A few weeks ago, my roommate and I finally finished off the third season of the Netflix original House of Cards, which returned at the end of February. Sadness, is of course all I can feel, with only the happiness that obviously there is a fourth season coming next year that may or may not answer the burning questions we now have.
If you haven’t seen House of Cards (why the heck not!?), the whole series on Netflix (for those that are streaming Netflix). The premise is a simple revenge plot – when majority Whip Frank Underwood gets passed over by the new president, he goes about getting his revenge on everyone who screwed him. It really is an awesome show and one that I, despite misgivings, have fallen in love with.
If you’re a fan of the show, you may be wondering how the heck anything about that could be positive, but I’m here to tell you that the show can teach you a great deal when it comes to working in the real world.
Pick Yourself Up
In the first episode of the series, Frank has his dreams shattered, despite helping everyone – including the president – to get to their positions. He says this at the very beginning –
There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain. The sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.
Think of the pain you’ve ever felt when losing a job or got passed over for something you really wanted. What kind of pain did you feel? The kind that just left you weak, on the couch or in bed? Or did you feel that for a moment, then used it to make you strong and go out and get what you wanted? Of course, I don’t advocate doing what Frank did. Obviously.
One of the best power couples on TV are the Underwoods. When Frank gets defeated, it’s his wife Claire that picks him up; yes, as we’ve seen through the show, she’s just as underhanded and conniving, but hey! What’s marriage if you can’t equally destroy your enemies with your spouse?
If you’re lucky enough, you’ve got that spouse; if not, you’ve got your friends and family. Good friends and family will help you through your troubles; Awesome friends and family will help you plan your overthrow.
Doug Stamper! He’s the man…the man who’s always loyal! Put that to the song Goldfinger and that’s what we sing whenever Doug Stamper, Frank’s Chief of Staff, comes on screen. The guy has got a huge following, despite his sometimes (read, all the time) level of detached creepiness. But Doug is crazy loyal and isn’t that what we all want? A loyal friend or family member who will “take care of things”.
Standing Up for Yourself
Through all the politics, dirt, and muck, one thing that stands out about HoC are the characters who dare stand up to not only the Underwoods, but others. Zoe Barnes, our plucky reporter from season 1, not only stood up to the Underwoods, but to her boss at the newspaper she worked for; this season, it was Michael Corrigan, an American gay activist who was imprisoned in Russia; there was also Pussy Riot, the controversial music group who got to have a go at the expy of Putin.
None of these folks just sat and let things happen to them, they made things happen (let’s forget that things that happened weren’t in their favor of life, so you know). Even Frank to a point, didn’t just politely sit in his position as whip like everyone expected him to; he came out of the gate swinging and blasted everyone in his way.
I await with anxious breath until next year’s season 4, cause…when you’re at the top, there’s only one way down.