As fans eagerly look forward to marathon-watching the fifth season of the Netflix hit “House of Cards,” Stef Woods of American University looks at what might lie ahead for Frank and Claire Underwood. She analyzes the complex relationship between the often-unlikable power couple (Claire has pronounced “I’m done trying to win over people’s hearts. …We can work with fear.”), with an eye to whether their love for each other is stronger than their love for power, and if viewers are rooting for their success or their downfall.
Woods (who has previously presented lively programs on the series and The Hunger Games), sets the discussion against the backdrop of the show’s history—with a focus on the most recent season—and looks at “House of Cards” for what it says both about television’s reflection of politics and the influence it might actually have on that real-life sphere.
She’s got some provocative questions at hand, among them: What does the runaway success of a show about politics mean during a time of low voter turnout and political engagement? The New York Times claims that Claire shattered the glass ceiling last season. Did she? Does entertainment—particularly shows about politics—have a responsibility to educate? And should 2017 be the year the Underwoods’ house of cards collapses?
Come prepared with your fan knowledge, questions, theories (and conspiracy theories) and join in a spirited conversation that’s the perfect setup for the scandals, surprises, and shocks that the new season holds.
Woods is an instructor in the American Studies program at AU, where she teaches a course titled Politics, TV Series, and Ethics, which examines “The West Wing,” “House of Cards,” and “Scandal.”
Stef Woods discusses the interplay of Washington’s political world and the Washington of Frank Underwood—as well as a discovery she made in her previous Smithsonian Associates appearance—in a local television news interview.