Wouldn’t House of Cards scare the tatty bejaysus out of you? Is it really like that? All maneuvering and lying and running rings around us with rhetoric? Do the lads at the top care a jot about us Joe Soaps? Yes, yes, yes and no are probably the answers if House of Cards is anything to go by. Gulp.

Having just finished watching series two of House of Cards on Netflix, I have come to an awful conclusion. No, that conclusion isn’t that a terrifyingly large portion of my life is spent in front of the television. I reached that one a good while ago, and while not exactly proud of myself I think I’ve reached a place of acceptance. Sedentary arse clenches count as exercise right?

So while House of Cards is an undeniably excellent show, and one I thoroughly enjoyed, I fear it has affected me detrimentally.

How? Well if you haven’t seen it, the show is about Frank and Claire Underwood (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright) and the intricate—I’m talking tangled Christmas lights here—web of lies and manipulation they create to get what they want. Every five minutes they destroy some poor sap’s life. And do they care? Not at all. Everything they do is with an air of entitlement and cruel detachment. And then there are the people trying to counter the Underwoods’ games. So really, nearly everyone in the show is a horrible self-serving plonker. And the goodies are losing every time.

So now my trust is gone. I no longer trust ANYONE. As far as I’m concerned everyone’s motivations are suspect.

My mother offers me a cup of tea?
What does she want in return? What’s the little schemer after? I’m no poor eejit I’ll have you know.

My sister gives me a birthday present?
Well now, that’s a nice framed photo of us laughing together in a beautiful candid moment. I’ll take it but it doesn’t mean I owe you anything. I’m watching you. I can’t be bought with financial or emotional warfare.

An outwardly sweet old lady smiles at me in the street?
Oh I’ll smile back, I’ll play you at your game. But you needn’t think I’m fooled. You must have been made of stern stuff to reach this grand old age. But the question is, why do you want me on side? What are your motives? You’ll have to get up early in the morning to catch me.
But I’m old, anyone past seventy-five worth their salt gets up at 5am for a carton of milk and the paper.”
Right, don’t be smart. Showing your true colours already. Earlier than that then. Way earlier.”

House of Cards is a tureen of evil sludge, a celebration of manipulation, self-gain, power and lies.
It begets the question: why is everyone so horrible and mean?

Francis and Claire Underwood have changed how I feel forever. I now look at the world as a boreal landscape of individualism and selfishness.

It is so cold it needs a North Face jacket and those hand warmer things you put in the microwave. Maybe even some fleece-lined Thinsulate products.

For all the good it will do I’m going to watch the Care Bears back to back.

First published February 2014