The final season of House of Cards was a stinker — and I'm a sexist for thinking so

House of Cards, sans Frank Underwood
I found myself in yet another small internet squabble the other day. A pointless endeavor, I know. And I honestly don't know what it is that's so alluring about that stuff to me (sincerely). It's just... I'll see something written sometimes that I perceive as so objectively wrong that my brain feels the unignorable impulse to speak out about it. Knowing, the entire time, that my efforts will be in vain. Deep inside, probably even knowing that my own perspective is likely just as biased as the one's I'm responding to (only in an opposite direction). Nevertheless, I involve myself. And this time it was in response to someone commenting on the television series, House of Cards (the US version). The show that just released it's sixth and final season; the season after that whole Kevin Spacey debacle went down, and he was forced to leave the program.

Spacey's character, Frank Underwood, was who the series was about, in case you're somehow unaware. He was the villainous anti-hero politician who was almost god-like in his meticulous, maniacal plans for world (or national, at least) domination. He narrated the series and often addressed us, the audience, in a fourth-wall-breaking, Zach Morris-style fashion. It was an interesting and alluring little gimmick that worked very well at making the audience feel along with Frank on his rise to power. And we did rise with him, it felt like. All the way up to the Oval Office, where he finally achieved his dream of becoming commander and chief. Along the way, we witnessed every murderous, immoral, and evil act he committed in order to get there. And while the show had admittedly gone more and more downhill over the years, those of us hanging in there were still hopeful that we'd at least find out how Frank's story wrapped up and if he'd ever be found out for what all he's done (and how Frank would act in response). But then, well, you know.

It came out that real-life Spacey had been involving himself in his own regrettable acts. The most damning of which being when he drunkenly hit on a teenage boy at a party many years ago. As usual, the entire Twitterverse became angry and appalled, and, ipso fatso, Bob's your uncle, Spacey was henceforth blackballed from Hollyweird and House of Cards found itself in the awkward position of having to wrap up their show about Frank Underwood without Frank Underwood being in it.

As you'd expect, this was destined for failure, and that last season turned out to be a monumental dud. Having an OCD-filled urge to finish what I started, however, I stuck it out until the end (it was a brutal experience) and remained disappointed every step of the way. Do I blame Netflix? Do I blame the writers? Do I blame Spacey? I don't know. I suppose I don't blame anyone but the unguided hands of fate. After all, I'm too ignorant on the situation, and too much of an outsider from it, to really go beyond that. All's I knew was that this final act of a story I'd been following for years was a massive stinker.

As usual with my TV show watching process these days, I hit the internet forums directly after each episode. I don't know. It's just a thing I do. It's fun to hear what others have to say about something I just watched (and fun to say things of my own when I get the urge). In a way, it's almost like having friends (sigh).

Those forums were mostly filled with two camps: those who were desperately hanging in there, saying "it's not that bad", and other hate-watchers like me, who continuously complained about how let down they were. It was all as you'd expect.

Then I came across this comment:

My eyes rolled so hard I think I pulled something. And these followup comments didn't too much help matters any:

Now it's one thing for people to have their own opinions about a movie or television program (i.e., enjoying something that I find to be abysmal, or vice versa), but to have your own opinions, then to actually accuse your oppositions opinion to be influenced by something as heinous as misogyny is taking things a bit too far. It's kinda on par with a Happy Gilmore fan accusing all people who lambast Adam Sandler movies as antisemitic, because Sandler is Jewish. Do people not realize how harsh an accusation racism or sexism is? Those are some mighty bad things to be, ya know? So bad that people who've been labeled as such have historically been fired from their jobs, ostracized from their communities, and targetted as something that it's okay (moral, even) to loudly shower with hate, insults, and threats on a daily basis. Even when the claims have merit, the ethics of something of that is still questionable. So you'd think people would be a bit more mindful before accusing large groups of people of such powerful words.

Now, granted, before you say it, I know that this is just a TV show. And this comment is just from some random guy spouting off his opinions in a mostly uninfluential environment. But it's not the specific incident that bothers me, I don't think. Rather, it's the fact that this sort of mindset is so prevalent in society in general. For instance, the same sort of accusations were directed toward those who disliked the all female Ghostbusters movie (check out what happened with the Angry Video Game Nerd). And those who didn't like that Roland was being played by a black guy on The Dark Tower film adaptation were accused as being racist (I believe even one of the film's creators had the gall to publicly say this). As for this latter example, by the way, I'd actually been following the planning and production of this film for a while, along with a lot of other Stephen King nerds on the interwebs. There was a point when Javier Bardem was rumored to have landed the role. Then another point when everyone was sure it was going to be Russel Crowe. In response to both of these possibilities, the fans were as equally aghast at the idea of Roland having a Bardem's Spanish accent and him being as short and stalky as Crowe as they were at Roland not being white. The point is: not every opinion involving race or gender is due to someone being a Klansman or a woman hater. Make Superman a freckle-faced redhead, and people are going to get up in arms about it, regardless of whether or not they have an ingrained hatred for gingers. Ideological and prejudicial bias isn't always playing a part in what people think.

Isn't this different from the House of Cards claim that I was talking about, you may be asking. Am I digressing from the point a little? Maybe. But I don't think so. In my mind, the commonality here is the cynical generalization of people based on pre-established expectations of what you already think we are. If that sounds familiar to you, it's probably because that's the same problem inherent in racism and sexism themselves. It's ironic, really.

Anyway. I don't know where I'm going with this. Perhaps I've already vented my point. Either way, here was my responses to these commenters:

I know. I really need to get a life. But it's hard. They don't grow in trees, ya know.