on a pedestal while much-better-and-more-influential band B is completely ignored; I'm also perfectly capable of raining contempt on the writers of those shows. But guess what? First of all, it's not pretty, so I try not do do that sort of thing publicly, and second, those shows are a lot more fun if you just accept them for what they are... rather than obsessing over how much smarter you are than the person who got the job of writing the show!

So Chris was probably right in the first place--when he wasn't watching.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 10:04 AM

11. I can sort of understand his perspective.

I mostly liked the show, and Kevin Spacey was terrific. I hope there's a second season in the works! But yeah, he was using this piece largely to make a dig at the president. That's his job, after all.

I really didn't like the young reporter lady at all. Her whole thing was just totally unrealistic. Also the story arc with the congressman from Pa. Just not realistic at all. Those 2 parts of the series made me realize that it's a political show for people who are not political junkies. They just threw some caricatures out there.

I suppose my biggest problem was Robin Wright. For some reason I have just never been able to stand her "acting." Totally one dimensional. She's never played a character that I have been able to find an ounce of sympathy for. She has one face and one tone of voice. The irony is that I thought she was the best in this that I've ever seen her. And that ain't saying much.

I've been meaning to check out the original British version, so thanks for reminding me to do so.

On Edit - In the comments section of the Post piece, someone says that they are, in fact, working on Season 2! Good to know.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 10:07 AM

12. Confession: I didn't like either version of House of Cards either...

 

I REALLY wanted to. Spacey is, after all, one of my favorite actors. But the show just doesn't do it for me. The ludicrous over-the-top plot lines, the entire affair with the reporter thing, the murder, it was like politics as in an R rated version of Scooby Doo. And yeah, the commentary to the camera was irritating and distracting as well.

I love Spacey (though the English guy is better in this role) but this isn't a great vehicle for his talent.

NOTE as well, I also don't really like West Wing. I started to, but the cutesiness and quirkiness became irritating and I stopped watching. I know, I can hardly call myself a Democrat if I don't enjoy the fictional exploits and courage of imaginary liberals, but when I need to get my "admiring people who pretend to courage and liberalism" fix in, I can just look at this administration.

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Response to PCIntern (Original post)

Thu Dec 19, 2013, 10:33 AM

14. I totally agree with him. It is a show based on the fact that all politicians are corrupted

and that the most corrupted is the most efficient. So, why have a democracy. We could as well do better with a dictatorship.

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