House of cards isn’t any genere that we haven’t seen before. It’s a poltically based drama that has all of the elements that we would see in a drama. From Plot twists to cliffhangers to in depth plot lines. Except theres something completely different about this show, something that no other hit drama has done before. It breaks the fourth wall, that’s right it breaks the fourth wall.What is the fourth wall you ask? The fourth wall is something what separates performer from audience, breaking said wall is when the performer knows about the audience. They know about their world and they know that they are being watched.
An Example of another character breaking the fourth wall would be the hit marvel comic book character who is constantly talking to his audience, and cracking jokes about how his readers should be out being social instead of reading a comic book.
Now bringing the conversation back to house of cards. Frank underwood is always having a conversation about his current actions or thoughts with his audience. Hell the first line of dialogue we hear from him is addressed to his viewer while he’s breaking a suffering dog’s neck.
So right off the bat it is made known that this narrative will have a direct tie and bias to our main characters personal opinions and actions. Not only are we seeing whats going on within the show but we are getting what is essentially a directors commentary of the events being carried out. Now, I know some viewers might be annoyed with how this narrative is taking place however most of the audience eats it up. They what to hear what frank is thinking they want to get into his head and hear how pissed he is about some journalist or a scheduler that messed up. Its a huge part of what makes this show successful.
Now I made a connection to the marvel character Deadpool, simply for the fact that the character and entire narrative of any of his stories go hand in hand with breaking the fourth wall. Which is something that Deadpool and house of cards has in common. However with that being said Deadpool does not follow a linear timeline, in fact most movies that tend to break the fourth wall usually don’t. Luckily for the kid glued to his computer because he can’t get enough of Frank Underwood being a political monster, house of cards does in fact follow a linear timeline. Theres no confusion on why frank is ripping in to Remy about him not following through on a agreement they had made. It is explained within that episode or has already been explained in a previous episode. Mind you with Frank breaking the fourth wall you have a pretty damn good explanation on why Remys being ripped a new one. Now when you’re watching the opening credits of house of cards, its easy to think ” eh nothings really going on here can’t be that important. Ill just tweet that I’m watching this episode” well I’ve got news for you. If you had actually paid attention to the first opening credit role you’d have realized what kind of environment you are about to take a step into. Still aren’t following what I’m trying to say? Here check them out again and really focus on the shots.
And now you’re confused and saying”Nick I’m not following what you’re saying. All i see is a bunch of different pan shots with a couple different variations of time lapse going on in the background. Nothing important man.” Lets get one thing perfectly clear about these opening credits. It is literally showing you that everything even daily commutes , change in weather, change in time are moving at a fast pace. It is setting you up to deal with the fast paced world that have stepped into. Now granted that we have established that the world that this show takes place in is a fast paced one, viewers know that most conflicts and story plots aren’t going to be resolved in a single episode. The viewers are in it for the long haul.
Now lets talk about chapter 13 of season one, the last episode of the first season. Frank is up against a wall, which something that we haven’t typically seen or at least to this extent. However this is where we see all of the traits of frank come together. He’s getting ready to fight back and at the same time we see him at his lowest he’s beginning to get ready for defeat. Something that isn’t common for Frank, at the same time this where we see him using every bit of energy every ounce of skill. Something that we are used to seeing in a smaller quantity.
This episode is also a great example of Frank breaking the fourth wall. Theres at least three instances where we see him look straight into the camera and and speaks to us. He offers his usual advice on life and at the same time dives deeper into the world that he is living in. He’s gunning for the vice president nomination, the whole season has been about him building up a path way to this position. While at the same time tearing down any one or anything that is in his way. Much like the born again Peter Russo someone who he had built up in order to put to pasture just to to shove his foot in the door for access to the oval office.
I chose episode because not only does it show the same qualities that every other episode of the season did but it is also one of the best transition episodes between seasons that i have ever seen before. It puts speculation to rest for example about Frank not actually getting nominated for the position of Vice president, as well as shows a strong and in some cases freighting conflict on the horizon that will be prevalent for the second season