Sunday, February 23, 2014

House of Cards, season 2, ep. 3

The stories seem to be hitting its stride a bit. There's a neat scene here where Frank needs to get a certain bill through the Senate, and the GOPpers are absent so as to throw off quorum. It's about social security age and entitlement reform, and the Republican Party is of differing minds not he degree to which to cooperate. (The WaPo write-up indicates a lot of people online see one of the dissenting delayers is a Ted Cruz pastiche.

Things this episode got right:
Star Wars Phantom Menace famously flubbed the idea of building suspense in something as wonkish as parliamentary procedure. Simpsons really nailed them on this in Cosmic Wars: A Gathering Shadow. This HoC episode did a neat job of making "how do we break this gridlock" interesting without being too much of a departure from reality. There may have been some "I'm not sure it'd work just like that", but that's okay. That's different from "Shenanigans!!" Five years ago we might have said nothing like rounding up the absent senators under threat of arrest could happen, but with some state legislative factions getting cutesy over the past couple of years this seems much less far-fetched.

Very well done --- this episode managed to contain both tea party legislators AND someone (the resurfaced Rachel, re-re-re-stashed and threatened ex-hooker that knows too much about the late PA rep's fall off the wagon) being invited to a local Christian group and deciding to go there in search of a little solace when beaten down and confused.  Amazingly, both are presented not with the usual Hollywood straw man ridicule but actually in a relatively straightforward way. Kudos for that.

The guy applying to be the Underwoods' new press officer also got a great intro, in terms of saying actual astute press officer things. Hope they keep with that.

The male RIP-Zoe-ex-bf journo editor gumshoeing about seems a bit meh. It's good in that it's suspenseful  and you really don't know who's behind the "deep web" info he's getting with tantalizing promise of records on Frank... But I came out of it a bit when he gets a burner ipad (helluva expensive way to connect with someone), complete with a magazine cutout note with the completely unnecessary instruction to turn it on (what else did you think he might do with it, lacking that helpful instruction?) They also seem to be doing the "I asked you if you're an undercover cop so you have to tell me by law" thing, which is of course fertilizer.

The Frank vs. Major Dad Warren Buffet thing is played much better this time. That ol' buddy warns the prez against Frank shitting the bed, and then Frank (for the...6th time in a dozen episodes?) gets the bill he wants through a step, to which Major Dad sez "I said all along you had this on lockdown"... Frank nicely calls BS. For maybe the first time I'm genuinely interested now to see how that dynamic rolls.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

House of Cards, season 2, ep. 2

So, this take will be much shorter. Impressions from the second episode.

It's great to see frank have an actual human reaction and even get emotional about something. When Claire shares that the soldier Frank has to pin a star on assaulted her when they were in college, he's furious and ready to go kick the guy's ass and/or destroy him. Good for Frank. He has to be somewhat believable and "real world", after all.

We're some more setup of stuff... like a house of cards I suppose, go fig. Frank (sneakily) gets the president to go against his Warren Buffet-esque chum and broach the suubject of cybersecurity with the Chinese delegation. Frank (sneakily) works tog et his preferred unqualified person in for House Majority Whip, getting her to ultimately let the world know that congressman-with-the-developmentally-disabled-daughter has a developmentally disabled daughter. This one seemed a bit cumbersome, in that how exactly is that going to "break" someone these days? But anyway we seemingly have our surrogate Peter Russo "Gee thanks for getting me in over my head" guy/gal.

Zoe's boyfriend / former editor obsessing over her death is fairly interesting. That's the best thread they've had with the journos for a while. I also like the fact that Franks evens to have underestimated what a pain in the ass it would be to turn a regular house into the VP residence.

The president still seems a little non-descript. I think if he was I a scene that wasn't in the Oval Office I might need someone to remind me that's the prez. Maybe he'll do something soon besides being the other other other older white guy Frank acquiesces to and then tats (sneakily).

WaPo spoiler free review is here... kudos to them for good cliff's notes...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

House of Cards Season 2 Ep 1

So I'm gonna try to blog my reactions to episodes of the new season of House of Cards, which cam available 2/14. Spoilers abound, of course.


It really would have helped if they've started with a bit of a "Previously on House of Cards" or somehow worked in a refresher. Like most people it's been quite a few months since I binge watched the 1st run. This jumps right in with a lot of "They're going to speak to Rachel!!" and I was left trying to remember who the hell Rachel was and where she'd been left in the story. As a result, maybe half of this episode seemed a bit scrambly. Of course with a show like this you don't want to go pause and look stuff up because you're liable to inadvertently stumble across someone being tossed off the show prematurely.

Course, on the subject of someone getting the old heave-ho, it was a shock to see The Chipmunk Zoe bring a new meaning of "press" to the MTA train. In retrospect it shouldn't be a surprise, I suppose.... The intrepid cub reporter unraveling the twisted baddie's web is a pretty perilous role to be in. But whacking a featured player out of the cast in the middle of 2.1 is impactful.... Err maybe impactful isn't the word to use. Kudos to those involved keeping that twist secret somehow.

It wasn't till I read the WaPo blog ( that I even realized there was some explanation in the whole Claire/ former business partner gal suing for wrongful termination thing. I missed that the drug Claire asked the doctor about was the same that the other gal needs to get for her pregglet, and Claire only got the information to... somehow see what specifically could be done to twist the knife on her? I dunno I put this in that column that really could have benefitted from a refresher course as well. I never got that emotionally invested in the fired ex-business partner at the NGO storyline, so the nuance seemed lost. I didn't even get til perusing the article that's (probably) why Claire went to the doc to begin with and the point of her canceling future visits.

In retrospect that whole thing seems a bit of a miss. Going to a doctor under a fake ruse you set up and act out to ask of he knows about a certain drug... I dunno, even if she couldn't find info online like they said, it seems you could just ask  a doctor friend contact if he knows anything about what it is and what they do.

I dunno if they really 100% know what they want to do with Claire, though. Is she a female Frank? She's certainly not his conscience. The whole boring thing with the European photographer presumably was to say she has some humanity and femininity Frank doesn't, but it seems inconsistently applied.

I suspect there are some seeds that were planted in episode 1 that for now I didn't even recognize as seeds. Let's hope some good fruit bears out. 

We got one good plum already with RIP Chipmunk Zoe.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Happy trails to you....

So I was researching (aka stumbling around on Google) to make a larger point, and came across the fact that if you search Miley Cyrus you get 35 million news stories.

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

New piece in

I'm not much better about posting there regularly than I do here on my own blog... however, por favor check out this piece I just wrote a piece about the Coca-Cola / Super Bowl thing.

Also, Coca-Cola is short for COmmunist CAbal COnspiracy… ummm LA. (via

I’m going to do something here nobody else has done anywhere else on the Internet… talk about Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl ad. I’m of course employing a bit of sarcasm. (Also something no one has ever done on the Internet.) A quick Google News search…