Netflix’s House of Cards is considered one of the best TV programmes at the moment. Don’t take my word for it – just fewer than 300,000 people have given the show 9 out of 10 stars on IMDh. So, what’s the secret? Some might say it is because Netflix is not restricted to censorship rules and regulations that traditional original TV producers are inclined to follow. This allows the producers to take more risks and be bolder with the plot. Others might point to the fact that Netflix, an internet streaming channel, can use the insights of big data it acquires and feed the creative process accordingly. Others still will point to the great cast, amazing acting and well-written storyline. As one of the most expensive TV shows ever produced, this is unsurprising. The truth is, what makes House of Cards so addictive is our fascination with the universal ‘love story’ between politics and the economy. Power and money, money and power. It’s a love story understood the world over (one should not look further than Cyprus to see the parallels). In fact, in House of Cards political power outweighs money as the main motivation of the protagonists.
The quest for power is so apparent in House of Cards that in the most recent season, Frank Underwood, the protagonist played by Kevin Spacey, tells his wife (Robin Wright), who no longer shares a bed with him, ‘they don’t understand us’. The point being that although they no longer passionately love each other, they remain partners because together they can reach their career goals (to be president and Vice President) better than if they were separated; such is the motivation. Ultimately, their shared love of and love for power, is more than enough to keep them together.
In the US, as republicans and democrats begin to square off in real-life, the parallels from House of Cards are palpable. And here too, in our tiny corner of the globe, we prepare for a parliamentary election destined to be the last before a possible Cyprus solution and hopefully the last reigned by clientilism, nepotism and irrational, unanswered questions. Those of horizontal voting (or lack thereof), wealth declaration delays, and other conflicts of interest that make the love story such a strong one.
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