The Washington Post

‘House of Cards’ isn’t every pol’s must-see TV

This image released by Netflix shows Kevin Spacey as U.S. Congressman Frank Underwood in a scene from the Netflix original series, Kevin Spacey as Rep. Frank Underwood in a scene from the Netflix original series, “House of Cards.”  (AP Photo/Netflix, Melinda Sue Gordon)

It’s easy to assume that all of Washington is obsessed with the political-thriller series “House of Cards.” President Obama’s a fan of the show, whose second season debuts in its entirety on Netflix on Friday, and conversations around town are laced with references to it.

It would seem that official Washington would enjoy seeing itself reflected in the tale of a scheming congressman’s rise through the city’s swampy morass — or at least watch to snark about what details it gets wrong. But on a recent visit to Capitol Hill, we found that many members of Congress were greeting the impending new season with a shrug instead of plans to binge-watch.

“That’s the one about the guys all living together?” asked Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).

Ah, no, congressman, you’re thinking of Amazon’s “Alpha House,” which has just been renewed for a second season.

“Well, I haven’t seen that one either,” he said. “I just really don’t watch that much TV.”

We expected former House majority whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) to find the series particularly fascinating, since the main character, the ruthless Rep. Frank Underwood, is his party’s whip. But he’s not into it: “I’m not that kind of whip.”

Surely, some of the younger members of Congress are hooked? Nope. “I don’t have time for TV,” Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) insisted. “Really!”

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) says he’d like to watch it but hasn’t had the chance. “The only time I have to watch is on planes, and I can’t, because it’s streaming.”

“I like ‘Blacklist’ better,” Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) said.

Sorry, Rep. Underwood.

House of Cards, the Netflix series that fans of politics love, or love to hate, returns with its second season. PostTV takes a look at what the show gets wrong about the nation's capitol. (The Washington Post)

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.



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