Halfway through the initial new installment when Kevin Spacey, as Francis Underwood (F.U., ho ho), is being instructed by the maker of his favorite breakfast barbecue on how exquisite abuse of pigs heightens the flavor, I cast a porcine vote and switched to hours of Las Vegas poker, where the acting is just as bad but the game provides imaginative diversion and a less predictable final score.
“Cards” insults the intelligence in so many ways it’s hard to keep track. Even the formatting offends. After dozens of cardboard characters endlessly screw one another literally and figuratively in Season One, new installments start with no recap of the main players, who just take up where they left off without a clue to who the hell they are, what they’re doing and why—-except that it’s all ugly and dirty.
Perhaps that’s a plus. Comparing how low Washington politics and TV drama have sunk in the decade since “The West Wing” dazzled us with creative savvy, when you get past real actors like Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, the “House of Cards” supporting cast seems to have been recruited from high school. But then again, could any thespian outdo John Boehner and Ted Cruz in serving up ham on nothing?
In view of so much bad acting on the tube, should there be any surprise over chicanery and double-dealing behind the scenes with producers squeezing politicians for endless kickbacks?
“House of Cards” makes Las Vegas look like Disneyland.