"House of Cards" nitpicking
- Blog Post by: James Lileks
- February 4, 2013 - 12:45 PM
Watched “House of Cards.” One Ep. Didn’t gorge. I like to enjoy them at a leisurely pace - say, one expensive, lavishly produced episode per day, instead of hoovering up half one night and the rest the next. You feel both empty and bloated when it’s over. After one episode I knew I’d watch the whole thing, but the only reason was Kevin Spacey’s performance. I wonder if some people didn't watch because they couldn't find it - when I called up Netflix on the TV, I had to search for the show using the remote to click on letters, and even then it was the 3rd result after I'd finished HOUSE/
Yes, such problems. Anyway, here’s something that reminded you that you’re watching fiction, not a thinly-veiled docmentary. If you’re in the newspaper trade, you know when they get things wrong. (Of course, when you’re in any other trade, you know when newspapers get things wrong, but that’s another blog post.) This was amusing:
This is wrong. The headline would not look like that. The story wouldn’t be above the fold crowding out the inauguration photo; that’s something you run across all columns, and you certainly don’t cut it down to run a story about - are you ready for this earth-shattering scoop? - how the first draft of a bill on education reform was more liberal than the newly-elected President had portrayed himself to be. The first draft. Not the one presented to Congress; not the one that came out of reconciliation; the first draft. Which was done before inauguration, and before the new Congress was sworn in. Front page above the fold. Sure.
In the real world, the story about the President’s ringing calls for increased federal involvement in education would contain, in the 47th paragraph, a remark about the “point man” on the bill who was expected to lend “decades of experience” to crafting a bill that had a “vigorous” approach to Federal control over schools. The Washington Post simply wouldn’t do what the show depicted.
Oh, you say, it’s not the Washington Post, it’s the Washington Herald. Yes. “House of Cards” exists in a parallel universe where there is no Washington Post, which doesn’t exactly ground it in the here-and-now, but I had to smile at the way they revealed the name of the paper.
You didn’t see the Herald part, because it was obscured by . . . a POST.
The waif-with-a-burning-sense-of-ambition, by the way, is en route to a break room, where she will say she wants to blog more, and gets shut down by an older editor. There’s not a second of the scene that rings true. Internet? Blogging by underpaid reporters who want to provide online content? Oh get out of here with that.
As I said, I’ll keep watching for Spacey’s performance, but also to see what else they get wrong.
It’s based on a British show, which many say is superior. Makes you wonder if Netflix could do The Singing Detective” againwith songs from the 50s? I know, I know - there’s an American movie version with Robert Downey Jr, and you’d have to shoot off both my kneecaps before I agreed to watch it. Nothing against Downey, although if he does another fey quippy Tony Stark or Sherlock, I’m done with his version of the characters; it’s as if he’s invented an anti-gravitas machine. You cannot turn that story into a two hour movie, just as “Pennies From Heaven” was a spectacular misfire when they converted the long slog of Bob Hoskins’ itinerant song-peddlar into a sparkly, shiny, empty Steve Martin movie. I admire Martin for making the movie, but aside from Christopher Walken’s bartop tap-dance, no.
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