The Big Mac Blog

Frank Underwood is the most believable politician ever

Actors Kevin Spacey & Robin Wright, left, posing for photographers at a screening of Season 3 of “House of Cards”.
Actors Kevin Spacey & Robin Wright, left, posing for photographers at a screening of Season 3 of “House of Cards”. Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

Perhaps if House of Cards were produced in the 1980s or ‘90s it would be written off and die as an unbelievable soap opera that just mocks Washington D.C. politics with silly and exaggerated story lines. In this day and age, the wildly popular series produced by Netflix feels, at least party, sadly believable.

There is no darker, nastier and dirtier portrayal of Washington D.C., the White House and politicians than this series, which released its third season on Friday, Feb. 27 to great anticipation. Series such as these help define the new term, “binge watching” (guilty as charged). No, as of 8:13 a.m. CT I have yet to blow through all 13 new episodes, but I have a plan.

There is no nastier, dirtier or slimier character on TV than our “new” President, Frank Underwood. Season 3 begins with Underwood urinating on his father’s grave, literally.

This is not some state of society rant rather than an observation that thanks to our 24/7 media world where everything about politicians is exposed we can buy a Frank Underwood. Unlike his equally scheming First Lady, played so well by the eternally sexy Robin Wright, there is nary a hint of compassion, decency or empathy from the senator from South Carolina.

The last time we saw Underwood he successfully schemed his way all the way to the White House without having to go through a single campaign. That part of his rise feels far fetched, but the rest we can buy.

We can buy it because of the likes of Bill and Hilary. “House of Cards” feels believable because of men such as Dick Cheney, Tom Delay, Rahm Emanuel and a host of other career power politicians whose livelihood and high standard of living depends on not on their belief paradigm but rather getting elected and doing whatever it takes to stay in the circle. We can buy it because of exposed coverups, of WMDs never found and a host of other red and blue scandals perpetuated by career bureaucrats whose priority is not their own constituency but their own hides.

Their status, their stories and their duration have all helped to construct and enhance the reality TV element that is national politics these days, which makes buying a series such as “House of Cards” an easy sell.

The perception, which is just that, that D.C. politics is mostly about people using each other to enhance their own status, their own power and their own quality of living is enhanced by 24/7 media that needs content, and pundits that will run with story lines and hyperbolize certain elements that make a series like “House of Cards” feel like real life.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof