May 25, 2018
House of Cards Season 5 coming soon to Trumpmerica
How can television top a White House taken over by a cabal of billionaires, Russian agents, and white supremacists, nominally led by an elderly orange-skinned, ignoramus TV star with spray-tan goggle eyes, whose trophy wife comically refuses to live with him?
Scandal, Homeland, and House of Cards, all of which existed before real politics passed the sign post for The Twilight Zone, always went for the mega-drama. It was as though the show runners understood that someday America would surpass their wildest fantasies. But where do they go from here?
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Three quarters of the way into Season 7, Scandal may implode in its own ridiculousness (which might not be a bad thing). Boris and Natasha (Peus and Samantha) scheme to take “the oval” and it’s several episodes before anyone comes up with a plan to toss their asses into Gitmo. As usual, viewers are more concerned with whether or not any of this leads to Olivia getting back with Fitz, and probably the plot would play out exactly the same no matter who’s in the White House, although when Peus kept saying Mellie would be his “Trojan Horse”, it did sound a lot like something history buff Steve Bannon would say, or was quoted as actually saying. Was that a shout out, Shonda? A sign of more gravitas to come?
Some people thought Homeland must have been preparing for a Democratic victory when they gave us a female senator from New York newly elected as President of these United States, but Elizabeth Keane was no Hillary Clinton. The plot seemed like it was taken from the good old days in the 1970s, when Hollywood gave us Three Days of the Condor and The Parallax View, and we learned never to trust the CIA. The writers managed, however, to mix in the effects of social media, troll armies, and professional conspiracy theorists in a way that felt very up to the minute, and the season ended with a kicker: Carrie and Peter (the Martyr) Quinn save the President, but she turns out to be a paranoid authoritarian and/or spy, so maybe the intelligence services had a point. We’ll have to wait till next season to see whether life will play out like fiction.
As for House of Cards, the power couple at its core were eerily like the Clintons—Democrats with a reputation of doing well for themselves by doing good, always on the edge of or wiggling out of a scandal, while also being involved in a marriage which most of us found creepy. With Claire’s ambitions taking on an increasing role, a Hillary victory might have made the series seem prescient. But with Trump in the White House, we’re even more likely to watch, if only to find out which is worse: President Trump or President Underwood? (Hint: It’s the one that’s real and has no actual experience.) In the newly released trailer, Underwood is planning on holding onto power (wait for it) by any means necessary, and for as long as he feels like it. Just like somebody else, he thinks this “Constitution” business is “ruining our country.” At least we’re pretty sure that the actual Commander in Chief won’t try to pass his office along to his wife. His daughter, maybe, his sons eventually, but not the wife.
The new season premieres on Netflix on May 30th. As usual, you can binge it the first day, and check back with us later for an insightful analysis. If you’ve never seen the series, this handy review of last season should catch you right up.