Houses of Cards

FUI wonder how many others are gorging themselves on the second series of House of Cards. Claire has hardened visibly, although she wasn’t exactly a softie to begin with. I’ll follow James Fallows’ advice and watch the original British version (again). Fallows points out the differences between the two versions of another British export, The Office. (I say export rather than import because I’m English and that is the perspective from which I view things, despite having been an ex-pat half my life.) I’ve only seen fragments of the American Office, but they did not inspire me to look further. It’s odd: America, supposedly home of the brave and land of the free, is actually pretty wimpish in some respects compared to its former colonial overlord. The original House of Cards was a scathing satire on the legacy of Margaret Thatcher and made a strong political point. For all its superb acting and storyline the American House of Cards does not.   It’s an apolitical romp. But then, so were Shakespeare’s tragedies. There’s not much sympathy for the Roman proletariat in Coriolanus. It’s a tribute to the dramatic excellence of both versions that Shakespeare is the yardstick by which I instinctively measure them. I wonder if that’s because the Jacobean asides to the audience stack the deck.

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