This brutal political drama follows the Underwood duo in their ruthless quest for power in Washington DC. Though Frank and Claire initially compliment each other and make the ultimate power couple their relationship eventually splinters due to their individual ambitions. Frank breaks the fourth wall and with a sarcastic tone (delivered by the intense king of monologues Kevin Spacey) casually outlines his violent end game. His chilling persona has made people note that Frank's character would be a textbook example of Antisocial Personality Disorder.
He is not the only character with a cutthroat political agenda. Another giant presence who gives the series a dark original twist is Claire Underwood (the stoic Robin Wright) who is merciless when anyone comes between her and her ambitious goals. In fact most of the protagonists in this series are anti-heroes, chasing after their own interests while trampling any principles or morals underfoot along the way. Like the Underwoods, the rest of the cast are also public figures, used to donning a political mask when they need to put together a cohesive platform or make a speech. However the show makes clear in the most hyperbolic way possible that the only thing these people share is their insatiable lust for power.
But who are you in this epic series?
What is something personal you hide from your professional life?
Everyone in this juicy political series has secrets. Whether their character sticks around long enough for them to be exploited is another matter. Public figures like politicians and their staff need to keep these details under wraps so as to maintain credibility. Journalists of course are out to publish the secrets that will affect how the American people see their government.
What is your go-to meal?
A weird amount of symbolism in this dark series is centred around food. Frank Underwood opens the door to these powerful metaphors when he ends the first episode ordering seconds of an entire carnivore dinner. This scene is set in the early morning by the way. It starts off to show his lust for power and the means he will take for his end game.
If you had to choose a means to scr*w someone, what would it be?
There are all sorts of minor revenge plots and success strategies in this show that involve stepping over people. Most are motivated by a desire to succeed professionally but others are more personal. While it might seem cruel, it does parallel the cut-throat political climate of Washington DC. How would you get people out of your way?
If someone double crosses you how do you react?
There is a lot of room for emotional duress and political fallout in House of Cards. If you are holding a high-up position how do you retaliate when someone has turned against you? There are many ways to exact revenge. Some characters turn to outright aggression while others plot away slyly until the opportune moment arrives.
Are you a workaholic?
For most of the world outside of Washington DC work is a way to make enough money to live comfortably. But people within this district are careerists; they never take breaks. Some may leave the public arena for a while but don't let that fool you. Even when they are physically out of commission they are often plotting to find a way back in to the political maze.
Are you a gambler?
Sometimes to get to the top you have to play your cards right. Brash and charismatic personalities often put everything on the line because their ego demands it. Others only risk so much when they think they can win. How would you be if you were playing a game of political Russian roulette? One wrong move and you could be out.
Are you faithful to your partners?
As you've probably figured out by now, House of Cards is full of vice. Cheating on personal relationships is not close to the worst morally horrific thing that happens in this series. Still, it seems like people's professional lives often overlap into their personal ones. If sleeping with someone were to get you promoted or new information how game would you be?
How capable are you of doing a moral but despicable thing?
What makes this series so intriguing is that none of the primary characters have any semblance of a moral code. They all are driven by their careers or self-interest and do not question their extreme actions to reach these ends. The series is a perfect parallel to the saying that in politics you can't be afraid to get your hands dirty.
What is your blind spot?
Every hero has an Achilles' heel. To rephrase for this series, at least every character has one. These are eventually the aspects of their personalities that lead to their ultimate personal and professional demise. These are the characteristics exploited to reveal their humanity. What would be your greatest weakness?
How much guilt do you feel?
House of Cards is full of psychopaths. No one has an ounce of empathy and the general attitude seems to be if you can't stand the political heat then it's your job to get out of DC. There is no room for pity or compassion when you are striving for the top. How would you fare in this cutthroat environment?
What is the most important tool in Washington?
Navigating the political network of Washington DC takes a strategic plan. The characters in this series leverage certain things they think will help them succeed in this powerful capitol city. Obviously this takes a team effort, but remember, everyone is out for themselves. What do you think the most important thing is?
How do you act under stress?
In this high stakes environment there is not much room to take a breather and process. Some handle the never ending flux of information by staying organized and returning to the plan. Others crack under the pressure and return to bad habits. How would you handle the everyday stresses of DC politics?
What do you look for in a partner?
Many of the House of Cards characters have romantic partners. Though they may switch and cheat on these relationships frequently that does not mean they began for no reason. These subplots provide a better understanding of each character and how deeply they tether their emotional lives to their professional ones.
Do you believe in karma?
Though these savvy political actors may not believe in morality they sometimes will admit that karma comes around to bite them in the butt. Sometimes this karma is in the form of revenge, other times it is surprisingly organic. Ultimately do you think what goes around comes around?
Where do you feel most at home?
When the main characters are being developed in the first season there is a moment when you glimpse the personal lives of these public giants. Some of them let loose when they are with friends, while others don't seem to be wearing a mask at all. When or where do you feel most at home?
Do you mix your emotional life and business?
Considering House of Cards is all about vendettas and power how much are you willing to let that get to your emotional life? Does literally every relationship have to revolve around your political agenda? Are the only people you come in contact with from your professional life? How healthy of a balance between work and the personal do you have?
What do you do when things don't go your way?
With all of the strategic maneuvering that goes on in this frame of Washington DC it is only natural that sometimes the characters don't get their way. Most of them are conniving and determined enough to get back on track but what is your initial reaction? How do you handle these disappointments? What is your outlet for frustration?
What is your main means of transport?
Though this is one of the more banal details of House of Cards, how does everyone get to work? Since the plot line revolves around their professional lives the main settings are their respective work places, either on Capitol Hill or in a news office. How do you get around your city? If you were a DC big dog would you do it differently?
Where is the best place to hide?
All of the characters make their fair share of enemies. With all of the lies and power moves at stake this sort of power manipulation tends to make some stakeholders upset. Where do you go to hide from these angry opponents? Are you safe anywhere? Or do you play the game so well your opponents are not sure who you are?
How would you react if someone took you to court?
Due to all of the lies and deception it is inevitable that some people learn of the Underwood's plan to rise to the top. Those who feel wronged or have an upmost sense of moral urgency might try to take it to the only untainted governmental branch, the courts. How would you respond to this threat? Would you let something like justice get in your way?
What would you do if your marriage was failing?
With the mixture of emotional and professional life that goes on in this series it is no surprise some of the "alliances" fail. Everyone is under too much stress and all of the characters have individual ambitions they are desperate to reach. How would you regulate a failing marriage in this climate?
If someone wants your position how do you deter them?
In this game of politics and war when you finally attain the position you have been vying for you have to continue fending off potential competitors. There is never a day of rest in DC is what we learn. If someone threatens your professional life how do you protect yourself? Do you step down gracefully? Or do you hold tight to all you've been working towards?
Are you more heart or head?
In the international political climate these characters have to choose between sticking to their rooted belief systems or compromising everything for the sake of productive politics. This duality seems an easy choice when it is abstracted. However when people's lives and causes are at stake and rely on you it is much harder than it seems.
How good would you be in a TV interview?
Since the majority of main characters in this show are public figures they have to know how to put on their charismatic persona. The American masses look to them for information, guidance, and fresh initiatives to advance the nation. Could you answer questions on a broadcasted platform? Do you have a separate public and private image?
Why would you get into politics?
House of Cards is a political drama, so, naturally, everyone has their hands dirty with all of the compromises, deals, and information swaps that take place on capitol hill. The stress, high stakes, and constant manipulation certainly wear them down. So why did these characters get into politics?