Netflix Presents: House of Cards (US) *SPOILERS*

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by tighr, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Then the reviewers haven't seen the original where FU would often break the fourth wall.

    And God help them if they ever have to review Shakespeare.
     
  2. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    The difference though is that this isn't narration... it's breaking the fourth wall. Frank is talking directly to us, as if we were in the room with him and witnessing his acts. Narration is a completely different storytelling device, and could be a third party observer or it could be the thoughts of a character in retrospect. I think it's well done in this series, and it's not entirely done with verbal cues. Frank gives knowing glances to the camera as well, without having to say a word. An omnipresent observer can't give a knowing glance to the camera.
     
  3. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Shakespeare didn't have a camera. And usually the character was all alone.
     
  4. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't know who's technically right here, and I didn't look it up before responding, honestly I don't care. The fact is that when you break the fourth wall or narrate like this, it is taking you out of the world, and it is jarring for me. I'm in the middle of a scene, trying understand subtext and pay attention to the acting performances and what's in frame for clues and suddenly, mysteriously, he turns to me and says exactly what is on his mind. I don't need to pay attention to this scene because he'll tell me what's important about it. It's either redundant or it's lazy to not somehow work his motivations into the scene. Choose one--exposition and context for the scene or show me the scene. Don't do both.

    It's overused and it gets tired fast. I may not be the smartest person in most rooms I walk into, but this makes me feel like the audience is supposed to be stupid. It's less than this show needs.
     
  5. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Not trying to make you feel wrong or bad, but how has the 4th wall reference been overused in dramatic teleplay? To be honest, I've watched a lot of television over the years, and rarely have I ever seen it. This show is the first instance in years where I've seen it employed.

    As for submersive storytelling, the asides to the viewer don't take me out of the story. If anything, they pull me in further because I get to be privy to Frank's thoughts and motives while he's deceiving the hell out of his targets.
     
  6. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's not overused in television, it's overused in House of Cards. I apologize for not making that clear. And I'm glad that you found it useful.
     
  7. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Ah, okay. My mistake for not seeing that.
     
  8. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    The glances to the camera were more jarring to me. It looks like Michael in The Office.

    What reviewers have noted is that they're often just not necessary re. the machinations -- that we already knew what was going on; or that they don't reveal more about the character than we'd have gleaned by watching his actions.

    OTOH -- we don't always know ourselves accurately and perhaps the writers intend this to be true for Francis. Maybe we are supposed to be hearing Frank as he views himself, but not as how he objectively is (if such a thing exists). He isn't the perfect manipulator. People surprise and betray him and he screws up on CNN (which, like Apple, must have paid some pretty product placement pennies).
     
  9. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    I'm cool with breaking the fourth wall in this show. Unless Frank turns to the camera and calls for a timeout, and then rearranges everyone in the room so that they drop their textbooks, I'm good.

    ::Tighr issues knowing glance towards the reader of this post::
     
  10. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Finally finished it - not my favorite series of all time (political machinations usually just bore me, and I rarely enjoy the way journalism is depicted in drama) but very well done. Liked Russo the best, so not sure what will draw me next season other than maybe rooting for Christina and Paul to get revenge?

    How can he be justified if everything he's doing is just for the sake of personal ego? It's a realistic motivation, but not an interesting one, too one-note.

    Compare him with other anti-hero characters like Vic Mackey or Dexter Morgan, who are an intriguing mix of selfish and selfless motives. That gives the character more dimensionality, with an internal dramatic conflict that helps generate more kinds of stories and makes them viable over the long haul.

    Despite Spacey's riveting performance, I'm not sure how much longer Frank is going to be interesting to me. I feel like I've seen pretty much all there is to him. I guess he could start having a Macbeth-style guilt-induced meltdown. They seem to have started that. So that's good for S2, but beyond that...?

    Yeah, that puts him beyond the pale. It's not Vic Mackey murdering a fellow cop so he can continue his own vigilante brand of street justice or Dexter Morgan murdering a killer because it's a way for him to survive without killing anyone innocent. It was nothing but pure selfishness. Whatever good Frank does is incidental to his utterly selfish motives. He's not remotely sympathetic and too one-dimensional. I'm worried that it's going to get boring fairly quickly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  11. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    - Loved seeing Frank break the fourth wall. I liked the valuable insight as well as seeing how two-faced people can be.

    - Freddy seems to be the only person that Frank genuinely likes. You can see his whole demeanor change when he's around him.

    - A lot of the machinations ring true, but the end where he was manipulating his way to the Vice Presidency didn't. Not quite. I found it a bit far-fetched that he could trust Raymond Tusk to either not communicate with Walker or to not let something slip.

    - I like that Frank is now going to be VP. I really hope that this doesn't get derailed. Keeping my fingers crossed. And if he makes it that far, he'll have to find some way to get rid of Walker.

    - Did I mention that I want some ribs? A full rack? ;)

    I'm rooting for Claire too. In fact, I was hoping that she was recording the conversation they had at the door. Gillian admitted that she didn't mind lying and Claire could have used that to scuttle the lawsuit.
     
  12. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    Another thing, I could have sworn that both Peter Russo and Claire broke the fourth wall in one episode. Looked like they both glanced at the camera for a second or two the way Frank does.

    And here's a fascinating interview about why Underwood is a democrat.
     
  13. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    I was hoping the same thing. Still, I hope Claire takes her down. This, to me, is an instance where Claire is doing the right thing, and an ideologue is trying to stop her by hook or by crook.

    I saw the same thing, and it is my opinion that they did.
     
  14. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I signed up to Netflix for the new season of Arrested Development, but decided to give House of Cards a whirl while I had the chance. It has its problems, but overall I thought it was good and look forward to the next season. I also gave the British version a go (followed by To Play the King and The Final Cut) and enjoyed that too, but they're very different shows. Overall, I'd say I prefer the US version because the characters felt more real, while the British version was more of a mischievous romp. For example, the downfall and death of Peter Russo had more punch to it than the death of Roger O'Neill. (Although my ambivalence to his death was partly down to my happiness of not having to hear his half-leprechaun accent any more.)

    That being said, Francis Urquhart is definitely a more fun character than Francis Underwood.